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132. Hilary Zaid | Forget I Told You This, writing a techno-thriller, and handmade magic

Arts Calling Podcast | Down-to-earth conversations with independent artists about craft, community, and a life well-lived.

Arts Calling is now available wherever you listen to podcasts!

Weekly Shoutout: Nighthawks Podcast!

Hi there,

Today I am excited to be arts calling author Hilary Zaid! (

About our Guest: Hilary Zaid has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a James D. Houston Fellow at the Community of Writers and two-time attendee of Tin House Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in Mother Jones, Ecotone, Day One, The Southwest Review, and The Utne Reader and elsewhere. Long-listed for the 2018 Northern California Independent Booksellers’ Award for Fiction, her novel Paper is White is a 2018 Foreword Indies silver medalist and the winner of the 2018 Independent Publishers’ Book Awards (IPPY) in LGBT+ Fiction. Her novel Forget I Told You This (Zero Street Fiction), is the inaugural winner of the Barbara DiBernard Award. Hilary holds an AB in English from Harvard and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

Hilary has mentored aspiring writers through AWP’s Writer-to-Writer Mentor program, the Golden Crown Literary Society and as a volunteer mentor and mentor-coordinator of the College Essay Mentors in the Oakland Unified School District, an equity program offering high school seniors from under-served communities.

Twitter: @hilaryzaid | Insta: @hilary_zaid/

FORGET I TOLD YOU THIS, now available from Zero Street Fiction!

About Forget I Told You This: Amy Black, a queer single mother and an aspiring artist in love with calligraphy, dreams of a coveted artist’s residency at the world’s largest social media company, Q. One ink-black October night, when the power is out in the hills of Oakland, California, a stranger asks Amy to transcribe a love letter for him. When the stranger suddenly disappears, Amy’s search for the letter’s recipient leads her straight to Q and the most beautiful illuminated manuscript she has ever seen, the Codex Argentus, hidden away in Q’s Library of Books That Don’t Exist—and to a group of data privacy vigilantes who want her to burn Q to the ground. Amy’s curiosity becomes her salvation, as she’s drawn closer and closer to the secret societies and crackpot philosophers that haunt the city’s abandoned warehouses and defunct train depots. All of it leads to an opportunity of a lifetime: an artist’s residency deep in the holographic halls of Q headquarters. It’s a dream come true—so long as she follows Q’s rules.

Thanks for this wonderful conversation, Hilary! All the best!

Arts Calling is produced by Jaime Alejandro ( If you like the show: leave a review, or share it with someone who’s starting their creative journey! Your support truly makes a difference! Go make a dent. Much love,


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