Finalist in the 2018 Nick Adams Short Story Contest
Read the story: American Daughter
“A vivid, funny, and loving portrait of a family of strong-willed individuals, and one that doesn’t turn away from the darkness of the past.”
– Final judge Will Boast
More about Bethany Catlin:
- Junior at Macalester College
- Majors: Creative Writing; International Studies
- Minor: Music
- Hometown: Franklin, IN
Q. Are there people (teachers, friends, authors) who have particularly influenced your writing?
If I model my prose on anyone it is the pride and joy of my home state, Kurt Vonnegut. Although I’m not nearly disillusioned and deterministic enough to reach his degree of irony, I do love his straightforward prose, devastating humor, and sneaky hopefulness. However, when I think about the things I write about I am even more strongly influenced by Don Quixote, and I doubt there will ever not be various knights errant in my writing.
Q. What drew you to write about the subject and characters in “American Daughter”?
Fiction seems to be mostly writing what you know, but with changed names, careful curation, and some artistic flourishes. My family made this piece easy for me because every word of it is true. If it weren’t their unwieldy loveableness, I wouldn’t have any stories to tell.
Q. In addition to fiction, are there other types of writing you are particularly interested in?
I love fiction but actually tend to gravitate towards writing poetry. I think that most good prose is informed by even better poetry, because it forces you think about your words and the choices you are making with language with so much more specificity and weight. My favorite poets are always scooting over to make room for others, but a few cornerstones are John Berryman, e. e. cummings, T. S. Eliot, and the Counting Crows.