Lit Fest 2022 Preview: Q&A with Tiphanie Yanique

Lit Fest 2022 Preview: Q&A with Tiphanie Yanique

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? Photography. I find that I am really interested in the meaningful, not trite or superficial, ways in which the curl of our hair, the way we stand, how we situate ourselves in our surroundings, communicate our inner character. I’m thinking a lot about how pictures can help me and my students make better characters. 

What are you working on these days? I’m working on fiction and nonfiction about joy and hope. And about how one feeds the other. 

How would you describe your workshop style? My workshops are about being benevolent but also being bold and brave in helping each other. This means often saying hard things. I tell my students that respect means believing in each other’s capacity to write better, so being tough means we believe in you. That being said, I guide discussion, veer away from the prescriptive and endeavor to help the student write the story they want to write—not the one we readers want. 

Any interesting/unusual writing habits? I always say that we are writing fiction—which means we make things up. But we are making humans—which means we must never lie. The facts may be invented, but the emotions have to come from our truth. And that is scary as shit on a plate. So being really vulnerable on the page is my major tool. 

Tiphanie Yanique is teaching Weeklong Advanced Fiction Workshop: Making People—Empathy and Expertise. Learn more here. Apply via Submittable.