May 14, 2012 In 2005, when Richard Bausch accepted a job in the creative-writing program at the University of Memphis, it was on one condition: the department must agree that part of his responsibilities would include the opportunity to teach, free of charge, a group of aspiring writers in the Memphis community. The encouragement Bausch has offered in the Moss Workshop in Fiction each year since is only one of the many reasons we at Chapter 16 are so sorry to see him leave Tennessee for his new post at Chapman University in California. (To read Maria Browning’s essay for Chapter 16 about her experience in the Moss Workshop, click here.)
Today, Emily Besh, a member of last fall’s Moss Workshop, talks with Bausch in an interview for Fiction Writers Review. Besh describes her former teacher as a “colorful, uncensored, and opinionated—unruly, even—like someone who would (and did) leave his car idling by railroad tracks to jump a passing train. He often wears a baseball cap pulled low over his brow, beneath which his eyes have a mischievous gleam. He’s willing, always, to try his hand at something new: the guitar, say, or stand-up comedy. He loves theater and film, often tossing out a quick quote or recounting a salient scene. Through eleven published novels and eight collections of short stories, Bausch has proven to be not only prolific but consistently excellent, a writer whose discipline equals his passion.” Click here to read their conversation about literary influences, inspiration, and why Bausch thinks it’s a “sin” not to write.