On ‘American Spy’ and Finding It on the Page

Lauren Wilkinson is the author of the novel American Spy, which was published by Random House in 2019 and subsequently named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, and BuzzFeed, among others. Including it on his summer reading list, former President Barack Obama described it as “a whole lot more than just a spy thriller, wrapping together the ties of family, of love, and of country.”

In addition to penning a critically acclaimed novel, Lauren has taught writing at Columbia University and the Fashion Institute of Technology and was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow. Her writing has appeared in publications like Granta, The Believer, New York magazine, and The New York Times, and she also writes for television.

During this conversation, Lauren and host Ted Fox talked about some of the big themes in American Spy, including how we understand the term “American,” as well as the seven-year process she went through to write the book. That story involves a surprising connection between her novel and one of those by one of our past guests, Pulitzer-winner Marilynne Robinson.

Lastly, and on a completely unrelated note, at the very end of the interview, you might catch Lauren’s subtle nod to the New York City diner of Seinfeld fame that is Ted’s go-to background on Zoom.

We guess you could say we believe that, if you can’t go to coffee, you bring the iconic TV sitcom coffee shop to you.

Office of the Provost
About the Podcast:

“With a Side of Knowledge” is a podcast produced at the University of Notre Dame. It features interviews with fascinating people from both Notre Dame and elsewhere that take place over brunch—or if we’re really in a pinch, coffee.

Learn More

October 8, 2020

Art and HistoryGlobal AffairsLaw and PoliticsLauren WilkinsonAmerican SpyIdentityThrillerNovelWritingOffice Of The ProvostRacebookNotre DamepodcastLiteratureWith a Side of Knowledge