FWR contributor Jeremiah Chamberlin has an interview in Granta with my dear friend and former MI classmate Uwem Akpan. Uwem, who is also a Jesuit priest and a teacher, saw his first story collection, the remarkable Say You’re One of Them, published by Little, Brown in May. In this conversation with Jeremy, he discusses why fiction is his genre of choice, what challenges he faced (and faces) in creating stories true to the children and regions they depict, what fascinates and “puzzles” him as a writer, and how writing can be a calling:
My goal is to get the reader to sit with the characters for a while — to see, to feel, to hear, to smell and to touch his world. I love what Jesus says to would-be apostles: ‘come and see.’ After you have seen, then you can decide on what to do. So I want my stories first to work as stories. If you are moved to act, then act. I write about things that puzzle me. If the reader buys into my puzzlement then let him act accordingly.