A standout basketball player, Marcus Burke often found himself writing on the team bus before and after Susquehanna University games. A knee injury limited his playing time, but couldn’t undermine his passion for writing. As his playing career ended, he was admitted to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
In this Writers On the Fly interview, Burke discusses his relationship with Writers’ Workshop faculty member and Pulitzer Prize winner James Alan McPherson, the parallels of basketball and writing (“On a base level, effort and trying will only get you a chance. That’s it.”), and how basketball serves his writing now. He also discusses using the darker emotions inspired by difficult circumstances to serve his writing.
This interview was recorded in 2014 after the publication of Team Seven, Burke’s first novel. He lives in Iowa City.