A Conversation With PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2019 Author Sarah Curry
“I slowly connected the dots that nearly all my friends—no matter what continent we had been on—had experienced some level of sexual violence.”
Nimrod International Journal
Nimrod International Journal.
You didn’t know me then.
We were all girls, about the same size, no more than 5’3” and under 115 pounds, but that fall back on campus from study abroad we walked like we were men, nearly 6’1” and 200 pounds with a bum knee. Arms flexed and at our sides. We wanted to look like a stuffed gorilla won at a carnival by slinging little wooden balls as hard as you can at glass milk bottles. We walked as though we had sledgehammers affixed to our shoulders, and our names were Ricky.
You know, Ricky the mechanic. Ricky the prizefighter (or was that Rocky?). Ricky the uncle who belches the alphabet.
It was a joke. Sort of.
We met at a “survivors” group potluck where a bunch of female college students took dainty nervous bites of cupcakes and later cried as they told their stories. Except us. One after the other we left as a circle massage started to form, pretending we had to pee or had an emergency text. We met outside and called bullshit on “survival.” We didn’t even exchange names. We headed to the closest apartment and drank ourselves silly. Or should I say serious?
More by this author
A Roundtable With the PEN America Best Debut Short Stories Judges: Sabrina Orah Mark, Emily Nemens, and Deesha Philyaw
Many of the stories felt written on the edge of an edge of an edge of a world.
Learn about Mathapelo Mofokeng’s short story “The Strong-Strong Winds,” which was selected for ‘Best Debut Short Stories 2021.’
“The most innocent thing you can do is want to create”: Robert J. Dau Prize Winner Isaac Hughes Green
Learn about Isaac Hughes Green’s short story “The First Time I Said It,” which was selected for ‘Best Debut Short Stories 2021.’
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“My focus was on the character and emotions of the immigrant: the loneliness, the sense of loss and disconnection.”
A Roundtable With the PEN America Best Debut Short Stories Judges: Tracy O’Neill, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Deb Olin Unferth
So many of the stories I liked best played with understatement and a sort of quiet, confident pacing.