19.01: Interview with Abraham Verghese

Season 19 | Episode 1
27m | Jan 7, 2024

In our first episode of 2024, we interviewed author and physician Abraham Verghese, who most recently published "The Covenant of Water." We talked with Verghese about how to convey technical information in fiction.

Verghese explains how he shares medical and world-building details in the most engaging way. We also asked Verghese how to make things feel real without overwhelming your reader, and how he has mastered conveying the passing of time. We also discussed verisimilitude, translation, point of view, and revision (we love revision!).


From Abraham Verghese: Write a landscape in three different moods. Imagine that someone dear to you has died and you are now gazing at the landscape. Describe it without any reference to this event in your life. The second time you write it as if you were experiencing a moment of great joy, and you're looking at that landscape. The third time, imagine you are in a terrible rage and you are describing this landscape. This allows you to explore how descriptions of the physical world can reflect the various moods of characters.

Thing of the Week: 

"How To Draw A Novel" by Martín Solares (recommended by Abraham Verghese)

Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, Erin Roberts, and Howard Tayler. Our guest was Abraham Verghese. It was produced by Emma Reynolds, recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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