S5 Ep. 12: Intimate Contact: Garth Greenwell on Book Bans and Writing About Sex


Feb 24 2022 • 56 mins

Acclaimed novelist Garth Greenwell joins co-hosts V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell to talk about book banning, writing about sex, and the different (and often coded) reasons people talk about limits to reading. A former high school teacher, Greenwell discusses the ideological roots of book bans targeting Black and LGBTQIA+ writers and describes how books like Giovanni’s Room gave him hope and inspiration as an isolated queer teenager in the South. Finally, he talks about the need for generosity and patience in this debate and why we should all be willing to have hard conversations about what is, and is not, appropriate reading material for students. To hear the full episode, subscribe through iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app (include the forward slashes when searching). You can also listen by streaming from the player below. Check out video versions of our interviews on the Fiction/Non/Fiction Instagram account, the Fiction/Non/Fiction YouTube Channel, and our show website: https://www.fnfpodcast.net/ This podcast is produced by Anne Kniggendorf. Selected Readings: Garth Greenwell Kink, edited with R.O. Kwon Cleanness What Belongs to You Others: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison All Boys Aren’t Blue by George Matthew Johnson Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado 'Banning My Book Won’t Protect Your Child,' by Carmen Maria Machado, The New York Times  Carmen Maria Machado Edinburgh by Alexander Chee Another Country by James Baldwin Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin Just Above My Head by James Baldwin Anonymous Sex eds. Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters Skinned Alive by Edmund White Edmund White and Emily Temple on Literary Feuds, Social Media, and Our Appetite for Drama Fiction/Non/Fiction Season 2, Episode 4 R.O. Kwon and Paul Harding Talk God and Faith in American Fiction Fiction/Non/Fiction Season 2, Episode 9 A Streetcar Named Desire dir. Elia Kazan Judy Blume: 'I thought, this is America: we don't ban books. But then we did' Children and teenagers, The Guardian Brontez Purnell Ocean Vuong “Why book banning is back” | Vox “A Texas lawmaker is targeting 850 books that he says could make students feel uneasy” | NPR Cleanness | Work in Progress Garth Greenwell & Mitzi Angel on Writing About Sex Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices