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The Kimbilio Interview

The Kimbilio Interview

Here’s a nice interview I did with Hope Wabuke for the Kimbilio website.  While you’re there, also check out the bios of our 2014 Fellows.  I can’t wait to meet them in person.

KCAAF: Where did you grow up?

David Haynes: I grew up outside of St. Louis, in a small community of working class black folks surrounded on all sides by working class white folks.

KCAAF: What was that like? How did it influence you?

David Haynes: Our little “pocket” community was stable and wonderfully nurturing. Same families in the same houses for half a century or more. It’s also true that that kind of insularity can also be stifling at times. This community will be the subject of the novella and stories I’m working on now.

KCAAF: Please tell us some of the books/writers you love.

David Haynes: I read widely and learn from everything I read. This past year, like much of the rest of the literary world, I’ve been celebrating Alice Munro. I’m a writer who thinks structurally, and Munro’s work continues to teach me to think rigorously about the importance of narrative design in storytelling.

Read the rest of the interview here:

Kimbilio 2014

Kimbilio 2014

So this is the week of updates on my other projects. I’m so excited to be hosting in July the second summer retreat for Kimbilio. Find more about the project and about the application process on this webpage.

And here, from the Book Country blog, is an enchanting blogpost about the Kimbilio experience by the equally enchanting young woman, pictured above:

The Importance of Meaningful Writing Communities by Khaliah Williams

Sometime in the autumn of 2006, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. I took several writing workshops at The New School in New York City, where I worked. I often found myself scribbling down ideas that would be the foundation of my novel (still in progress) in notebooks during my hour long commute between the village and The Bronx. Getting in the way of my writing ambitions was the problem of my full time job. My writing life, I wrote in my graduate school applications, exists in stolen moments at the office and crowded subway cars. I wanted more.

Click on this sentence to read the rest of the post.  

Have You Seen Me?

Have You Seen Me?

This milk carton ad is brought to you by SMU Litfest, whose website is up and running.

Our three Undergraduate Research Assistants–Will, Mariana and Kalen–are busy postering, Facebooking, Tweeting, and otherwise getting the word out.  If you’re anywhere near Dallas during the third week of March, do yourself a favor and stop by SMU, where all of these writers (and others!) will be found. Stop by and meet Nan Cuba, Erica Dawson, Tarfia Faizullah, Jennifer Key, Jamaal May, Kyle McCord, Tim Parrish and Rob Yardumian.

The Dallas Morning News Weighs In

The Dallas Morning News Weighs In

Book review: ‘A Star in the Face of the Sky,’ by David Haynes

“A Star in the Face of the Sky,” by David Haynes

Published: 17 January 2014 06:39 PM

Updated: 17 January 2014 06:39 PM

It’s a macabre headline: Keisha Davis murders her preacher husband and three of her children to save them from the devil. “They’re like angels, Mama,” she reports in a phone call to her mother. “Wrapped in white, that He may receive them.”

Keisha’s oldest son, Daniel, was in his grandmother’s care when she killed the rest of the family, and the grandmother’s efforts to give him a full, normal life are the foundation for this beautifully scripted novel.

David Haynes’ story is a study in resilience and strength; it’s about coming to terms with the past. But mostly, it’s about love — between friends, family, lovers, even between those who love and the ones who fail to reciprocate that love. It’s about how this force pulls us through dark times and buoys us in good.

Haynes, author of six other novels and several children’s books, is Southern Methodist University’s creative writing director. His prose is rich, multilayered and often lyrical with lines worthy of re-reading. But his greatest strength is the depth he gives his characters. Man, woman, black, Jewish — all are nuanced and believable.


Hey, I Know Her

Hey, I Know Her

About a half-dozen years ago a shy young woman who called herself Elizabeth Tshele walked into my undergraduate fiction writing workshop at SMU. I had the sense that she was taking it on a lark, kind of a filler class to round out her schedule. The stories she brought in for us to discuss were brilliant and disturbing and rendered many of the workshop members mute with admiration.

I’ve Got Rhythm?

I’ve Got Rhythm?

Well, maybe, but it’s not doing me a damn bit of good in terms of finding the flow of the school year.  Just under two weeks into the semester and I’m having a hard time remembering exactly how this going to campus and teaching thing works. You know you’re in the flow when without thinking about it you find yourself in the right classroom at the right hour with the right set of materials in hand.


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