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Episode 50: Ben Ghan interviews Kim Fu

Apr 16, 2023

In this interview, Kim Fu and Ben Berman Ghan discuss Fu’s short story collection Lesser-Known Monsters of the 21st Century, including (spoiler alert!) the lost tale that almost made it into the collection. Together, Fu and Ghan explore the speculative writing space (as readers and writers and editors) and share their inspirations, anxieties, and communities.


Kim Fu is the author of the story collection Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, a finalist for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Fu’s first novel, For Today I Am a Boy, won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and the Lambda Literary Awards. Fu’s second novel, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and the Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award. Fu’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Hazlitt, and theTLS. Fu lives in Seattle, Washington.

Ben Berman Ghan is a writer and editor living in Mohkinstsis/Calgary, treaty 7 land and home of the Blackfoot Confederacy, where he’s a PhD student in English literature at The University of Calgary. He’s the author of the collection What We See in the Smoke (Crowsnest Books), and the novella Visitation Seeds (845 Press). His novel The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits is forthcoming with Wolsak and Wynn for spring 2024. His recent work can be found in Clarkesworld Magazine, Wrongdoing Magazine, and The Temz Review You can find him @inkstainedwreck and

Show notes:

4:34 —Coming to speculative fiction/genre writing to tell human stories.

7:24 — Stories of your life and others by Ted Chiang and what short stories can do.

8:56 — Kevin Brockmeier as an inspiration.

10:06— “Sandman” and “Do you remember Candy” from Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century.

10:42— Grief as a through thread in the collection.

12:52— Fu discusses the writing/editing processes for the collection and working with Masie Cochran at Tin House.

15:36–Fu discusses a fascination with writing kids in early adolescence because of an “explosion of difference.”

19:11— How Fu approaches time and pacing in narratives about adults.

21:38— Community, how other writers influence Fu’s work, and how mentorship helped her edit her own work.

27:00— Fu discusses her approach to violence in “Twenty Hours” and “Junebugs.”

28:15— “Every story is a monster story”

30:48— On insomnia and conveying the experience of long stretches of sleeplessness through fiction

34:46— Para-social relationality, social media influencers, and “#ClimbingNation”

37:20— Pulp fiction, thrilling tales, and Levar Burton

39:22— Writing by osmosis

40:27— “In this fantasy” in the 2018 Short Story Advent Calendar and the transformation from manuscript to book.

42:50—the joy of cutting from work

44:17—Fu discusses her short story that appeared in enRoute Magazine

47:00—Getting invested in the next project and relinquishing control of the current book

TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library.

TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Shuyin Yu, Ryan Stearne, Shazia Ramji, Rebecca Geleyn, Mikka Jacobsen, Benjamin Ghan, Amy LeBlanc, Marc Lynch, and Mahmoud Ababneh.
Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.


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