Never Let Your Sexy Nemesis Get The Best Of You


Gathering a bunch of hormonal young artists in one place almost guarantees you a good mess. Unfortunately I speak from experience, as a survivor of a creative writing MFA program. It wasn’t quirky to have a nemesis, it was expected. The beef could be ideological, artistic, or personal; the best nemeses opposed you on all three fronts. Workshops could be interpreted as earnest conversations about the work, but there was a metagame to track too, for those who were interested: barbs disguised as feedback, counterattacks disguised as innocent questions to the group, a story written in the second person submitted for communal consideration just two weeks after someone declared the second person to be unilaterally juvenile, the list goes on. And of course people go out drinking after readings and hooked up at parties, which keeps things fresh.

Do these trials by fire help people develop their craft? Maybe? You can justify a lot of bad decisions by labeling your chaos “research.” This week—for the FINALE of Season 6—we’re bringing you some gossip straight from the Machiavellian heart of a prestigious MFA program. We’ve got a book festival headlined by an A-list author, two young writers assigned to attend to the author’s every whim, and a pair of finicky ferrets just for good measure. Let’s just say our friend-of-a-friend Mia is going to get a lot of research done. 

This week our guest is Brittany Luse! Brittany Luse! She is currently the host of NPR’s It’s Been a Minute. Previously, Luse hosted For Colored Nerds, The Nod and Sampler podcasts, and co-hosted and executive produced The Nod with Brittany and Eric. She’s written for Vulture and Harper’s Bazaar and edited for the podcasts Planet Money and Not Past It.

Brittany and Kelsey gab about what used to happen when people googled “Brittany Luse husband” and the advantages of having a poor memory. Then Kelsey brought Brittany up to speed on the lengths 25-year-old writers will go to in order to make an impression on a literary celebrity. (Once, one of my professors invited me to go see The Lobster with her and Joy Williams; I didn’t go because I had to teach a section of Comp 101 that afternoon. I will never forgive myself. These are the stakes, people. These are the moments that will haunt these fledglings for decades.)

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If you hear any good gossip this summer, email us at, or leave a voice message on our hotline at 26-79-GOSSIP. We’ll be back in your feeds before you know it!

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