Episode 84—Adam Valen Levinson: Young and Restless

Adam Valen Levinson is the author of The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Adam Valen Levinson (@a_v_levinson):

“I made a religion out of indecision.”

“I believe in soup: You stew everything together and then you get real complex flavors and the truth.”

“I’m driven by an emotional connection to what I’m doing.”

It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders in the world of narrative journalism, memoir, documentary film, radio, and essay and try tease out the origins and habits so that you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

For Episode 84, I welcome Adam Valen Levinson. Adam’s a smart guy, a real smart guy, and he’s written the wonderful book The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah: Fear and Love in the Modern Middle East.

Flip the book over and here’s a blurb from Buzz Bissinger, “Adam Valen Levinson is too young to have written a book this good: eloquent, analytical, funny, sad.”

Still not impressed? Peter Theroux said, “A fabulously written primer on the darkest countries in the world—or not so dark, as Valen Levinson shows with his toolkit of sharp sociology and brilliant humor.”

Here’s a little more about Adam from his dust jacket bio: He is a journalist and travel writer whose work focuses on human stories in conflict areas. His work has appeared in numbers outlets, including VICE, the Paris Review, Al Jazeera, and Haaretz. He is an affiliate of the Middle East Institute in Washington DC and a Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University, studying humor as a key to cultural understanding.

Damn. I make donuts and talk to people.

Okay, so here’s that part where I ask you that if you dig the show, consider subscribing and sharing it with a fellow CNFer. Leave an honest rating on iTunes, which takes a few seconds, or leave a rating and a review and in exchange, I’ll coach up a piece of your work, up to 2,000 words. That’s the deal. That’s like a $100 value once I’m all done because I read things three times and mark things up like it’s my job.

I’m tired of me and I’m sure you are too. Here’s Adam Valen Levinson.