Friday, June 2, 2017


Kelly Bancroft's work has appeared in journals such as Puerto del Sol, TIME, West Branch, and She is currently focusing on personal essays and plays. She lives in Youngstown, Ohio and sings in the New Celtic band, Brady's Leap. The following link is to a film about her Aunt Bessie:

Do you remember when you first had the impulse to write, when you determined you wanted to be a writer?

In third-grade, our principal read a haiku I wrote over the PA system. That was the first time I realized I could get attention for my writing and that it felt good and that I might have a talent for it. That may be different from determining when I wanted to be a writer. This would have been as a college freshman, although I had been writing poems and ghost stories and bad novels in my notebooks for a long time before that. I began to think of myself as a writer when for the first time I felt part of a tribe of folks who felt most at home reading and writing—I could see what a writer looked like and how a writer worked in the world.

What are your current concerns/themes?

My themes and concerns tend to revolve around the role of women in relationship to themselves and others--animals, family, lovers, strangers—and often in the context of history, medicine or other higher "authorities." The women in my work are typically up against some force, exploring their identities.

The short documentary about my Great Aunt Bessie began as a one-act play. It was performed at the Youngstown Playhouse. I had worked before with my good friend, Craig Duff--a professor at Northwestern and a veteran producer and documentary maker—when he worked at TIME magazine. We wanted to work together again. He read the script and for several years off and on we worked on this film. For a while we didn’t think it would be taken anywhere—he’d shopped it around at many news outlets. When Trump became the nominee for President, Craig thought the Cleveland angle to Bessie’s story and the Republican convention in Cleveland was a synchronistic fit. We shot additional footage, adapted the essay and liked it enough to post it on their site.

How is the present administration impacting your creative thinking and direction?

Lately, with the new administration, I am feeling a responsibility to be more overtly political about social issues that matter to me. I just wrote a 10-minute play about the end of the world heralded with a tweet. It consists of only two lines of identical dialogue. This was an experiment for me and, I think, a successful one in that I like the end product, had fun creating it, and it took me in new directions.

Kelly Bancroft

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