Maggie Messitt and Telling True Stories

Written by Brendan O’Meara maggie messitt, the rainy season “I really embrace the shitty first draft.” — Maggie Messitt.

“I was always into true stories, almost at an obsessive level.” —Maggie Messitt

My guest for this re-re-birth of the Hashtag #CNF podcast is my friend Maggie Messitt. She has written a gem of a book in The Rainy Season: Three Lives in the New South Africa. 

We talk about a lot of stuff, certainly about process and the challenge of writing book-length narrative. Maggie is a writer, author, teacher, hiker, dog owner, reporter, super kayaker, all-round liver-of-life. Not the organ liver, but…ah, you get it.

Also I introduce a new segment called the Bookshelf for the Apocalypse. What’s this? Should the world be ravaged by global pandemic, zombies, meteor strike or nuclear winter, and you were allowed ten books to keep in your survival pack, what would they be?


Below you’ll find a list of books Maggie mentioned that you may want to check out. Thanks for listening and I ask that you please subscribe to the podcast and sign up for the email newsletter.

Thanks so much!

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Maggie’s Bookshelf for the Apocalypse

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadimann

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood, A Writing Life, all by Annie Dillard

Notes from No Man’s Land by Eula Biss

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

Open City by Teju Cole

Portrait with Keys by Ivan Vladislavic

A dictionary

What is Justice? by Robert C. Solomon and Mark C. Murphy

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