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"Be patient. Keep working. Be persistent.": An Interview with Esmé Weijun Wang

by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

Our annual summer nonfiction contest is currently open to all types of creative nonfiction essays up to 5,000 words. The entry fee is $20 and includes a copy of the Spring 2018 issue of Prairie Schooner, in which the winning essay will appear. Our guest judge, Esme Weijun Wang, will name a winner and finalist. The winner will receive $250 and publication in our Spring 2018 issue. Below is an interview with Wang that touches on the art of writing, both fiction and nonfiction, living with chronic illness, and more.

SFM: The Border of Paradise is your debut novel, and your second book is the forthcoming essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. How did you arrive at each of these projects? Do your writing processes and practices differ depending on genre?

A Portrait of the Essayist as a Middle-aged Man: An Interview with Patrick Madden

by Ryan McIlvain

When Patrick Madden speaks of his chosen genre, he often calls it “the essay,” according it the respect of the definite article and the weight of tradition. It’s a long, wide, deep, endlessly variable tradition, though lately it’s been flattened out, rather commandeered (I don’t think I exaggerate Pat’s view) by writers with little real analysis to offer, and less insight. Here was the bender to end all benders . . . How I survived my baroquely awful Wall Street job . . . A year of eating only peaches . . . A year of following all speed limits, on all surfaces, in all weathers. (I hope that last memoir/adventure essay really exists somewhere. The others I’ve skipped or abandoned halfway through.)

Three Questions for Bryan Allen Fierro Regarding His Debut Short-Story Collection, Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul

by Daniel A. Olivas

Bryan Allen Fierro earned an MFA from Pacific University in Oregon.  He grew up in Los Angeles but now splits his time between L.A. and Anchorage, Alaska, where he now works as a firefighter and paramedic.  Fierro is the recipient of the Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award in Fiction, as well as the Rasmuson Individual Artist Award for literary and script works.

Fierro’s debut short-story collection is Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul published by the University of Arizona Press in the press’s Camino del Sol series.  In truth, these stories will fill your soul: Fierro’s characters and their very human frailties ring true, and he presents them with just the right doses of humor and affection.  Fierro kindly agreed to answer a few questions for Prairie Schooner about his first book.

Briefly Noted: Swimming in Hong Kong by Stephanie Han

by Jennifer S. Deayton
Jennifer S. Deayton on "Swimming in Hong Kong" by Stephanie Han. The collection is, according to Deayton, "More observational than plot-heavy, Han’s stories revolve around characters who find themselves at breaking points both large and small." Click here to read the full review!

6 Questions for Dustin M. Hoffman

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is in its final week. Meet our fiction prize winner, Dustin M. Hoffman, from the 2015 Book Prize series. Dustin's gorgeous book of fiction, One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist, is available now. 

Can you take us through the construction of one of your stories? Where did the idea to write it come from? How do you write a story--what does it look like, how long does it take?

Five Questions for Yona Harvey

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is in its final weeks. To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid talks to Prairie Schooner contributors about the writing life. This week: Yona Harvey, whose essay "On Literacy" appears in our gorgeous Winter issue.
First, can you talk about the beautiful cover of your prize-winning book, Hemming the Water?
Thanks for mentioning the cover.  The talented and generous Maya Freelon Asante kindly permitted the reproduction of her piece, "Us, Me, We" on the cover of my book.  She works with large pieces of tissue paper.   The title of the piece and the work itself really spoke to me and felt very in sync with Hemming the Water.

Briefly Noted: Latino/a Literature in the Classroom edited by Frederick Luis Aldama

by Daniel A. Olivas
Daniel A. Olivas on "Latino/a Literature in the Classroom: Twenty-first-century approaches to teaching": "the first volume of its type" .. "scholarly yet practical" .. "there's little doubt this volume will become a mainstay" .. click here to read!

"I look, and love even harder": an interview with Michael Schmeltzer

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is now open through March 15th. Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson will interview poets and fiction writers throughout the prize period, in celebration of the art of the book. This week, Michael Schmeltzer discusses storytelling as the art of memory, his preoccupation with shadow and absence, and what writers owe their communities. 

First, I just want to say that having read Blood Song, I feel like I understand what you were saying in your review about us coming from the same poetic and even familial planet. I think we're both engaged in an untangling of family mythos, and a rewriting of family myth. This didn't start as a question, but now I guess I'm wondering—how do you think about storytelling in your work, or as a poetic tool in general?

'What is the self and how can I trust it?': an interview with Carmiel Banasky

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is now open through March 15th. Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson will interview poets and fiction writers throughout the prize period, in celebration of the art of the book. This week, Carmiel Banasky talks mental illness, representation, and the question of accessibility in experimental and popular fiction. 

How many books have you published, and where?

The Suicide of Claire Bishop is my debut novel, published by Dzanc Books in September 2015. It has been quite a ride!

Describe the process of constructing your first manuscript. Did you plot organically? Did you outline? How did the story come together? 

Briefly Noted: Coming Home from Camp and Other Poems by Lonny Kaneko

by Muriel Nelson
Muriel Nelson reviews Lonny Kaneko's "Coming Home from Camp and Other Poems," which is a deep meditation on concentration camps run in the United States during World War II.


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