Don’t Write Alone | Interviews

On “getting creatively lost”: Robert J. Dau Prize Winner Mathapelo Mofokeng

Learn about Mathapelo Mofokeng’s short story “The Strong-Strong Winds,” which was selected for ‘Best Debut Short Stories 2021.’

Best Debut Short Stories 2021: The PEN America Dau Prize

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Where did you find the idea for this story?


In your story we find the characters roaming about Avalon Cemetery in search of a particular plot, which gives the story a sense of containment while also allowing the reader to become deeply immersed in this world. What drove your decision to set the story in a singular location?

Let’s go back to the fact that you wrote “Strong-Strong Winds” in response to a themed open call on climate change. Why did you choose to address climate change from this perspective? What do you hope readers will take away from this story?


What was your writing process like for this story?

How has the Robert J. Dau Prize affected you?

What is the best or worse writing advice you’ve received, and why?

Finally, where do you discover new writing?