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Paolo Bacigalupi on Black Swans, Crashing a Drought Conference, and Being in a Weird Place

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 | Posted by Emily Mah

headshotTheWaterKnife-PaoloBacigalupi-201x300Paolo Bacigalupi’s first novel, The Windup Girl, was named one of Time magazine’s top ten novels of the year, and yet he still talks to people like me, which makes him either very strange or very cool (probably a little of both.)

On May 25th his latest, The Water Knife, will be out, and this near future science fiction novel is set in a mega-drought-stricken, American southwest. The story explores issues of water rights, climate change, and the gratuitous destruction of the state of Texas, all of which we discuss in the interview.

He also takes the time to talk about his long and winding path towards a writing career. Anyone who’s ever reached the point of despair (in other words, all aspiring writers) will want to give this a listen.

After getting off Skype with me, he had another interview with NPR. So, without further ado: Paolo Bacigalupi’s warmup interview on the day he spoke to NPR.

Interview with Paolo Bacigalupi

Conducted and Edited by Emily Mah, May, 2015

Click the video above to hear the interview which lasts just over an hour. For the first 20 minutes or so we talk about The Water Knife and drought in general. For those who are most interested in hearing the history of Paolo’s writing career to date, that starts at 21:50. 46:50 is where we discuss the specifics of how Windup Girl was published.

At the very end, my connection suddenly died, so sorry for the abrupt cut-off… Once you’ve had a chance to listen, go check out his latest book!


Emily Mah has been a lawyer, a jeweler, a mother, a professional ebook and paperback formatter, a cover designer, and is now finally a professional writer. She makes her living in indie chick-lit as E.M. Tippetts and is about to return to her roots with the upcoming release of a fantasy series. Her website is www.emilymah.com. Her previous interview for Black Gate was of Patrice Caldwell, on the Jack Williamson Lectureship.

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