Cover Photo: This graphic is a close-up of the ‘Best Debut Short Stories 2021’ book cover, and includes the words "A conversation with Robert J. Dau Prize Winner Stanley Patrick Stocker" along with the author's headshot
Photograph courtesy of Stanley Patrick Stocker

A Conversation With ‘Best Debut Short Stories 2021’ Author Stanley Patrick Stocker

“Good things happen when you keep at it.”

Best Debut Short Stories 2021: The PEN America Dau Prize are open now

Kestrel Middle House Review

Kestrel.

The death of the narrator’s daughter is central to the story, and yet we are given very little information about her death and the circumstances surrounding it. Was this always how the story was constructed? How did you decide what to reveal and what to withhold?

Where did you find the idea for this story?

Oh that would make an interesting short storyMoby Dick

​​How long did it take you to write this story?

During the time that the narrator and his wife were struggling to conceive, we learn that the narrator compiled a list of songs, poems, and films that made him feel better. What is it about art that comforts the narrator during this time, and in what way has it been a balm for you?

Gettysburg Address

How has the Robert J. Dau Prize affected you?

What are you working on now?

What’s the best or worst writing advice you’ve ever received and why?

Finally, where do you discover new writing?

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