S8E3 Manuel Muñoz and Lester Walbrugh: “The Real Mystery of Everyday Stories”

22 Jun 2023
S8E3 Manuel Muñoz and Lester Walbrugh: “The Real Mystery of Everyday Stories”

Image credits: Lester Walbrugh by Francois F. Swanepoel. Manuel Muñoz by Manuel Muñoz

Lester Walbrugh asks Manuel Muñoz about his latest collection of short stories: The Consequences. Manuel reflects on his Mexican-American identity, working on farms as a young boy and embracing his family’s stories. He discusses deportation, silence and queer codes, community, being seen and the inclusion of Spanish in his writing.

Manuel and Lester also explore parallels between their lives in the Central Valley in the U.S. and Grabouw in South Africa.

Lester Walbrugh is from Grabouw in the Western Cape. His acclaimed short stories have been published in, among others, the anthologies of Short.Sharp.Stories and Short Story Day Africa, New Contrast and, most recently, Hair: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity. He has lived in the UK and Japan and is currently back in his hometown. Let It Fall Where It Will is his debut short story collection. Elton Baatjies is his first novel. Both are published by Karavan Press. 

Manuel Muñoz is the author of The Consequences: Stories (Graywolf Press, 2022). He is the winner of the 2023 Joyce Carol Oates Prize, and the collection was a finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize and was shortlisted for The Story Prize. The author of two previous collections of short stories, Zigzagger and The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, and a novel, What You See in the Dark, Muñoz has been recognized with a Whiting Writer’s Award, three O. Henry Awards and two appearances in Best American Short Stories. His frequently anthologized work has appeared in The New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, ZYZZYVA, and Freeman’s. A native of Dinuba, California, Muñoz currently lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.

In this episode we are in solidarity with Kyaw Min Swe, a news editor and journalist detained in Myanmar. We call for his freedom. You can read more about his case here. As tributes to Kyaw Min Swe, Manuel reads “This Bright Day” by A. R. Ammons and Lester reads an extract from Lethokuhle Msimang’s The Frightened.

UPDATE: We welcome reports that journalist Kyaw Min Swe was released on 7 July 2023.

Listen to the episode here: