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Combine the human desire to know (Aristotle) with the joy found in good conversation (Montaigne) and a wish to share the results, and you have a good idea of why I host and produce The Biblio File.

Feedback or suggestions? Please email me at notabenebeale@gmail.com 

Nov 15, 2008

Nam Le has won this year’s £60,000 Dylan Thomas Prize. It recognizes the best young writer in the English-speaking world with the goal of ensuring that the inspirational nature of Dylan’s writing lives on. I met with him in Toronto recently at the IFOA. This is part two of a series of interviews conducted with three acclaimed short storywriters: Rebecca Rosenblum, Nam Le, and Anne Enright. In each case we riff off those qualities which Flannery O’Connor thought best constituted a good short story.

Nam is author of The Boat, a collection of ’stories that take us from the slums of Colombia to the streets of Tehran; from New York City to Iowa City; from a fishing village in Australia to a floundering vessel in the South China Sea, in a masterful display of literary virtuosity and feeling.’

We talk, among other things, about never condescending to the reader, the prose having to be smarter than its author: tapping into things seen, but a just beyond their ken; gaps and allowing the reader to put their experiences into them; getting into the consciousness of characters; relinquishing ego; the difficulty of writing short stories — and the greatness of those who can do it well; spring-boarding detail and gearing it for expansion; and affecting paradoxical senses of recognition, wonder and redemption.