In her short stories, a novel-in-progress and her films, Mary Kuryla conjures arresting portraits of lonely, vexing, isolated and frequently damaged characters who, despite their precarity and eclectic impairments, resonate fully, becoming irresistible in their refusal to acquiesce or accommodate. Kuryla’s writing has been published in many publications, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Greensboro Review, Pleiades, New Orleans Review and The Brooklyn Review, and her bracing and beautiful feature film screened at festivals internationally. Kuryla has earned awards and acclaim for her fiction, including a Pushcart Prize, and, most recently, her collection of short stories, Freak Weather: Stories, earned The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction from AWP, where it was judged by Amy Hempel. The collection was just published by the University of Massachusetts Press.
In this interview with writer Holly Willis, Kuryla talks about the role of filmmaking and performance in her writing, and the role of fiction writing in her screenplays, and offers practical advice on how to make use of this powerful dialogue among forms.