Season 2 arrives on May 9, 2023!


Publishing Failure The Writing Life

S2E3 Why Writers Need to Fail More with Stephen Marche

June 6, 2023

Cultural critic Stephen Marche discusses his new book On Writing and Failure, the challenges faced by writers in the digital age, the the inherent failures that are part of writing process, and the struggle to bridge the gap…

Memoir Essays Writer's Block Reading

S2E2: Susan Olding on Essays and Rereading Classics

May 23, 2023

In this episode, Susan Olding discusses her journey as an essayist, and her newest essay collection Big Reader. She also discusses the power of writing essays, the challenges of writer's block, the power of re-reading classi…

Guest: Susan Olding
Publishing Diversity Jewish Culture

Josh Lambert on the Jewish Literary Mafia

May 9, 2023

In this episode of "The Book I Had to Write" podcast, Paul interviews Josh Lambert, author of The Literary Mafia: Jews, Publishing, and Postwar American Literature. Josh shares the story of how the term 'Jewish literary maf…

Guest: Josh Lambert

Season 2 Trailer

May 1, 2023

Paul is back with a new season of The Book I Had to Write. This time around, the show explores nonfiction writers and stories from Canada. Upcoming interviews will be published every other Tuesday starting on May 9, 2023.

Writing About Others Essays Gen X

How Do You Write About Yourself and Others? with Sari Botton

July 5, 2022

In this episode, I talk with writer and editor Sari Botton. Back around 2010, Sari started an interview series at The Rumpus called “Conversations with Writers Braver Than Me.” At the time, as a writer of first-person nonfic…

Guest: Sari Botton
Memoir Bonus

Bonus Episode: Chloe Caldwell Does It Her Way (The Bleeders)

June 28, 2022

This week, we’re featuring an episode from a great new show called The Bleeders. The Bleeders is a podcast (and support group) about book writing and publishing. The podcast emphasizes “transparent conversations with authors…

Memoir Writing As A Detective Novel Grief Anger Addiction

The Memoir as Detective Story with Lilly Dancyger

June 21, 2022

It can be difficult for writers to learn to put our stories front and center. That was originally the case with today’s guest, Lilly Dancyger. She originally set out to memorialize her father, Joe Schactman, through a book t…

Memoir Autofiction Creative Blocks

Your Book is Ready When It's Ready with Brad Listi

June 14, 2022

Today’s guest on TBIHTW is Brad Listi, best known as the creator of the OTHERPPL with Brad Listi podcast. Hailed by everyone from The New Yorker to Electric Literature as a go-to literary podcast, OTHERPPL boasts over 770+ e…

Guest: Brad Listi

Why You Need to Cut Your First 50 Pages w/ Allison K. Williams

June 7, 2022

If you’ve spent time in the world of creative nonfiction, chances are you’ve come across today’s guest, Allison K. Williams (read more below).


How Gayle Jessup White Discovered her Family’s Legacy

May 31, 2022

Growing up, Gayle Jessup White had heard that her African American family was somehow related to Thomas Jefferson. But it wasn’t until advances in DNA technology, along with methods pioneered by historians exploring the Afri…

Fear Of Success

Getting Over Fear of Success with Dr. Robert Glover

May 24, 2022

Paul talks with the best-selling author Dr. Robert Glover about how the publication of the book, No More Mr. Nice Guy, helped him to create a platform, and to launch himself as internationally-recognized men’s dating and sel…

A Masterclass in Writing and Living with Abigail Thomas

May 17, 2022

Paul talks with the NYT-bestselling memoirist and teacher, Abigail Thomas. Her memoir, Safekeeping (2000), is a marvel of technical innovation, enviable humor, and just plain old heart. She’s clear-sighted about her own fail…

Journals Memoir Caregivers

From Journal to Book with Karen Propp

May 10, 2022

What do you do when you want to read a book that’s not already out there? And what’s the difference between keeping a journal and writing for publication? In S1E1 of TBIHTW, writer and editor Karen Propp explores these and o…

Guest: Karen Propp

Season 1 Trailer

April 18, 2022

Coming May 8, 2022, a new podcast where leading nonfiction authors talk about writing their most compelling books -- and why that journey matters to anyone who wants to publish. Season 1 guests include Abigail Thomas, Gayle …