“Which path are you going to take,” asked the wolf,
“the path of needles or the path of pins?”
No. 9: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
What do you look for in a contest entry?
Beautiful sentences. Inventiveness. Insight. Heart.
How would you describe your writing style?
This one is hard! I’ll try to answer by describing what I’m going after–though I don’t regularly achieve it–which is clarity and lightness. And I’m always hoping to luck into a mot juste–a word that feels unexpected yet perfectly exact.
Who are your current influences?
Penelope Fitzgerald and Kathryn Davis remain big influences–also Stuart Dybek, whose two new books I am awaiting with so much excitement–and among the books I’ve been reading and thinking about recently are Robert Walser’s Microscripts, Renee Gladman’s Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge, Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation. I’m reading Mavis Gallant for the first time and adoring her! Her Paris Stories, reissued by NYRB.
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the judge for Fairy Tale Review’s 2014 Prose Contest, which closes on July 15th.
Read an excerpt from Madeleine Is Sleeping on NPR.