Q&A with Rion Amilcar Scott

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Get to know Rion Amilcar Scott, author of Insurrections and Bowie State University teacher…

What author or book inspires you most, now and/or at any time in your career?

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man has always been there for me for as long as I’ve been writing fiction. The layers, the imagery, the deliberateness of the prose. It’s something to aspire to. I thought the influence had faded a bit, but when I re-read it recently I noticed all I had taken from it without realizing even though I hadn’t read it in its entirety in years.

What is your favorite part of participating in book festivals?

There’s nothing like meeting readers. It’s mystifying that people are interested in what I have to say and I’m thankful that readers are always showing me new ways to read my book.

When did you realize you wanted to write this book?

I wrote an unpublishable novel-in-stories called, The Revelation of Everything, and it didn’t take long after I had finished it for me to realize that it had grown too convoluted and confused to continue sending out. Many of the stories in Revelation were long and and out of control, so I figured I needed to go tiny. I wrote a collection of flash fictions titled, Wolf Tickets. Wolf Tickets did a lot to center me and to help me salvage whatever was salvageable from Revelation. This was in about 2010 that I started shaping those old parts into something new At the same time, I wrote a batch new stories that I had dreamt about for so long, but figured I wasn’t ready to work on.

Which part of the book are you most proud of?

To write the final story in my story collection, “Three Insurrections,” I interviewed my father about his emigration to this country from Trinidad & Tobago in the 1960s. He told me about being in D.C. during the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King. It took me three years to get the voice down and to make the story work. It was difficult writing, but I believe it paid off.

What are you working on next?

I’m on a novella kick right now.

Don’t miss Rion Amilcar Scott at the 2017 Virginia Festival of the Book in Terrific Fiction in Short Form, along with authors Jonathan Corcoran (The Rope Swing) and Paula Whyman (You May See A Stranger).