Arriel Vinson is an Indiana native who writes about being young, black, and in search of freedom. She is an MFA Fiction candidate at Sarah Lawrence College and received a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Waxwing, [PANK] Magazine, HeART Journal Online, and also won third place prize in LUMINA Journal, judged by Donika Kelly. Her fiction has been featured inLunch Ticket. Arriel‘s work has also appeared in Electric Lit.
Here’s Quick Temper with Arriel Vinson:
Why do you write?
I write because young black girls and boys deserve it. When I was younger, I read many stories of people who didn’t look like me. And that’s not a terrible thing, because I was reading, but I needed much more representation. I needed stories that explored my different identities.
I write because being black in this world means to be constantly angry, and yoga isn’t enough of an outlet. Bitching to my friends isn’t enough of an outlet either. So, I turn to writing. I can say what I want to say and call out who/what I want to call out, and that gives me some type of freedom.
Who do you hope reads your work?
I hope black youth read my work. POC who feel unseen. And anyone else.
Where does the anger in your work come from? How does it manifest?
It comes from a lot of different places and pressures. First, it comes from being black. Then black and woman. In both identities, I’m constantly targeted yet ignored. Fetishized yet hated. And so that’s what I bring up in my writing. I talk about discrimination. I talk about class. But I think another way I’m angry in my work is by having my characters express joy in the midst of oppression. Because I think anger needs to turn into a different emotion for us, sometimes. Part of being angry is finding joy in things, even if it’s far and few between.
Any angry recommendations for angry readers?
Citizen by Claudia Rankine, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Abdurraqib, Forest Primeval by Vievee Francis, Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (which is a romantic YA novel but the characters are angry at certain injustices in their lives).