Ran Walker, author of Keep It 100: 100-Word Stories, is an award-winning author of twenty-three books. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University and for Writer’s Digest University. He lives in Hampton, Virginia, with his wife and daughter.
Get to know Ran in this Q&A and then join us on Wednesday, March 16 at 6 PM ET for Keep It Concise: Microfiction & Short Stories to hear him discuss his work further as part of the 2022 Virginia Festival of the Book…
Festival: What motivated you to become an author?
Walker: I have always loved reading, and I think when you have spent so much time reading, it is natural to question whether you can write a book. The thing that motivated the most was seeing other writers telling stories and feeling like I needed to create work to be in dialog with theirs. Having had a number of different careers, I have never felt as “at home” as I do with writing.
Who or what are some of your creative influences?
I draw inspiration from a vast well of art. Some of my influences include Toni Morrison, Cesar Aira, Ana Maria Shua, Jean-Michel Basquiat, J. Dilla, MF DOOM, Haruki Murakami, Jordan Peele, and Ralph Ellison. My general approach to art is that I try to find something in everything I experience that is worth tucking away in my writer toolbox, even if I dislike the work as a whole.
What was your favorite part about writing your latest book?
It was fun being able to explore different genres, while still trying to create the maximum impact in 100 words.
Do you have any sources of inspiration that you come back to while writing?
I draw inspiration from any art, music, books, or films I am viewing while I’m writing. I also get inspired by random words (the more unusual, the better).
What impact or takeaway do you hope your work will have for readers?
I hope to challenge their understanding of what a story is, as well as how writing in a form that seems limiting on the surface can open up a whole new way to understand narratives. Above all, though, I’d like readers to just have fun with the stories.
What is something that you’ve read recently and would recommend to others?
Without a Net by Ana Maria Shua
What are you working on next?
I just completed my second collection of 100-word stories titled The Library of Afro Curiosities, set for publication on April 12, 2022.