the VICE magazine podcast

Alena Graedon on Writing About Breakups and Self-Defense

On this episode of 'The VICE Magazine Podcast,' the fiction writer describes the inspiration for her story "The Padded Attacker."
Ellis Jones
London, GB
December 13, 2017, 3:48pm
Photo by Ben McNutt

The VICE Magazine Podcast is your definitive guide to enlightening information. Our 11th annual Fiction Issue, which went live last week, is a celebration of the art of fiction. Inside, we showcase the exclusive works of 16 authors—including Tim Parks, Ottessa Moshfegh, Joyce Carol Oates, Alexia Arthurs, David Shields, and many more—alongside beautiful original photography made especially for each story.


For the issue, Alena Graedon, author of the 2014 dystopian thriller The Word Exchange, gave us a new short story called “The Padded Attacker.” In the story, the man who plays the part of the “attacker” at a self-defense class is surprised when a woman who recently broke up with him shows up for the weekend workshop. Graedon recently stopped by the office to talk about the inspiration behind the story, what her writing and feedback process is like, and more.

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Come back December 20 to hear writer Sadie Stein talk about her essay on losing her temper from the issue. And did you know you can get 100-plus glossy pages delivered to your doorstep by clicking here to subscribe to the print issue of VICE magazine?