Posts Categorized: Interview

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Interview with Michael Martone, 2016 Blue Light Books Prize Judge

 

We are proud to have long-time IR contributor Michael Martone judge the inaugural 2016 IR/IU Press Blue Light Books Prize. While readying your short story collections, read his generous interview where he discusses his favorite short story collections, Saturn’s rings, a story’s pulse, and what he might be looking for in the winning short-story collection.

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Photo by Janine Crawley

Michael Martone’s most recent books are Winesburg, Indiana, Four for a Quarter, Not Normal, Illinois: Peculiar Fiction from the Flyover, Racing in Place: Collages, Fragments, Postcards, Ruins, a collection of essays, and Double-wide, his collected early stories.

Martone’s stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, Story, North American Review, Epoch, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, Third Coast, Shenandoah, Bomb, and have appeared and been cited in the Pushcart Prize as well as The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Essays anthologies. He has won two Fellowships from the NEA and a grant from the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

Martone is currently a Professor at the University of Alabama where he has been teaching since 1996. He has been a faculty member of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College since 1988. He has taught at Iowa State University, Harvard University, and Syracuse University.

 

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Interview with 2014 Fiction Prize Winner E. E. Lyons

 

While getting ready to submit your short fiction to our 2015 Fiction Prize, read our interview with 2014 winner, E. E. Lyons, selected by Roxane Gay. Here, she discusses her winning story “The Passeur,” the short story writers who inspire her, and advice for 2015 Fiction Prize entrants–and a fact about her story that might surprise you.

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E. E. Lyons is a fiction writer currently based in Washington, DC. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and was a 2015 William Randolph Hearst Foundation Creative Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society. Her work has appeared in Indiana Review, Madcap Review, The Fiddleback, and Columbia Poetry Review.

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Interview with 2015 Fiction Prize Judge Laura van den Berg

Our 2015 Fiction Prize Judge is Laura van den Berg, whose story “Where We Must Be” first appeared in Indiana Review 29.1 and was republished online at Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading. In this interview, she answers questions about her short story collection, The Isle of Youth, allergies to boredom, and what she might be looking for in the prize-winning entry.

LauraAuthorPhotoLaura van den Berg is the author of the novel Find Me and the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth. She is the recent recipient of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize, and an O. Henry Award. She currently lives in Brooklyn, where she is at work on a new collection of stories and a novel.

 

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Interview with 2014 1/2 K Prize Winner Amy Woolard

While readying your submission Amy Woolard Headshotto our 2015 1/2 K Prize, read our interview with 2014 winner Amy Woolard. Here she discusses her good friend David Lynch, the absence of poetry in the law, and her experience with returning to writing after a ten-year dry spell.

Amy Woolard is a public policy attorney working on foster care, juvenile justice, poverty, and homelessness issues in Virginia. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her poems have appeared/are forthcoming in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, Court Green, Fence, The Journal, and Best New Poets 2013, among others, while her essays have run on Slate, Pacific Standard, The Rumpus, Indiewire, and elsewhere. She lives in Charlottesville, Va. You can also find her on Twitter @awoo_, and on her website, www.shift7.me.

What was your inspiration for the character of the girl in “The Girl Next Door to the Girl Next Door”?

I’m going to pass the mic to my good friend David Lynch on this one & hope it doesn’t come off as pompous of me:

“It limits it,” Lynch said, when asked why he’s reluctant to talk about his work in detail. “It stops people from intuiting and thinking on their own. Nothing should be added. Nothing should be subtracted. A film, a book, a painting—it’s done, and this is it. There’s a comfort when your ideas are realized. You’ve worked so that all the elements are working together and it feels complete and correct. Then you say it’s done. Then it goes out into the world but it doesn’t need any more explanation. It is what it is. In cinema, cinema is such a beautiful language—as soon as people finish a film, people want you to turn it into words. It’s kind of a sadness—for me, the words are limiting. Whereas this language is the language that you love. The language of cinema. It’s about love, is what it’s about.”

Seriously: I tend to write about two girls in various scenarios. They’re two actual girls at the same time as they are amalgamations. The poem is just a scene I’m shooting of them. It’s also about love. Read more…

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Interview with 2015 1/2K Prize Judge: Kim Chinquee

kimchinqueeOur 2015 1/2K Prize judge is the phenomenal Kim Chinquee, whose excellent story, “Darling,” will appear in The Indiana Review issue 37.2, Winter 2015. Here she discusses her thoughts on short-short work, dealbreakers, and what she might be looking for in the prize-winning entry.

Kim Chinquee is the author of the collections PRETTY, PISTOL, and OH BABY. Her website is www.kimchinquee.com.

 

1) When and how did you start writing short-short work?

I wrote my first flash fiction piece in 2000, in Mary Robison’s workshop at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. It was my second semester as a graduate student. She had asked the students to bring in something short, so I wrote a piece called “Pure Gold,” which I sent to NOON. It was accepted by Diane Williams, and retitled “The Top Shelf.” I continued writing flash fictions, along with longer work, and seem to have better luck with the flashes.

2) We hear a lot about the challenge of “compressing” in short-short work. Can you speak a bit to how you’ve found this to be the case or not, and to any other challenges you encounter in writing?

My biggest challenge is writing longer work. I’ve become so accustomed to writing short work that my internal editor is sometimes hyperactive.  Lately, I’ve been trying to write more, and then scale back, after I can see the work objectively. I find enjoyment in that.

3) “Choo and Rumble” is at once highly specific and vast in its thematic scope and treatment of time. What are some of your thoughts on the responsibility of short-short work at large, or some myths about it that you want to debunk?

I admire senses and scenery in short-short work. And jumps in time and space. More showing, less telling. Sometimes language play. Breaking limits and boundaries. In short-short work, it’s interesting to break the rules.

4) Do you have any hard and fast “dealbreakers” in writing? Any pet peeves?

Ending the piece by saying it’s a dream. Fiction is already a dream, so it takes the dream out of it when a narrator announces to the reader it’s a dream. On the other hand, I think dreams can make interesting stories, and can sometimes add depth to fiction, as long as the narrator doesn’t point out that the “dream” is a dream.

5) What might you be looking for in the prize-winning entry?

Originality. Interesting language, sensory details, themes. And lots of surprises!