Curated by: Anna Grigoryan

Sheila Heti is the author of ten books, including the novels Pure Colour, Motherhood and How Should a Person Be? She explores topics of womanhood in modern culture, art and writing.
11 episodes
541 min
Last updated: Apr 25, 2023
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Sheila Heti's "Pure Colour"
LARB Radio Hour

Sheila Heti joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to speak about her latest novel, Pure Colour. A mythical and tender telling of the life of a woman named Mira, Pure Colour imagines our present day as taking place in the first stages of God’s creation. The world as we know it is but God’s first draft, and the complaints of human beings about its difficulties are being logged by him as input for his second. In this first draft world, people come in three categories: birds, fish, and bears. Mira is a bird — she relates to the world aesthetically and studies writing and criticism — while the woman that beguiles her, Annie, is a fish — a pragmatist who believes in justice for all of humanity. Mira’s father, meanwhile, is a bear, devoted most to the people he loves. When he dies early in the novel, questions of how to reconcile these different positions, how and at what distance to love someone, and how much to let go of that love, take the fore, as do other deeply philosophical inquiries about time, the future, art, and the universe as we know it.

Also, Francesco Pacifico, author of The Women I Love, drops by to give a glowing recommendation for Gertrude Stein’s classic The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

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Artist Reunion, with Lauren Groff, Sheila Heti and Sarah Manguso
Shadow // Yaddo

When artists get together, conversation flows! Antics, disco, cocktails and more in this week’s celebration of our upcoming Yaddo Artist Reunion. Three fantastic writers who met at Yaddo discuss how peers influence each other: Lauren Groff, the bestselling author of six books of fiction, including Fates and Furies, Florida and her latest, Matrix; the ever-brilliant Sheila Heti, author of the novels Motherhood, How Should a Person Be and her forthcoming book, Pure Colour; and Sarah Manguso, the luminous author of eight books, including her upcoming novel, Very Cold People. Contributing artists: Joseph Keckler, Destiny’s Child (“Independent Women,” the Charles J Remix). Special thanks to Glenfiddich for sponsoring our Yaddo Artist Reunion.

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Everything is Great (ft. Sheila Heti)
Our Struggle

We're still alive! And at the incessant nagging of the Our Struggle Office of Diversity and Inclusion, joined by Canadian woman writer Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?, Motherhood, and the newly out PURE COLOUR (note the canadian spelling). This was a great episode - we didn't talk about Knausgaard so much (although Sheila had a good story about hanging with the man at an Australian continental breakfast), or even Craft (although there was some craft chat), but you all know the drill by now -- the pleasure is in the digression etc. Thanks so much to our new friend Sheila for coming on the show! Look forward to hanging in Toronto soon with Margaret, Alice and the whole gang<3

cheat sheet:

0:00 - What have L&D been up to during the hiatus? Drew almost died of food poisoning in Israel and Lauren got in trouble with the P*rk Sl*pe F*od C*op

6:58 - Sheila comes on the line and tells us about getting locked out of her friend Margaux's studio, her 140-pound Rottweiler called Feldman, and her experimental theater adolescence 

32:38 - Lauren and Sheila discuss a devastating book Sheila recently wrote about in NYRB, the Swedish author Lena Andersson's WILLFUL DISREGARD, which is full of wise aphorisms about love and human behavior. This leads to a discussion of aphoristic writing, about which Lauren has recently come to have a bee in her bonnet. How can we know aphorisms we write are not complete bullshit? Lauren wants to know, and Sheila and Drew reasonably point out that readers are not expecting authors to have access to a universal truth. But we get into a interesting convo about if it's possible to deceive yourself in writing and also get into the brilliant and (to Lauren) frustrating psychoanalytic writer Adam Phillips, whose book MISSING OUT Sheila recommends.

58:15 - A comment about a (fanciful) description of a certain literary critic friend of the pod's scrotum in PURE COLOUR leads into a passionate discussion of male circumcision, a topic about which Sheila has lately been having complicated feelings.

1:17:36 - Drew, Sheila and Lauren have a very Jewish discussion of their formative encounters with Woody Allen films and Sheila reveals that she was almost named Woody Allen Heti.

