Creative Writing at The New School

Jhon Valdes Klinger is a Colombian storyteller, filmmaker, educator, and writer. He is currently an MFA candidate in Fiction from the New School’s Writing Program. He was a Riggio Writing and Democracy recipient and studied Film Production in the school of media studies. He served as the editor of arts and media for 12thstreet literary magazine for the 2016/17 year. He is currently a research assistant for the writing program. In the fall he will be teaching English secondary school in San Jose. He is passionate about stories, film, education, and can’t seem to shut up about CrossFit.

1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature? 

My favorite villain is Lolita's (Navakov) Hubbert Hubbert. I enjoy a villain that I can love and hate. In terms of protagonists, I hate to love Sula. Toni Morrison wrote an endlessly-complicated character. 

2. When did you know you were a writer?

When I was five-years-old I used to watch the news and reinterpret what I heard for adults in the funniest ways. I still do that, but it's not nearly as cute anymore. 

3. What are you currently working on?

I am working on a novel-Bestia, which is a magical realism haunted house story set in New York and Colombia. I describe it as a terror-novela. The novel explores the horrors of being a new immigrant in America. I am also working on Olfacto, a book of nonfiction short stories that explores queerness and scents—being queer smells so good to me. 

4 How has your writing process changed over the years?

I came from media studies and poetry background. I genuinely enjoyed brevity when I was younger (I still do in conversations). In the process of writing a novel, my paragraphs have become more expansive and detailed. I enjoy digging into what my characters are thinking and how they react to the world I created for them. I used to be scared of interiority because there is very little room for it in a screenplay. I am leaning to the poet in me to help with interiority. 

5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.

In my writing, words blur between language, finding the common threads between English and Spanish, and juxtaposing the unconventional with the guiding hand of similarity. 

Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA in Creative Writing Program office.  

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