Michael Hinken has taught English in the Russian Far East, covered municipal news in central Illinois, and now teaches composition and creative writing at the University of Michigan, where he received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2004. He was a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown during 2007-08. His short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in River City, the Tampa Review,West Branch and Third Coast, and his essays have appeared in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Elysian Fields Quarterly and the Peoria Journal Star. He is working on a short story collection and, lately, finds himself returning to the following stories over and over to see how it’s done: “The Kiss” by Anton Chekhov, “Smorgasboard” by Tobias Wolff and “Glut Your Soul on My Accursed Ugliness” by Jim Shepard.
“We are always in a particular place at a particular time. As much as we might want to treat our first observations as essential, they remain unreal until they are embodied.” Michael Hinken talks with Salvatore Scibona about his new novel, The Volunteer.
Any story I consider a favorite stirs up in me feelings of envy and wonder. “A Father’s Story,” by Andre Dubus, has this effect. On the first count, it’s the I-sure-wish-I’d-written-that moment. If you write and if you read, you know this feeling. Think early motivations. Maybe that feeling—we could dress it up and call it admiration, but that seems too mild—led you to write in the first place. Envy being the mother of imitation, maybe, hypothetically, it led you to write a story about a vampire gerbil that sucked fruit white. Gerbacula. Maybe you are very, very sorry about […]
The Half-Known World, Robert Boswell’s collection of essays on the craft of fiction writing, is also driving-idea behind his conversation with Michael Hinken. In it Boswell discusses the power of writing better sentences, characterization as jazz, the narrative brain versus the linear brain, the value of writing fifty drafts and other mysteries and wonders of the half-known world.
Author of the recently published short story collection Elephants in Our Bedroom, Michael Czyzniejewski grew up in the Chicago suburb of Calumet City, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1995 with a degree in rhetoric, and two years later, he received an MFA in fiction from Bowling Green State University.
Michael Hinken asks Young Lions Fiction Award winner Salvatore Scibona about the story behind his first novel, The End. Scibona emphasizes the value of writing from habit (rather than discipline), discusses his own process, and shares why he recently built a worm farm.
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