“Kevin Clouther’s remarkable collection illustrates, page by page, the unique joys of reading short fiction. By turns subversive and poignant, darkly humorous and deeply moving, these ten stories show us the author’s expansive range and the heart that drives his imagination. Clouther’s beautifully rendered characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book—you’ll see them on the street, in the office, in your mirror.” — Bret Anthony Johnston
What is the title of your book? Why?
I started We Were Flying to Chicago on a flight diverted, in air, from Detroit to Chicago. I quickly abandoned autobiography, and the title story is narrated from the collective perspective of female passengers.
Are there any elements in this book that are drawn from your own life?
The near-accident I describe in “On the Highway near Fairfield, Connecticut” is a lot like something that happened to my cousin and me on a highway near Fairfield, Connecticut. There are all of these real-life triggers that send me inward, and once I start writing, I have only a limited sense of where I’m going.
Which writers (or books) have made you think about your own writing in new ways?
In terms of wow-I-didn’t-know-you-could-do-that, the biggest are Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair, and Denis Johnson’s Jesus’s Son, all of which had me completely entranced before devastating me in the end. I stand in unending awe of Alice Munro and Flannery O’Connor.
Are there any writers featured in this giveaway with whom you have a strong friendship? How did you meet that person? How do you support each other’s work?
Julia Fierro and I met while we were both students at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and then didn’t reconnect, in earnest, until the Brooklyn Book Festival years later when we were both living in New York. Since then, she has been a great advocate for me, and every now and then, I try to remind her how talented she is.
If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you would be? Put another way, what else fills your life besides writing (and how does this influence your writing, in practical or ephemeral ways)?
I would be a left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
More About Kevin Clouther
Kevin Clouther was born in Boston and grew up on Cape Cod and in South Florida. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he completed his thesis under Marilynne Robinson and won the Richard Yates Fiction Award for best short story. His stories have appeared in The Baltimore Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Greensboro Review, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Madison Review, Natural Bridge, and Puerto Del Sol. He teaches creative writing at Stony Brook University, where he coordinates the Program in Writing Reading Series, and Johns Hopkins. He lives in Floral Park, New York, with his wife and two children. You can find him on Twitter and Goodreads.
Enter Today’s Giveaway!
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What would you call that thing beneath Kevin Clouther’s name on the book cover (see it here)?
One winner will win one signed copy of Kevin Clouther’s collection We Were Flying to Chicago. Limit one entry per IP address. No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the United States, who are the age of 18 or older. Deadline for entry is 8:00 P.M. ET on April 25th, 2014. Read the complete rules.