A Conversation with PEN America Best Debut Short Story Author Samuel Clare Knights
“I wanted to write about the experience of my first language, about learning how to ask through hands before words.”
On August 22, Catapult will publish , the inaugural edition of an anthology celebrating outstanding new fiction writers published by literary magazines around the world. In the weeks leading up to publication, we’ll feature a Q&A with the contributors, whose stories were selected for the anthology by judges Marie-Helene Bertino, Kelly Link, and Nina McConigley, and awarded PEN's Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Submissions for the 2018 awards are open now.
The Manual Alphabet
“new” can also be discovery of the forgotten. I will never lose how important Roethke was for me when I found him. And on some days he still feels new to me. As for my own process, I discover new writing below writing. I write by hand on blank sheets of paper and just turn it on like a faucet. I force myself to not lift the pencil until the page is full. After that I read it over and privilege words, phrases, or sentences and write them atop blank pieces of paper to let new writing descend.
More by this author
“When you’re a kid you’re not sure if you don’t know something because you haven’t been taught it or because you’re not supposed to know.”
“I think, in pursuit of truth, science and religion still have to wrestle with the strictures of human knowledge, error, pride.”
“The narration style feels very conversational to me. I liked how second-person really tries to make the reader part of the story as well.”