Q&A with Jerald Walker

1. If you were reviewing your own work, how would you describe its style or point of view?
I’m a fiction writer (by point of view and training) masquerading as an essayist, which is to say that the elements of craft I often emphasize are characters, tone, plot, dialogue, and, perhaps above all, story.

2. Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors?
Marilynne Robinson, Stuart Dybek, Jane Smiley, Tobias Wolff, Michael Cunningham, Mary Karr, Denis Johnson and Jo Ann Beard.

3. If you were told you couldn't write anymore, what job would you pursue and why?
An architect. I’ve been obsessed with the field since watching the patriarch of the Brady Bunch as a kid.

4. When you think of Austin, what comes to mind?
James A. Michener. And heat.

5. Answer the question you wish we had asked.
I’m wearing black gym shorts and a grey t-shirt.

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Jerald Walker is the author of Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption, recipient of the 2011 PEN New England/L.L. Winship Award for Nonfiction. His essays have appeared in numerous publications, including four times in The Best American Essays. He teaches creative writing at Emerson College.