Lit Fest 2022 PReview: Q&A with Laura van den Berg

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? For me, just walking around and taking in the world has always been a consistent source of inspiration. Just yesterday, at a winter festival, I saw a performer lip synch songs from Les Misérables while also crawling across the stage and eating what appeared to be a Twix. The performer was completely committed to their role, strange as it may have been, which made the performance enthralling. A good reminder that complete commitment can take us a very long way.

What are you working on these days? Two novels!

How would you describe your workshop style? I aim to be collaborative, precise, welcoming, and, above all, helpful to the writer. To honor the range of styles and perspectives of the writers in the space. I think it is really important for all writers to have the readerly toolkit to read and respond substantively to a lot of different kinds of work—to have multiple lenses and frameworks for understanding story. Workshop is, among other things, a wonderful exercise in challenging and expanding our readerly imaginations. 

Any interesting/unusual writing habits? A total resistance to any kind of organization. Just a haphazard notebook and a desktop littered with documents.

Laura van den Berg is teaching Weeklong Advanced Fiction Workshop: The Art of the Short Story. Learn more here. Apply via Submittable.


Image of Michael Henry

Can't wait to read this book!