Susan Orlean


How I Travel

How I travel (besides with a too-full suitcase) is, for me, an irresistible topic, since I approach it exactly the way I approach stories. I like surprise, enterprise, mishap (without dire outcome); I like being shaken out of the ordinary and yet I also like to explore the ordinary. I like fresh experience. I loved talking to Steve Bramucci of Bootsnall, a travel network, about journeys without a map. Our conversation is here at Bootsnall, with photographs courtesy of my iPhone.

Nieman lab

According to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, I am a queen -- or at least, I am a Twitter queen. In an interview with Megan Garber of the Nieman Lab, I talk about how and why I tweet, and how it does or doesn't help longer-form writing. Take a look at Nieman Lab and follow me at susanorlean on Twitter for real-life examples of what I'm talking about in the Q&A.

Atlantic Wire

I tallied up my reading habits here recently for The Atlantic Wire, the website of the Atlantic Magazine. I'm honestly shocked by how quickly I've moved from newspaper and magazine to iPhone and Internet. Where will this end up, I wonder? It's happening so quickly -- the move to electronic publishing, that is -- that I think the landscape will be different a year from now, and vastly different five years from now. In the meantime, though, I'll just keep writing and reading, whatever form it's in.

More bloggingheads!

I had a great time talking to Walter Kirn, author of "Up in the Air"; we compared the slightly surreal out-of-body experience of having one's written work transformed into a movie. You can watch the whole thing here:


I had a great time talking with my friend Kurt Andersen about Twitter, computer screens, chickens, and Joseph Mitchell on -- take a look:

Chickens in action

This video was put together to accompany my New Yorker story, "The It Bird". I think my dog Cooper sort of steals the show.

Radio free California

I had a horrible cold and sounded pretty croaky, but here's the radio show I did this morning with Els Cooperrider on public radio from Mendocino, California, about the subject of backyard chickens. As it happens, every single caller to the show already HAD chickens.

The full Stacked Up episode

More chicken chatting

And here I am talking chickens again. I have to admit to being astonished by how much this topic animated people. Is it that people love chickens? Or find the idea of keeping them in urban and/or atypical situations fascinating? I'm not sure, but I haven't had this much response to a story in a long time. In any case, this is a Canadian talk show called The Agenda.
The Agenda

Here on earth

My recent (September '09) New Yorker story on keeping chickens, titled "The It Bird", caused quite a commotion -- proving my thesis that chickens are becoming a very popular pet/livestock/garden accessory. I was on the NPR show, "Here on Earth", to discuss the topic -- you can find the audio here:
Here On Earth

Editor unleashed

I did a short interview recently with Maria Schneider for her great blog, EDITOR UNLEASHED, about writing and reading. You can see it here

Studio 360

Just got back from the Aspen Ideas Festival, where I taped Studio 360, the terrific arts and culture radio show on PRI with Kurt Andersen. The piece I wrote was about my dad, and reflected on what it was like for him to grow up in the Depression -- times now frighteningly similar to what we're experiencing now. I was thinking about how he managed that setback and whether I'll find the same resources in myself, as the world economy spins downward. Here it is:

Talking About Bookmaking

I recently participated in a discussion with Said Sayrafiezadeh about the process of turning a magazine piece into a book. You can watch our talk below.

Granta discussion with Susan Orlean and Said Sayrafiezadeh from Granta magazine on Vimeo.

Texas Book Festival

I was in Austin, Texas recently for the Texas Book Festival, where I was asked to talk about my experience with ADAPTATION and writing THE ORCHID THIEF. Hear about how the whole movie almost didn't happen.

BEA Interview - Part 2

Here's the second part of my interview with Publishers Weekly at BEA.

BEA Interview - Part 1

Back in the spring I did an interview with the Publishers Weekly Book Maven at Book Expo America. It was a fun interview, and gives you a peek at the inspiration for my children's book, Lazy Little Loafers.

I had a great time in Portland!

What a great city -- and what a wonderful space (Space Gallery) for a reading. Anyway, here's a link to an interview I did with the local paper before the reading.

Writing the Edge

The University of California Davis publishes a really smart, interesting journal called Writing on the Edge: A Journal about Writing and Teaching Writing. I did an interview with editor John Boe last summer, which is now available on line. It was one of the best times I've ever had being interviewed -- more like having a conversation with a very intelligent, nice person who had read a lot of my work, rather than the typical 'interview', so I think you'll find it interesting if you want to hear what I really sound like when I'm having a conversation. By the way, John's wife knitted me an adorable baby hat (I was about 8 months pregnant at the time of the interview) and I never properly thanked her. So while I have the chance -- Thank you, John's Wife! The hat is beautiful!!

Oh Canada!

A few days ago, I spoke with Paula Shackleton, who runs a great website called Book Buffet, which is full of interesting stuff about writers and writing. The interview is now up on her site, and you can read it (and listen to it as a podcast -- very modern, eh?) at your earliest convenience, such as, for instance, right now.

Talking Head

I had a busy December, chatting about my new book (My Kind of Place) everywhere and every chance I could. One of the most interesting interviews was on the Speakeasy Show on WFMU in New York -- here's the link for you to hear the results.


Here's something just forwarded to me by a reader -- love those blogs!!!

Zulkey blog

I got an email the other day from Claire Zulkey, a writer who interviews writers. She asked me to do">an on-line Q&A for her website...turned out she asked a lot of great questions, which isn't always the case, and I actually had fun answering them (also not usually the case).

Splendid! And Yummy!

In my continuing role as the interpreter/muse/spokesperson for canine author (and dog-boy) Cooper Gillespie, i did an interview with NPR's Splendid Table in which we discussed dog food, smelly liver treats, and other literary topics. It plays at different times on different NPR affiliates, but keep an ear cocked for it.

Throw Me a Bone on CBS

Over the weekend, CBS did a nice piece about my dog-food cookbook, which featured me, my dog, and my friend and co-author Sally Sampson whipping up some nice, tasty dog treats. Cooper got to enjoy the fruits of our labor. In fact, the dog ate so much during the shoot that I feared he would explode. He didn't. This is a link to the on-line version of the story -- text only, I guess.

Fresh Air

Interview with Terry Gross on June 26, 2003 on

Slate, Jeffrey Goldberg

An email conversation at Slate's Breakfast Table with Jeffrey Goldberg, January 1999.

Readerville discussion

A discussion on Readerville that I did back in February 2002.

Yale Literary Magazine

Interview by The Yale Literary Magazine.

Identity Theory

Interview with Robert Birnbaum for Identity Theory.

University of Oregon

Q&A for The University of Oregon's Literary Nonfiction program.

2001 at Powell's interview done shortly after the release of The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup.


Interview conducted at a reading of The Orchid Thief at Powell's City of Books.

Salon conversation

A conversation on Salon.

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