Lit Fest 2022 Preview: Q&A with Steve Almond

Lit Fest 2022 Preview: Q&A with Steve Almond

Editor's Note: In advance of the March 12 deadline to apply for Lit Fest Advanced Workshops, we've asked the 2022 Visiting Authors for a preview of their workshop style, what they're reading, and more.

What’s the most surprising source of inspiration for you lately? My students!!! This sounds corny but it is TRUE. I’m lucky enough to teach college seniors (at Wesleyan), professionals in the middle of their careers (at the Nieman) and senior citizens in a retirement community. In every setting, I have the honor of seeing writers working to tell the truth about their own lives in a variety of forms (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and prose) and it is INSPIRING. Just to see people slugging away and forming workshop communities where it feels safe and nourishing to do this work. To hold space for that kind of radical candor helps me realize the point of writing, which isn’t to get published or to get famous but to get all that we hold inside into the world. 

What are you working on these days? Mostly, I'm working on being a parent and partner and dealing with the upheavals of our COVID world. But I’m also, when I can muster the patience, working on a novella about two women who start a college for young women of promise in the coal country of Kentucky in the early 20th century. The story is about second chances and forbidden love and the ugly march of capitalism. We’ll see how it goes.

What’s the best writing class you’ve ever taken? I recently saw a lecture by Tony Doerr, one of my favorite novelists, that knocked my socks off. Like his books, it was about a lot of things at once, and yet made me experience the complexity of the world as a series of miracles. 

Any unusual/interesting writing habits? Aside from writing in women’s undergarments, you mean?

Steve Almond is teaching Weeklong Advanced Short Prose Workshop: The BS Detector. Learn more here. Apply via Submittable.