Bo Caldwell is the author of the national bestseller The Distant Land of My Father and the novel City of Tranquil Light. Her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares, Story, Epoch, and other literary journals. A former Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University, she lives in Northern California with her husband, novelist Ron Hansen.
What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?
I was a single mom and carrying a very heavy teaching load, so the Fellowship was a very important financial boost and encouragement at a time when I really needed it.
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
When I received the Fellowship I was working on short stories and essays. Since then I've published two novels and I'm working on my third, so I've come to love that longer form. I think my fiction has also deepened, partly from being firmly grounded in a specific time and place, and partly from the practice of piling up pages.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
I'd quote Virginia Woolf and Grace Paley: First, you need a room of your own (Woolf). Second, keep your overhead low (Paley). Then get to work.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
Expansive, Rich, Complex, Thriving