Monday, 31 March 2014

60 Seconds with Anne Korkeakivi

Anne Korkeakivi is the author of the novel, An Unexpected Guest (Little, Brown; 2012). Her short fiction has been published by the Atlantic, the Yale Review, Consequence magazine, the Bellevue Literary Review, the Brooklyn Review, and other magazines, and in 2011 she was made a Hawthornden Fellow. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Times (UK), the Village Voice, Gourmet, Travel & Leisure, Ms., and many other periodicals in the US and the UK. She was born in New York City, and raised there and in western Massachusetts, earning a BA in Classics from Bowdoin College and an MA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Subsequent moves included a decade in eastern France. Her husband’s current posting as a human-rights lawyer with the UN has her most of the year in Switzerland, along with their two daughters.

Which work most influenced you when growing up?

D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths and The Bible, particularly the New Testament. The Narnia series.

Where do you write?

In a spare bedroom-turned-office in my home. On the living room sofa, when I need a change of scenery. In my head, while running. On trains, always.

Who or what had the biggest impact on your creative life?

I grew up in a fourteenth-floor corner apartment in New York City with views over the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge, Riverside Park, the skyline, the sunset. I spent a lot of my youth daydreaming.

How far are you influenced by other media, such as music or fine art?


Do you have a word or phrase that you most overuse?


Which writers do you enjoy?

Many! I mostly, but not exclusively, read literary fiction.

Why do you write?

Have to.

What makes you laugh?

My daughters. My husband. Life.

Do you have a guilty reading pleasure?

I don’t really feel guilty about it but… children’s books?

Which book do you wish you’d written?

Any play by Shakespeare, I suppose, in the sense that then my work would be done here.

Which book has impressed you most this year?

Must I choose? Well, I read Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain last summer and thought: instant classic.

Would you share what you’re working on next?

A new novel! This one explores the effect of a historic event on a family. An Unexpected Guest, my debut novel, took place all in one day; this novel spans from 1942 to the present. It also journeys from the Philippines to Los Angeles to Scotland’s Inner Hebrides to West Africa and back, with stops in between. It makes An Unexpected Guest’s Paris – Boston – Dublin triangle seem like small potatoes.

What’s the best way of spending a Sunday morning?


Connect with Anne here:


  1. "Lovely!" Great 60-second interview. I can just picture that day-dreamer's 14th floor apartment window. Thanks for the visual.

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