Amber Dermont


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Iowa Writers’ Workshop alumna Amber Dermont returned to Iowa City for the 2013 Iowa City Book Festival, and this Writers On the Fly interview was recorded during her visit.

Dermont discusses the desire of readers to know the story behind stories. “I think readers really hunger for a narrative around the process and act of writing,” she says. “So that it isn’t just the story that they want; they want to know where it comes from and, you know, where it makes its own home in your heart.”

She also considers the ways in which distraction and responsibility actually enhance her ability to write well: “You can’t make excuses. The more free time you have, the more likely you are to waste that time and the more likely you are to create too much comfort in your life.”

She speaks about her love of water, her fascination with stand-up comedy, and her ambition “to make the reader laugh and cry, you know, simultaneously on every single page.”

Dermont is the author of the short story collection Damage Control and the novel The Starboard Sea. Her work was selected by Dave Eggers for Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005 and by Jane Smiley for Best New American Voices 2006.