Courtney Zoffness on Accidentally Writing an Essay Collection
In Conversation with Lindsay Hunter on I'm a Writer But
Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where writers discuss their work, their lives, their other work, the stuff that takes up any free time they have, all the stuff they’re not able to get to, and the ways in which any of us get anything done. Plus: book recommendations, bad jokes, okay jokes, despair, joy, and anything else going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter.
Today, Courtney Zoffness discusses Spilt Milk (memoirs), why pregnancy and early parenthood is a fertile time for creatives (haha see what I did there), moving between fiction and nonfiction, “going long,” working with McSweeney’s, and more!
From the episode:
“I self-identify as a fiction writer. I started writing these essays during pregnancy and early motherhood, because I was teasing out knots and things I was observing or experiences I was having, and I thought of them as one-offs. But they were hitting the finish line much more quickly, in part because I think I was eager to gain clarity for myself in certain situations. I have two graduate degrees in fiction. I love consuming creative nonfiction—so many of my favorite writers make it—so it’s not entirely surprising that I produced something in the vein of the kind of books I’m drawn to reading, but it came as a curveball.”
Courtney Zoffness won the Sunday Times Short Story Award, an Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Center for Fiction, residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, and the Susan Atefat Prize in Creative Nonfiction from Arts & Letters. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review Daily, The Southern Review, Longreads, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere, and she had Notable Best American Essays in 2018 and 2019. She teaches at Drew University and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.