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Sofia Samatar in Conversation with Amina Cain at Lit Hub

Thanks to Lit Hub for publishing this lovely and fascinating discussion about writing, monsters, literary influences, and more between Amina Cain and Monster Portraits author Sofia Samatar.

Some highlights:

Sofia: “I wanted, from the beginning, to write a monstrous book. Something small yet forceful, like a talisman. I mean the kind of thing someone would put in their backpack and carry around for weeks without even reading it, as I’ve done with certain books.”

Sofia: “I often think of Clarice Lispector’s words (and she’s another key influence on Monster Portraits, of course, with her “Am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?”—one of the best things anyone has ever said about monsters)—she says: “As in everything, so in writing I am almost afraid of going too far. What can this be? Why? I restrain myself, as if I were tugging at the reins of a horse which might suddenly bolt and drag me who knows where. I protect myself. Why? For what? For what purpose am I saving myself?” I ask myself that so often! Why don’t I do what I want in writing, right now? What am I waiting for?”

Amina: “Writing that goes too far, I think that is all I want to read. As writers, we should go where the horse drags us.”

Read the full interview here.