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The Worm Hole Podcast Episode 12: Weike Wang (Chemistry)

Charlie and Weike Wang (Chemistry) discuss having both a scientific – in epidemiology no less! – and a writer background, making use of extracts and white space and preferring them beyond more long-form prose, the difficulties of studies and incorporating friends’ experiences in your stories, and fictional dogs who are inherently important to the text.

Short story ‘Omakase’ in The New Yorker
Short story ‘Nanjing’ in the Alaska Quarterly Review
Short story ‘By the Pantheon’ in Kenyon Review
Short story ‘The Poster’ in the Gulf Coast journal
Weike Wang on the Privilege of Not Having to Think About Race

Release details: recorded 21st March 2020; published 13th April 2020

Weike’s social media: Facebook || Website

Go back to the list of episodes

Show notes:

Question Index
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Question Index

01:01 Your background is in Chemistry and Public Health – how have you come to mix these with writing and are you still doing Chemistry?
03:23 You wrote an introduction to Villette – does Brontë inspire your writing, and who else inspires you?
06:02 Why an unnamed narrator?
08:34 How did you come to strike the balance between the presence and the lack of a presence in regards to the narrator’s boyfriend?
10:10 Was the dog always a part of the book, and can you discuss his role?
11:55 Is the dog based on your own?
18:00 Is the writing style (vignettes and so forth) something that was in your mind and something you’ll continue in future?
20:46 So with this ‘excess’, you’ve potentially got lots of ideas you could use for future books?
21:23 When did the narrator first arrive in your mind, so to speak?
23:25 How did you com to strike the balance between the different cultures and how important was it to the overall effect?
25:33 Is there a lot you see in chemistry that we can learn from?
30:32 The narrator’s growth in knowledge of English idioms and metaphors
32:21 Might the narrator be a successful teacher one day?
33:35 How true to life are the experiences of specific pressures for PhD students?
36:44 What’s next?

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Photograph used with permission from the author. Credit: Shang Saavedra


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