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Fiction Talks: Kia Corthron on Writing Dialect, Creating Empathy, and The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter

Kia Corthron, who won our 2016 First Novel Prize for her debut novel The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, talks about writing dialect, creating empathy in her readers, and how her playwriting experience influenced her book.

The author of more than fifteen plays produced nationally and internationally, Kia Corthron came to national attention in the early nineties with her play Come Down Burning. Portraying characters who live in extreme poverty or crisis and whose lives are otherwise invisible, her plays paint a disturbing picture of American history and its repercussions on our most intimate relationships. Corthron’s most recent awards include a Windham Campbell Prize for Drama, the Simon Great Plains Playwright (Honored Playwright) Award, the USA Jane Addams Fellowship Award, and the Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women, and she has developed work through various international residencies. She has also written for television, receiving a Writers Guild Outstanding Drama Series Award and an Edgar Award for The Wire. She grew up in Cumberland, Maryland, and now lives in Harlem, New York City.