The Questionnaire: Chris Kraus

How do you get up in the morning?

How do you go to sleep?


Do you succumb to nostalgia?

I cultivate it.


Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill?



How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?

Don’t read.


Lunch with any three people who ever lived; who do you invite?

Charlie Parker, Max Jacob, Sei Shonogon.


Best piece of advice you ever received?

Don’t assume that people will always act in their best interest.


Which classic author would you like to see kicked out of the pantheon?

Tolstoy. Anna Karenina? Ugh, hated it. Sorry. Could not see the point.


Are you okay with blood?

No, squeamish.


What country would you want to be exiled in?

Mexico, probably.


What’s your favorite negative emotion?



Title of the book you’re probably never going to write, but would kind of like to get around to?

KELLY LAKE STORE, an account of a probably-never-to-be-realized project that would entail re-opening and operating a small convenience store in Kelly Lake, Minnesota. I’ve dreamt of laundromats too.


What are you so afraid of?



How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard?

Oh months. I’m either working on something, or not at all.


Do you require a high thread count?

Yes but am willing to forage for it. Oops I thought you meant sheets! Prose, the lower the better.


Who reads you first?

Philip, Tamar or Hedi.


Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind?

The four together are a seductive mix.


What character or story haunts you?

Jane Bowles’ “Going to Massachusetts.”


Does plot matter?

Yes, if by plot you mean events.


Does age matter?

Not that much.


Do you prefer to write standing, or must you lie prone in a field of dandelions with a steno pad and a good pen? Or what?

In bed with notebook. Then, at a desk on the computer in small dim room with the blinds closed.


Who is the author you’d most like to impersonate online?



Is there a literary community?



What’s the question or questions we should have asked, had we known?

How do you know what to write about? I asked this in a writing class once and everyone laughed. I forgot about writing the next 20 years. But it might be the only question.





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Tomás Rivera Book PrizeSubmit your manuscript to be entered to win

Open to any author writing in English about the Chicanx/Latinx experience, the Rivera Book Prize is committed to the discovery and fostering of extraordinary writing by a first-time or early career author whose work examines the long and varied contributions of Chicanx/Latinx in the US. The Rivera Book Prize aims to provide a platform that showcases the emerging literary talent of the Chicanx/Latinx community, to cultivate the next generation of Chicanx/Latinx writers, and to continue the rich literary memory of Tomás Rivera, Chicano author, poet, activist, and educator.

AWARD: $1,000 prize, publication of manuscript by LARB Libros, and ten copies. Additionally, winner will receive a stipend to assist with travel to Southern California for a reading and book signing at UC Riverside during Writers Week.

DEADLINE: January 17, 2020. Apply via Submittable Here.

Entry Fee: $35. Entry fees are non-refundable.

Eligibility: All previously unpublished works in prose written primarily in English focused on the Chicanx/Latinx experience in the United States.