Rumaan Alam’s New Novel Started With a Daydream

The author of Leave the World Behind explains how the story’s setting came first.

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Episode Notes

This week, host June Thomas talks to novelist, critic, and co-host of Working Rumaan Alam about his new novel Leave the World Behind, which has already garnered critical acclaim and a nomination for the National Book Award. In the interview, Rumaan talks about the origins of the novel, his writing process, and how he was able to craft memorable characters despite being, in his words, “face blind.”

After the interview, June and co-host Isaac Butler talk about the prophetic nature of Leave the World Behind and Rumaan’s approach to character development.

In Slate Plus, Rumaan recommends a piece of short fiction to give listeners a taste of his work. He also talks about works of art that have inspired him and shares an anecdote about Denzel Washington.

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Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


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Slate interviews Americans about their jobs.

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  • June Thomas is senior managing producer of Slate podcasts.