1:42:43 - [DISCOURSE ALERT] Sheila bravely reveal a PRO-ROONEY stance

Thanks so much again to Sheila !!

As always, you can keep Lauren from starving by buying a mug at

And reach out to us:;

As they (are legally obligated) say in Montreal: A bientot!

--- Send in a voice message:
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Read By: Sheila Heti
92Y's Read By

Sheila Heti on her selection:

I chose a chapter from Stefan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday, which he wrote between 1934 and 1941. It is one of the most fascinating and vivid descriptions I have ever read—not only of what Victorian manners and morals were like, but what it feels like to have lived through history, in particular the great political and social upheavals that occurred between his birth in Vienna in 1881 and his death in 1942. He gave his publisher the typewritten manuscript of this memoir the day before he and his wife died, by suicide. Zwieg grew up in a prosperous Jewish family, and this is the world he is writing about. I found in these pages one of the greatest and most fascinating and sensitive eyewitness accounts of history I have ever read. I love the details. I love the feeling that I am seeing the truth about another world with such intimacy. This chapter has stayed with me since I first encountered it years ago. I am at about the age he was when he wrote it, and though I don’t think the changes I have witnessed have been as dramatic, I feel I know what it’s like to remember a lost world, and to set now against then and to weigh all of it up.

The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig

Music: "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

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S2 Ep7: Sheila Heti on Thinking about Thinking
Subject, Object, Verb
Sheila Heti is a writer who interrogates the role of the writer, questions the limits of the book and explores the spectrum of literature. She has written novels, fables, a fashion book, a play, and philosophical investigations into everyday life. On this episode, she discusses working with systems as an artist, her love of thinking about thinking, and two of her upcoming works: ‘Alphabetical Diary’ and ‘Pure Colour’. Host Ross Simonini Credits Produced by ArtReview and Ross Simonini
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Sheila Heti
Sheila Heti joins Jordan to talk about grief, god, the shape of her novel, and what it means to be rooting for the snail. Mentioned: "The Unknown Masterpiece" by Honoré de Balzac The Masterpiece by Émile Zola Sarah Ruhl Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro Sheila Heti is the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including Motherhood and How Should a Person Be?, which New York magazine deemed one of the “New Classics of the 21st century.” She was named one of “the New Vanguard” by the New York Times book critics, who, along with a dozen other magazines and newspapers, chose Motherhood as a Best Book of 2018. Her novels have been translated into twenty-four languages. She is the former Interviews Editor of The Believer magazine. She lives in Toronto. For more Thresholds, visit us at Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Endnotes: Sheila Heti, Alexander Chee, and a New Voice
It’s the end of our ‘experimentation’ capsule of episodes and Jordan is joined in the studio by Thresholds producer Drew Broussard for a grab-bag of outtakes, audience questions, and more. MENTIONED: Sheila Heti asks Jordan a question she’s never been asked before Alexander Chee recommends some books, music, and more to get a person through stressful times Jordan tells Drew about a poem by Jericho Brown that knocked her over Advice for what to do when the writing gets hard We'll be back March 23rd! For more Thresholds, visit us at Be sure to rate/review/subscribe! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Sheila Heti on getting reacquainted with her imagination
Kobo in Conversation Podcast
Sheila Heti is a novelist, playwright, and former interviews editor for the literary magazine The Believer. We spoke with her (and her dog Feldman)about her new novel Pure Colour, and how her novels come into being.
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#389 Sheila Heti: Art is the Opposite of an Algorithm
Ctrl Alt Delete

My guest today is the brilliant Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood and How Should a Person Be? In this episode we discuss her latest book Pure Colour, a new novel l about art, love, loss and time. It has been described as a galaxy of a novel: explosive, bright, huge and streaked with beauty. Sheila Heti has also been described as philosopher of modern experience - and I really enjoyed this conversation. Motherhood, her novel which grapples with the question of whether or not to have kids was a huge inspiration on me - and I think Sheila is one of the most talented artists of our time. Enjoy this conversation, I loved it and was on cloud nine after recording! 

My Substack! Heti's Pure Colour: Heti's books: books: Mentioned On Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast:

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