Questions for Contributors: Nishanth Injam

Nishanth Injam’s story “Come with Me” was published in the Summer 2021 issue of The Georgia Review and was one of three stories for which The Georgia Review won the National Magazine Award in Fiction this year. Injam, who comes from Telangana, India, received an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Virginia Quarterly Review and PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2021, and he recently received a two-book deal from Pantheon Books for his debut novel and short-story collection. Here, he discusses his experience of working with our editors to prepare “Come with Me” for publication.

GR: Tell us a little bit about this work. Is it a part of a larger project or practice?

Nishanth Injam (NI): My story is about a thirteen-year-old boy who falls in love with an older charismatic teenager. I wanted to write about young love and the difficulty in parsing things you experience but do not necessarily understand. This story is one of the first pieces I wrote when I began writing fiction, and I have a special fondness for it. “Come with Me” is part of a story collection, The Best Possible Experience, which will be published in 2023.

GR: Was there a moment in your editorial exchange with Georgia Review editors during which you felt like the story started to do something new?

NI: I found the editorial conversation with Gerald Maa and the Georgia Review team illuminating for reasons of craft and emotion. The initial draft had a frame, which the team felt was distracting from the central story. I felt that the frame offered something vital to the story and feared the story would be less interesting to me without it. We had a thoughtful exchange, each making a case for why the frame belonged or didn’t. I went back to the story and found a way to remove the frame and preserve the complexity I cared about. The story is much better for having gone through this process. 

GR: Since this publication, what other Georgia Review piece(s) have you enjoyed? How has your experience with the journal helped you think about your future writing and reading?

NI: I love the Fall 2021 issue and in particular Aryn Kyle’s “Copper Queen.” That story is incredible, and it produced in me a desire to understand its inner workings.

My experience with The Georgia Review gave me confidence in my own ability to get to the heart of things and address any craft concerns in the work. Every day I’m a better reader than the day before, and I’m glad The Georgia Review was an important part of my journey.