Stuart Dybek graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1973. Since then, he has created a deeply respected body of work in both poetry and fiction.
In this On the Fly interview, recorded in late 2010 when Dybek returned to the University of Iowa campus as an Ida Beam Visiting Professor, the author discusses what he calls the “signature modes” of various kinds of writing, how he has “used place as an organizing principle” in much of his writing, the ways in which he would like theater to more deeply influence his work, and writing as an “act of making.”
Dybek’s fiction includes I Sailed With Magellan, The Coast of Chicago, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, Paper Lantern, and Ecstatic Cahoots. The latter two story collections were published simultaneously in 2014, while the first two were both New York Times Notable Books. His two poetry collections are Streets in Their Own Ink and Brass Knuckles.
He has won a PEN/Malamud Prize, a Lannan Award, a Whiting Writers Award, four O. Henry Awards, and an Arts and Letters Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the latter commonly known as the “genius grant.”