5 Burning Questions with Vonetta Young

Vonetta Young is one of our featured writers at our November 12th reading. Check out our interview with her below.

What is your first memory of writing for fun?

In seventh grade, my science teacher asked the class to write about the perfect Thanksgiving dinner; make him salivate, he said. And I won, describing turkey, stuffing, and works in way more dramatic fashion than necessary. That was the moment I became a writer.

How many drafts = done?

When it’s finally accepted for publication. I know, that’s so “external validation,” but that’s my guide.

What is your favorite book or favorite book-of-the-moment?

My favorite book of all time is Lolita, though I’ve been saying that since I read it freshman year of college, so I should think of something else at this point. I’m in my thirties.

What is it about your discipline that gets you the most excited?

I love fiction because I get to make sh*t up! I write memoir and personal essay as well, so fiction is where I really let my hair down because I’m not restricted by what actually happened. It allows me to be people that I am not, like acting; there’s a lot of fun in that.

What’s your favorite word or words? What about it/them appeals to you?

Morbid, but “hospital.” I love the “ha,” and the rounding of the mouth over the word, then the crude “pit,” then the soft “al,” the last of which I always hear in my head as a ‘90s sitcom studio audience during a sentimental scene.

Bonus question: what fictional wedding would you most want to attend, if any? This can be one you read about in a book, saw in a movie, or one you think would be really rad (like if Godzilla married King Kong, but something more creative than that).

The one in the movie “Jumping the Broom”! A lot of my fiction is centering about bougie Black people being messy, so I’d love to soak in the whole scene in Martha’s Vineyard. Being by the beach is always an added bonus.


Vonetta Young is a writer and financial services consultant living in Washington, DC. Her essays have been published in Catapult, DASH, and Lunch Ticket, among others. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue and is forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine. She is currently writing a memoir about growing up with an absent father who was a minister, and a story collection about Black women being messy. Follow her on Twitter at @VonettaWrites.

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