Lit Up Episode 8: Nell Zink on freeing her mind and the problem of good men

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When Nell came to visit us, she broke out in a gorgeous song, that unfortunately we lost to some faulty equipment (ah technology).  We were devastated to lose such a gem- it’s in moments like these that we remember why we devote so much time to this project! But in retrospect, it was a moment we’ll always be able to point to as a, ‘remember when’ and maybe, was meant to be a marker of where we started. So while you won’t be able to hear her sing, you’ll quickly hear that Nell Zink is a magical human being.

Nell’s most recent book, Mislaid, is a comedy about sexuality and race in 1960s rural Virginia. Her first book The Wallcreeper, which published just last year, introduced us to her zany voice and her interest in birdwatching, a hobby that she shares with Emily (as you will hear).

Our conversation starts with what Jonathan Franzen’s New York apartment looks like, then moves to why Nell left America for Germany, and ends with the continuing complicated topic of race. Nell is the quintessential Lit Up hero; she devotes herself to her craft, takes time to sing, and isn’t afraid to break conventions to live her fullest self.

The two books that Jonathan Franzen made Nell buy at The Strand book store in Manhattan are Veronica by Mary Gaitskill and Family Life by Akhil Sharma.

The New Yorker featured Nell in a fantastic article here– it’s worth a read.

xx Angie & Emily

Nell Zink grew up in rural Virginia. She has worked in a variety of trades, including masonry and technical writing. In the early 1990s, she edited an indie rock fanzine. Her writing has also appeared in n+1. Her debut novel, The Wallcreeper, was published in 2014. She lives near Berlin, Germany.

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Buy The Wallcreeper on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local independent book store.

Buy Mislaid on Amazon or Barnes & Noble here.