Friday, March 13, 2020

Michael Zapata

Michael Zapata is a founding editor of the award-winning MAKE Literary Magazine. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for Fiction; the City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist Program award; and a Pushcart Nomination. As an educator, he taught literature and writing in high schools servicing drop out students. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and has lived in New Orleans, Italy, and Ecuador. He currently lives in Chicago with his family.

Zapata's new novel is The Lost Book of Adana Moreau.

From his interview with Julie Carrick Dalton at Writer Unboxed:

Julie Carrick Dalton: Mike, welcome to The Writer Unboxed. As you know, I’m a huge fan of your book, in part because you take such big risks with structure. You incorporate many complex elements, yet, somehow weave them together beautifully into an un-put-downable story. What inspired you to take on such an ambitious structure in a first novel?

Michael Zapata: The structure definitely emerged sentence by sentence. That said, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Latin American literary tradition. The structures found in Latin American literature can be so extraordinary, and I think they allow for some of these divergent elements of stories within stories. There’s a long tradition of that. I put a challenge to myself to combine that with the North American structure that is more plot-heavy, concerned with getting from point A to point B. Overall, I wanted to combine a Latin American structure with a North American structure and see what would happen.

JCD: It occurs to me that a reader could tease The Lost Book of Adana Moreau apart, restructure it, and present it as a book of fables. The story of the Dominicana and the pirate, the story of the pony and the mine, the story of the Lost City, and so many others embedded within your larger narrative. I’m in awe of how you pulled this off. Did you take inspiration from other authors who employ stories within stories?

MZ: I’m a huge fan of monologues, of someone getting on stage and telling their own story. Roberto Bolaño and Borges were strong influences. On the American side, I was ecstatic to read...[read on]
Visit Michael Zapata's website.

Writers Read: Michael Zapata.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Book of Adana Moreau.

--Marshal Zeringue