Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Kiley Reid!
An Arizona native, Kiley Reid is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her short stories have been featured and are forthcoming in Ploughshares, December, New South, and Lumina. With the latter publication, her short story won first place in the 2017 Flash Prose Contest.
In Summer 2018, Kiley attended the Cuttyhunk Island Residency as the recipient of the Paul Cuffee Scholarship. Such a Fun Age is her debut novel, and the film and TV rights have already been acquired.
In this episode Kiley and I discuss:
- How the idea of awkwardness and ownership inspired Such a Fun Age
- Using the imbalance of three characters to create a charged scene
- Creating complex and multi-faceted protagonists
- An in-depth analysis of a pivotal scene
- Using external and internal wants to deepen characterization
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.
About Kiley Reid
An Arizona native, Kiley Reid is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her short stories have been featured and are forthcoming in Ploughshares, December, New South, and Lumina, where her short story was the first-place winner in the 2017 Flash Prose Contest. In Summer 2018, she attended the Cuttyhunk Island Residency as the recipient of the Paul Cuffee Scholarship. Such a Fun Age is her first novel, with film and TV rights already acquired by Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Sight Unseen Pictures. Visit her website, or connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.
A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.
If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
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