Robert Birnbaum interviews David Remnick.
But I remember, one week after getting [the New Yorker editor job], in the almost absurd way I got it, I had to go to San Francisco, and I was at dinner and some guy came up to me. He had been in the Midwest and lived in San Francisco and he came up to the table where we were having dinner and grabbed my arm in a way that was slightly alarming and his message to me was, “Don’t fuck this up!”
The whole thing is great.
Robert Birnbaum interviews author Sebastian Junger about his new book, Death in Belmont. The interview is a little confusing if you haven’t read the book (or at least a synopsis) but there’s some good stuff in there. “I went to Bosnia with a bunch of notebooks and pens and flew to Zagreb and started. There will always be those young people. And I encourage them. My answer is save up a few thousand bucks and just go.”
Robert Birnbaum interviews writer Gay Talese. “Look, if you want to make your living chopping people up, you will find an audience. You will, but it’s not me.”
Robert Birnbaum interview with Susan Orlean. Here’s his first interview with her from 2001.
Update: I linked to this without reading it first, something I *never* do, but now that I’ve read it, there’s really some great stuff in there about the writing process, magazines (specifically The New Yorker), and editing. And great quotes like “I’d rather work for Drunken Boat than for Time magazine, to be honest with you”. Ouch for Time magazine.
Robert Birnbaum interviews George Saunders. “What seems dark to me is CSI Baton Rouge or whatever — where there is no mitigating humor, no sense that the absurd is absurd, it’s all just murdering midgets and no one ever calls those shows dark.”