In this episode, novelist Val Brelinski, author of The Girl Who Slept with God, talks with Zoë Kontes about naming her characters, “cooking with gas” with Tobias Wolff, and her best editor—surprisingly, her son.
Val Brelinski was born and raised in Nampa, Idaho, the daughter of devout evangelical Christians. She was a recent Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, where she was also a Jones Lecturer in fiction writing. She received an MFA from the University of Virginia, and her writing has been published in Vogue, MORE, VQR, and the Rumpus. She lives in Northern California and teaches creative writing in Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program.
Zoë Kontes is an associate professor and the chair of the Department of Classics at Kenyon College. She is an archaeologist who studies issues of cultural property; in 2015 she wrote an op-ed on the repatriation of antiquities for the New York Times. Currently she is working on a podcast series on the illicit trade in classical antiquities, supported by a Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Fellowship: www.lootedpodcast.org. She is also a DJ at WKCO 91.9 FM.