In this episode, editor-at-large Sidik Fofana and editor Adam Ross discuss the process of finding your footing as a writer. From disillusionment with MFA culture to how self-doubt can affect one’s writing practice, Fofana and Ross uncover the inherent vulnerability found both in the writing process and in sharing your work with others. Ultimately, Fofana insists, “It takes people to be in your corner.” In the uncertainty of being an emerging writer, “the power of telling another writer, ‘You’re doing the right thing. Trust your instincts’—that does a lot.”
Fofana also shares insights about two stories in his forthcoming collection Stories from the Tenants Downstairs, “The Okiedoke” and “The Rent Manual.” He details in particular the revision strategies that resulted in the pieces as they stand now. Some of these edits are the product of his own re-imaginings of his work, but others are suggestions from his group of mentors. Fofana says it comes down to honesty: “it’s good to be nurturing, but it’s bluntness” that he values most in the revision process.
Sidik Fofana received an MFA in creative writing from New York University and teaches high school in Brooklyn. His collection Stories from the Tenants Downstairs is forthcoming from Scribner in August 2022.
The Sewanee Review Podcast is recorded in the Ralston Listening Room at the University of the South. This episode is produced by Hayden Dunbar and edited by ProPodcast Solutions with music by Annie Bowers. Don’t miss any of our conversations with some of today’s best writers. Subscribe to the Sewanee Review Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.