Meet multi-genre au­thor and Room’s man­ag­ing ed­i­tor, Che­lene Knight

Che­lene Knight

Room Magazine - - CONTENTS - —Arielle Spence

Meet Che­lene Knight, Room’s man­ag­ing ed­i­tor, and au­thor of Braided Skin (Mother Tongue Pub­lish­ing, 2015), Dear Cur­rent Oc­cu­pant (Book*hug, Spring 2018), and a novel-in-progress, Ju­nie.

Have you been read­ing any­thing spe­cific while you’ve been work­ing on Dear Cur­rent Oc­cu­pant?

Renée Sak­likar rec­om­mended that I read some po­etry by Fred Wah and I’ve been try­ing to read books—and things on­line, such as flash es­says on Brevity— which are mixed genre and do not eas­ily fit into one cat­e­gory. I’m try­ing to get ideas for how to tighten my writ­ing up, as I’m now in the fi­nal edit­ing stages.

Do fam­ily se­crets of­ten come out in your writ­ing?

I’m a very pri­vate person, so as I sit down to write, it’s both a sur­prise and a re­lief. A lot of my writ­ing per­tains to things that my fam­ily didn’t want me to know. And some­times, because I don’t have all the de­tails, I make things up, and then I go back and ask my fam­ily ques­tions to fill in the gaps.

Do you have a “pos­i­tive” fam­ily se­cret you could share?

Hav­ing my child prob­a­bly saved my life. I was a wild teen, and when I be­came preg­nant at twenty, some­thing clicked, and it set me straight. I think for a lot of young moth­ers, it can go a to­tally dif­fer­ent way, but for me, it pulled me into this world where I was re­spon­si­ble for a hu­man be­ing, and I had to get my act to­gether.

Is there one book you find your­self fre­quently rec­om­mend­ing to peo­ple?

One is Sub Rosa by Am­ber Dawn. Her de­pic­tion of Van­cou­ver rings true, and the char­ac­ters re­ally spoke to me. The other book is The Bluest Eye by Toni Mor­ri­son. I just love the style of Mor­ri­son’s writ­ing: it’s po­etic, fic­tion, but also his­tor­i­cal.

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