Why short stories?

1.) I am plot-impaired (Nilo Cruz, playwright, endeared himself to me recently when he claimed “Plot! It’s so vulgar.”)

2.) I have a tiny little attention span.

3.) I multi-task.

4.) Stories are about individuals, and novels are about communities.  I can’t even fill in a blank USA map, let alone a world one.  But I can tell you all about my kitchen.

5.) The short story is a literary art form still very much under construction.  It feels as if I’m participating in something vaguely innovative.


Favorite writers?

Eudora Welty.  Carson McCullers.  E.M. Forster.  William Trevor.  Richard Stark (didn’t see that coming, did you?).


In the off hours?

Cooking.  Detective novels.  Hiking with dogs.  Driving long distances in the car. Listening to stand-up comedy. Sitting in nice bars with friends telling stories.


Next project?

Back to stories after the forthcoming novel.  The novel is based on the true story of the serial killer who terrorized my hometown at the exact same time that I was terrorizing my parents: the years 1974-1979.  Adolescence (mine) and binding, torturing, and killing (BTK).  The novel picks up during the months when the serial killer resurfaced (and was caught), and during my middle age (ongoing).

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ANTONYA NELSON is the author of four novels, including Bound (forthcoming in 2010; Bloomsbury) and six short story collections, including Nothing Right (Bloomsbury, 2009). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, Redbook and many other magazines, as well as in anthologies such as Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. She is the recipient of a USA Artists Award in 2009, the 2003 Rea Award for Short Fiction, as well as NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships, and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program, as well as in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. She lives in Telluride, Colorado, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Houston, Texas.

3 responses to “Antonya Nelson: The TNB 

  1. […] ANTONYA NELSON on Antonya Nelson […]

  2. […] Review; in the Atlantic (2002); as part of the Mothers Write series at Writers Write (2004); and at the Nervous Breakdown, where the author recently interviewed herself (2010). Also: Definitely worth reading (if you can […]

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