Laura van den Berg in 'Guernica': "A lot of women feel the pressure of conformity"

Laura van den Berg's short story collection The Isle of Youth hit hard when it debuted in November, and for all the right reasons — it's resonant, textured, and arresting. (And at Bustle, it was my November editor's pick.) Her seven stories are all about women who've seen better days — and don't necessarily have better ones coming. We spoke to van den Berg about the collection right after its release, who told us that "fiction thrives off of disaster." How perfect, no?

Earlier this week, Dwyer Murphy also spoke to van den Berg about The Isle of Youth in Guernica magazine. In their conversation, van den Berg touches upon a lot of the pressures endemic to women in publishing:

It's a pretty stark reality to hear coming from directly inside the industry... and aren't we over telling women to smile already?

The entire interview is fantastic — Murphy is a stellar conversationalist — and if you've read van den Berg's Isle it's an essential companion to the text. Even if you haven't, the interview is exemplary of what an insightful author with a real connection to her prose sounds like — and we could all learn a thing or two as readers.

Image: Peter Yoon