Opinion: The Insightful Interviews That Stick With You

Tommy Orange is an exciting choice for UCSC’s Deep Read this year

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

It’s always important to prepare plenty of questions for an interview, but it’s the questions you don’t prepare that often end up being the most important. Those are the ones that rise organically out of the conversation, and can lead it in a direction I don’t expect. But even though I know it works like that, I still wasn’t prepared for the way talking to Bay Area author Tommy Orange would get my brain working overtime and have me so engaged in the conversation I barely even glanced at my notes. I was too busy trying to hold on to each thing he’d just said, so I could address the new burst of thoughts and questions that it raised before we were on to another topic.

It’s ironic that my first question—an actual planned one!—was about the way Orange’s novel There There is packed with ideas, because based on my experience it’s an extension of how he engages with the world in general. There are certain interviews that stick with you long after you’ve written about them, and I’m sure this will be one of them.

All of this also provides some insight into why Orange was a great choice to be the center of the Humanities Institute at UCSC’s Deep Read this year. They got the program off to an auspicious start with Margaret Atwood last year, and Orange is an exciting follow up. There are details about his March 3 live Zoom event at the end of my cover story. I really encourage you to check it out!


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