Maya Shanbhag Lang discusses the first pages of her bestselling memoir, What We Carry, how her prologue hooks the reader by ensuring that what we’re reading matters, how she navigated narrative intrusion, and how she discovered where to begin (again) with some prompting from her editor and her own insight into what her book was really about.
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Maya Shanbhag Lang is the author of What We Carry, named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a “Best Of 2020” by Amazon. She is also the author of The Sixteenth of June, a modern reinterpretation of Ulysses that was long listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Lang’s essays have been widely published and anthologized. The American Civil Rights Museum named her a “Woman You Should Know.” Winner of the Neil Shepard Prize in Fiction, she serves as President of the Authors Guild. After graduating magna cum laude from Swarthmore College, Lang earned her M.A. from NYU and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from SUNY Stony Brook. Her dissertation, “The Hypochondriac: Bodies in Protest from Herman Melville to Toni Morrison,” won the Mildred and Herbert Weisinger Award. She is the newly-elected president of the author’s guild. A passionate teacher, editor, and author advocate, she enjoys working with established and aspiring writers alike. Lang is the daughter of South Asian immigrants and lives outside of New York City with her daughter. She is also a competitive-class weightlifter.