Kathy Flann’s fiction has appeared in Shenandoah, The North American Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, New Stories from the South, and other publications. A short story collection, Smoky Ordinary, won the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award and was published by Snake Nation Press. A novella entitled Mad Dog won the AE Coppard Award at White Eagle Coffee Store Press. A second short story collection, Get a Grip, has won the George Garrett Award and will be published by Texas Review Press. Flann has an MFA from UNC-Greensboro, and she served as fiction editor of The Greensboro Review. For five years, she taught creative writing at the University of Cumbria in England, where she created mini-courses for the BBC’s Get Writing website and served on the board of the National Association of Writers in Education. Her column, “Letter from America,” appears in the NAWE magazine, Writing in Education. She has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, at the Moulin a Nef in France, and at the Sozopol Fiction Seminars in Bulgaria. Currently, she teaches at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.
Kathy Flann in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?I don't remember a time when I didn't write.
What do you love about Short Stories?Rich complexity that somehow feels at home in that small space
Do you write in other forms?I write personal essays and memoir.
What distracts you from writing?food
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Dogs, running, eating (the latter two are related)
What is your favourite book?Wolf Whistle
Who are your favourite writers?Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lewis Nordan and Lorrie Moore
Where is your dream location?France....Or maybe inside a pair of sweatpants. It's hard to decide.
What one item would you put into Room 101?The dramatic music they play in reality shows to try to make something important -- like (queue music) "Will she eat the potato???"
Do you have any advice for new writers?My advice is to read a lot, to work hard, and to be patient with yourself.
Work by Kathy Flann:
A Happy, Safe Thing
My older sister, Minnie, and her new husband, Sax Smithers, whom she met six months ago, are going to show up half an hour late for their wedding reception. They get held up on the way to the American Legion because all six guys from the pharmacy, where Sax sorts boxes of pills, want a ride, right then, in front of Shepherd of the Hills Methodist Church, in Grandma Tillie’s brand new 1983 Cadillac convertible. Then, Minnie, excited not just about the wedding, but also about her graduation from Smoky Ordinary High School yesterday, smuggles me into the passenger seat, ignoring what Mom and my stepdad Frank and Grandma Tillie have said over and over about my heart.
Little Big Show
The footpath gallops ahead like a dumb dog, disappears around bends in the forest. This has been Alexander’s first real hike, a hard scrabble -- scuttling along in a crouch at times as if he might find grips on the flat rocks. His assistant at work would have loved some photos. Now that he’s made it – almost made it – this easy wide dirt path where he and his sister Marietta started hours ago, where families had pushed all-terrain strollers, seems embarrassing somehow. A bird chirps sweet, trilling notes. The watery quality of the sunlight suggests cocktail hour. Through gaps in the trees, the gravel lot materializes, but there’s no blotch of red. Marietta’s car should be visible. Shouldn’t it?
Somebody for Everybody
How he had knocked, Francine could not guess. But here he was. Or at least here was his head. Floating in the hallway outside her apartment, as if it had wafted over on the aroma of Mrs. Singh’s stir fry. Here was the sun-kissed face from his Match.com profile. The broad forehead and faintly hooked nose. Somehow, though, it had seemed like the head would be attached to an equally rugged, sun-kissed body. Had it been presumptuous to assume, at the very least, a torso?
Karaoke Night at the El Corazon Disco Lounge
For ten years, Karaoke Night at the El Corazon Disco Lounge had been Veronica’s special time with Joe. He came along for moral support, sitting in the front row, sipping Jack Daniels, beaming up at her, nodding his head to the music, snapping his fingers like he was in a jazz café instead of a square cinderblock honky tonk that attracted the down-and-out and the dangerous.
An Airtight Box
During intermission of the “Tosca” benefit performance, ex-President Clinton, without Hillary, stepped outside the door of his Kennedy Center box, wondering what it would be like if someone shot him, maybe in his good lung, or maybe, if the attacker had lousy aim, even in the groin.
My father, appliance repairman Ed Hart, had been dating a reporter from the local news for over three months, ever since he and my mother separated. They met when Channel Four’s "Eye on You" News interviewed me at the Northern Virginia Sixth Grade Science Fair about my winning project, The Worm Farm--a kitchen composter made from a recycling bin filled with dirt, biodegradable household trash, and a hundred worms.
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