Lydia Conklin on Letting Their Personality Into Their Work
In Conversation with Alex Higley and Lindsay Hunter on I’m a Writer But
Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where two writers-and talk to other writers-and about 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 we’ve got going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter and Alex Higley.
In this episode, Lydia Conklin talks to us about their collection Rainbow Rainbow, writing humor and joy, Lorrie Moore, deciding to publish their collection before their novel, working with Catapult, and more!
From the episode:
“That was a big breakthrough early in my career, before any of these stories were written. My stories were very, very serious. I realized I wasn’t allowing my personality to come through into the stories, I think because I thought writing was serious. Then I was like, what do I have but my personality that makes me unique? So I wanted to infuse that and build a style around the way I talk and the way I relate to the world. I worked on my style through humor.”
Lydia Conklin has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a Creative Writing Fellowship from Emory University, work-study and tuition scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Djerassi, the James Merrill House, and elsewhere. Their fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, American Short Fiction, The Paris Review, One Story, and VQR. They have drawn cartoons for The New Yorker and Narrative Magazine, and graphic fiction for The Believer, Lenny Letter, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. They’ve served as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan and are currently an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Vanderbilt University. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, was longlisted for the PEN/Robert W Bingham Award and The Story Prize.