Tête-à-Tête with Mary Norris, the Comma Queen

We were thrilled to share a few minutes with Mary Norris, comma queen and longtime proofreader at The New Yorker, during her recent appearance at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge.

Torrential rain and tornedo warnings drove crowds from the tents on the state capitol grounds and into our temporarily quiet sanctuary—making our recording more festive! Mary Norris did a wonderful job remaining focused as the hoards piled in.

Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen is a funny, endearing and utterly charming memoir that discusses grammar and punctuation, the inner workings of The New Yorker, how Noah Webster changed the course of American English—and that’s just the beginning. We love her stories about Philip Roth and writers who take liberty with punctuation.

Especially exciting for us as we anticipate the publication of Conversations with James Salter this week, Norris relates her correspondence with Salter about his use of commas in his 1975 novel, Light Years.

Listen to our (sometimes rowdy!) interview with Mary Norris and hear her read excerpts from the James Salter section of Between You and Me.

Between You and Me is published by Text in Australia and W. W. Norton in the United States.

Mary Norris will be a guest of the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne on Saturday, November 28.

Read an excerpt from Between You and Me here. You can also watch her Comma Queen videos.

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