A Conversation with PEN America Best Debut Short Story Author Samuel Clare Knights
“I wanted to write about the experience of my first language, about learning how to ask through hands before words.”
On August 22, Catapult will publish , the inaugural edition of an anthology celebrating outstanding new fiction writers published by literary magazines around the world. In the weeks leading up to publication, we’ll feature a Q&A with the contributors, whose stories were selected for the anthology by judges Marie-Helene Bertino, Kelly Link, and Nina McConigley, and awarded PEN's Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Submissions for the 2018 awards are open now.
The Manual Alphabet
“new” can also be discovery of the forgotten. I will never lose how important Roethke was for me when I found him. And on some days he still feels new to me. As for my own process, I discover new writing below writing. I write by hand on blank sheets of paper and just turn it on like a faucet. I force myself to not lift the pencil until the page is full. After that I read it over and privilege words, phrases, or sentences and write them atop blank pieces of paper to let new writing descend.
More by this author
“Every interaction between adult siblings presents a chance to get more clarity about the past. Hopefully, we’re able to seize at least some of these chances.”
“I wrote much of the story listening to jazz, including the title song, for inspiration on how to shift without imposing too much of a structure.”
“I wanted to portray the pain of trying to reach someone who is inside their own, unreachable pain, and how this often puts untenable pressure on relationships.”