Alice McDermott

Cindy Seip

Alice McDermott is the author of The Ninth Hour: A Novel; Someone: A Novel; Child of My Heart: A Novel; Charming Billy: A Novel, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; That Night: A Novel; At Weddings and Wakes: A Novel; and After This, the last three all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, and elsewhere. What About the Baby? Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) gathers McDermott’s pithiest wisdom about her chosen art, acquired over a lifetime as an acclaimed writer and teacher of writing. She offers technical advice, sets the bar (“I expect the fiction I read to carry with it the conviction that it is written with no other incentive than that it must be written”), and oh, about that baby – touches on the logical demands of readers (“they’d been given a story with a baby in it, and they damn well wanted that baby accounted for”). “Fans of McDermott’s fiction should flock to this sprightly collection, which demonstrates that the author expects ‘a lot’ from the craft,” said Kirkus. “Set aside those bulky how-to handbooks for this healthy balm of common-sense wisdom, inspiration, and encouragement.”