I worked hard preparing for this interview with Joy Castro, who is serving as the judge for our inaugural Creative Nonfiction Award at CRAFT. I'm so thrilled to see it up on our site today! I love all of her work, which includes essays, memoir, fiction, popular novels, and have pretty much read everything she's written. Putting together questions was a lot like the interview I did with Dorothy Allison ages ago for ARROYO, also an act of love (and I got to spend several hours in her sun-filled kitchen in Marin taping her answers). Even though this interview was via email, Joy came up with beautifully rich and detailed answers.
There's so much that's quotable in the interview, but here's what she says about what she looks for in creative nonfiction:
I’ll be looking for intensity, urgency, necessity: something that surprises yet feels organic—not contrived, not forced, not striving to shock or sensationalize or impress but just genuinely unique due to the lived conditions from which it arises. Something vulnerable, something risky, something that doesn’t waste time.
I dearly love to see a mind in motion, the voice of a questing, vulnerable subject with a lot at stake, and I love to see formal experimentation when that’s melded to content and purpose in a meaningful way.