Speaker Survey: Meet Lisa Levy of Dead Critics

We sent out a survey of the same eight questions to our speakers to help you get to know them better. Here’s Lisa Levy, who will be speaking at BinderCon on Saturday at the Arthur L Carter Journalism Institute at NYU at 10 a.m., as part of the panel called Dear Reader, I Reviewed It

LisaLevy_200In a few sentences, who are you?

I am a book and cultural critic based in Brooklyn, and the Mystery/Noir editor at the LA Review of Books. Current and past preoccupations include psychoanalysis, pop culture, American intellectual history, genre studies (particularly of the essay), and, of course, noir and detective fiction.

Describe one moment, event, person, relationship or other thing that put you on the path to becoming a writer, or told you that this was going to be your career.

I got published in Highlights magazine when I was eight. It was a poem called “Orange,” which is still my favorite color.

What’s essential for your work routine, ie. early morning start, some type of music, clean teeth, a looming deadline?

I work best when I have a lot of projects going on at once: usually one long piece, a few short ones, some pitches brewing, and the constant treadmill of editing and assigning.

After casting a glance at our program, who’s another speaker you’re excited to see at Out of the Binders and why?

I’m excited to see Leslie Jamison, as I thought The Empathy Exams was great. I’m also interested in the practical stuff, like Laura Shin’s workshop on freelancing/not working for the man.

Why do you think this Out of the Binders conference needs to exist?

Gosh, so many reasons. I think women need to be reminded over and over again that self-promotion is not bragging, but is necessary to make a name and a life for oneself. I think women need to do more to be resources for each other and share our experiences as writers, general and specific. I showed my husband a post I wrote on a Binder asking for advice and the amazing response. He said, “Wow, when you take the men out you really get past the bullshit and straight to the good stuff.” That pretty much sums it up.

What’s one link, aka URL, you’d give to someone who wants to read or find out more about your work? 

One link, so hard! What a Sophie’s Choice. I’ll give it to this essay [From The Believer], which is a piece about Elizabeth Hardwick whom I passionately admire.

Let’s get people to connect with you: what’s your Twitter handle/Facebook page/website?

Twitter: @reallivecriticFacebook and website Dead Critics.

Anything else?

I cannot emphasize enough how much Binders has changed my attitude toward my career. I feel better about being a writer now than I have in years, and like the possibilities are infinite if you are willing to work hard and break down some doors (or knock very loudly). I’m grateful for and awed by this community of formidable women.

I also really like monkeys wearing clothes, so I highly recommend this blog.