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Yannick Murphy

Website: YannickMurphy.com

Yannick Murphy is the author of the novels, Signed, Mata Hari, Here they Come and The Sea of Trees. Her first short story collection,Stories in Another Language, was published in 1987. Her children's books include AHWOOOOOOOO! and Baby Polar (which is forthcoming in 2008/2009). She is the recipient of various awards including a Whiting Writer's Award, a National Endowment for the Arts award, a Chesterfield Screenwriting award and her story In a Bear's Eye was recently published in the 2007 O'Henry Prize Stories.

Short story collections

In A Bear's Eye (Dzanc Books, Feb 2008) 

Reviewed by Tania Hershman

Stories in Another Language (Knopf, 1987) 

Interview with Yannick Murphy

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Yannick Murphy: Half the stories were written years ago, half are recent.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

YM: No. I never see my stories as connected.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

YM: I once heard that your best story should be your third story in the collection and that all collections should start with a short piece, so that's what I did. The rest of the stories were just shuffled around a bit until they found a good fit.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

YM:  Questions that are pointed at, but never answered, and by the end of it you feel as if you understand the questions better and that the answers didn't matter much. 

TSR: Do you have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?

YM: No, I don't. The workings of the story, the cadence of the words, and the weaving of the images take up my attention so that I don't have anything else in mind when writing except the story and keeping alert for every opportunity to refer back to something that already took place in the story so that it can stay alive in the story and lift the story up.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your
collection, anything at all?

YM: No. But I hope they liked it.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

YM: A lot better than knowing people aren't buying them.

TSR: What are you working on now?

YM: Trying to write a better sentence than the last one and also re-writing a scene in a novel so that it doesn't sound like just news, but gives the reader an image that is more powerful than the facts.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

YM: Hmm, I recently read some oldies over again: At The Bottom of the River by Jamaica Kincaid, The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake, and then a more recent one, Jim Shepard's Like You'd Understand, Anyway