Who Does the Math? Introducing VIDA Counter Corey Campbell

The people who count for VIDA count because they love literature. It would probably be an understatement to suggest they prefer reading over math. We wanted to learn more about what drives the individuals who make the annual VIDA Count possible. And because we are so grateful to these interns for so generously volunteering their time, we’ve launched a fundraising campaign to pay our Counters.



Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I’m a short story writer living in Phoenix and completing my first collection of stories. For almost three years I’ve been leading a fiction workshop with incarcerated writers in Florence, Arizona. Also, I work as the program manager of Arizona State University’s Creative Writing program—a post I’m leaving at the end of this summer to become a Ph.D. candidate in fiction at the University of Houston. (I’m very excited!)



Why did you decide to become involved with the VIDA Count? 

I became involved with the VIDA count to see the literary landscape and its biases more clearly (and also due to general curiosity). As a short story writer who has been submitting to journals for six or seven years, I realized that I hadn’t taken gender disparity into serious enough consideration. I joined the VIDA count to make myself pay attention. It’s still a learning/continuing process.I’ve enjoyed being a fly on the wall, of sorts, in the VIDA count process and look forward to the continuing discussion sparked by the results.



Do you have a favorite book / poem / novel / short story?

Many novels belong on my list of favorites (Anna Karenina, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Awakening, Ask the Dust). I’m just finishing Carson McCullers’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which has some stunning scenes and character description. I also appreciate so many short stories, including Eudora Welty’s “No Place For You, My Love,” Breece D’J Pancake’s “Trilobites,” Yasunari Kawabata’s “First Snow on Fuji,” Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and whole collections by Mavis Gallant, Ben Fountain, Lorrie Moore, and Andre Dubus. (These are all pretty obvious, and I’m sure I’m forgetting many others just as obvious.)



What literary journals would you suggest readers be on the lookout for?

Also, I’m a contributing editor for the online journal Waxwing, which has published some incredible poetry, fiction, and translations (not to mention nonfiction, book reviews, and original artwork). I hope anyone reading this will check out the site: http://waxwingmag.org/. I don’t have my finger on the pulse of other new journals per se but am a definite fan of Tin House, Prairie Schooner, and One Story—journals where, fingers crossed, I hope to place my own stories at some point—and ASU’s own Hayden’s Ferry Review, of course!


Corey-Campbell-300x225Corey Campbell’s fiction has appeared inThe Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, The Rattling Wall, Necessary Fiction, Gulf Stream, Anderbo, and The Chamber Four Fiction Anthology, among other publications. A graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers and a contributing editor of the journal Waxwing, Ms. Campbell works for Arizona State University and leads workshops with incarcerated writers in the Arizona State Prison Complex – Florence. A Tennessee Williams Scholar at this year’s Sewanee Writers’ Conference, she is completing her first collection of stories.