April Ayers Lawson
April Ayers Lawson is the author of Virgin and Other Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; and Granta Books), which in addition to being named a best book of the year by Vice, BOMB, Southern Living, and Refinery29 is also being translated for publication in Italy, Germany, Norway, and Spain. She has received the George Plimpton Award for Fiction, as well as a writing fellowship from The Corporation of Yaddo. Her fiction has appeared in Paris Review, Granta, and Oxford American, among others, has been cited as notable in Best American Short Stories, and was anthologized in The Unprofessionals: New American Writing from The Paris Review. She has lectured in the creative writing department at Emory University, and is the 2016-17 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. [Guest Faculty and Mentor, 2017-18.]
Mentor. Workshops and classes in fiction.
Statement: “The most important thing your writing can be is interesting. And by that I mean interesting to you, because when you’re deeply engaged in the process, the work sparks alive. This level of engagement involves writing into places you didn’t expect and opening to the risk of surprise. In art as in life, we often enough try to dodge what would make us grow because it’s uncomfortable, and so when I read drafts I am in addition to all the usual craft-related things feeling for a pulse. Is it alive? Where do I feel tension and where does it go slack? What is being avoided? And is there a sense of discovery and transformation here or are you just going through the motions? Even the most playful fictional story should not feel like something made up but like something someone is trying to tell you that they need to tell you in order to keep living their life; when you walk away from it you should have the sense of something having actually happened, because it has.”