ABOUT

Eula Biss

Eula Biss is the author of three books: On Immunity: An Inoculation, Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays, and The Balloonists. Her work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, an NEA Literature Fellowship, and a Jaffe Writers' Award. She holds a B.A. in nonfiction writing from Hampshire College and a M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. Her essays have recently appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading and the Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction as well as in The Believer, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Third Coast, and Harper's. Eula Biss and John Bresland are the Chicago-based band STET Everything.

INTERVIEWS

“I got interested in the use of the vampire as a tool for talking about social power. It was fascinating to me: the ways that the vampire invites us to think about what we ask of each other, and what we ask of each other’s bodies. The image of one person sucking another person’s blood remains compelling and terrifying in part because it invites us to think about how the needs of one person’s health can draw on the well-being of another person, and more broadly, the ways in which the individual draws on the social body.” [Link]

Bookforum

“I drew some inspiration for On Immunity from Candide by Voltaire, which is also written in thirty short sections. I was interested in Candide in part because Voltaire was writing against a certain kind of optimism, and I saw myself as writing for a certain kind of optimism.” [Link]

Late Night Library

“My work as an essayist is heavily influenced by poetry, and I was lucky to be reading Adrienne Rich and Sylvia Plath as I was finding my way as a young writer. I count that as one of the reasons why I tend to think of personal narrative—particularly when it concerns the body or domesticity—as a perfectly viable space for intellectual exploration.” [Link]

Numero Cinq

“It is useful to me when I find the form the work is going to take—that is extremely useful—but I rarely decide before I write what it's going to look like formally. I find that through the process.” [Link]

Hot Metal Bridge

“Yes, a certain unstaved vulnerability is characteristic of who I am as a person, but in my writing I consider vulnerability a tool. A vulnerable persona can be instrumental in an essay, particularly an essay that is working to avoid the pitfalls of righteousness.” [Link]

Gulf Coast

“The problem with the term ‘organic,’ just as with the term ‘lyric essay,’ is that a genre, or category, or term doesn’t determine what’s good and what’s not good….” [Link]

Dislocate

“Writing about race is a place that I found myself mostly because that’s a place where I wanted to clarify my own thinking.” [Link]

The Ithacan

CONVERSATION

“Neither of us knew what the words meant at the time, and both of us were utterly horrified when we looked them up. ‘Meretricious’ means ‘of, or relating to, a prostitute’—to which I’ve learned to say, bring it on!” [Link]