Interview with Rion Amilcar Scott, Author of The World Doesn’t Require You

I am so excited to welcome Rion Amilcar Scott to The Debutante Ball. Rion and I are both Kimbilio fellows. Kimbilio is a national residency for fiction writers from the African diaspora.

Rion Amilcar Scott is the author of the story collection, The World Doesn’t Require You (Norton/Liveright, August 2019). His debut story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, and The Rumpus, among others. One of his stories was listed as a notable in Best American Stories 2018 and one of his essays was listed as a notable in Best American Essays 2015. He was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland and earned an MFA from George Mason University where he won the Mary Roberts Rinehart award, a Completion Fellowship and an Alumni Exemplar Award. He has received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writing Conference, Kimbilio and the Colgate Writing Conference as well as a 2019 Maryland Individual Artist Award. Presently he teaches Creative Writing at the University of Maryland.

Read through to learn more about RION AND get your chance to win The World Doesn’t Require You!

The World Doesn’t Require You (Liveright/Norton, 2019) Is one of Esquire’s Most Anticipated Books of 2019. Fantasy and reality merge in this second collection of short stories set in Scott’s own “Yoknapatawpha-esque” community of Cross River, Maryland. You can follow Rion online at:

His website




And now to the interview!


Talk about one book that made an impact on you.

The first time I read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man when I was about seventeen I had no idea what I was in for. It seemed each sentence had two or three meanings. The imagery felt tangible and was something to puzzle over. It had a deep impact on every piece of fiction I wrote after that and it still echoes in my work. I tried to run from the influence for a time. In the novella that ends my collection, “Special Topics in Loneliness Studies,” I chose to run toward the influence and play with it a bit. I figured it would be there anyway, might as well use it.

Tell us about your next big project.

All my work takes place in a fictional town called, Cross River, MD that was founded in 1807 as the result of a successful slave revolt. For my next trick, I plan to go back in time and look at the insurrection.

In what fictional place would you most like to spend a day? Want would you do?

Without a doubt, I would like to spend a day in Cross River. I would watch the sun set into the water. Get drunk off Crazy Ninja Malt Liquor (the 40oz). Visit one of the hair cults and get a perfect haircut. Go to a Riverbeat temple and listen to the latest Riverbeat star. Catch a slapboxing match. Smoke joint filled with the Starr Product sativa strain while walking through the Wildlands at night observing the wolves and screecher birds. I’d end the day falling in love with water-woman, the river sirens who live on a diamond island in the middle of the Cross River, and I’d follow the illusion of her love beneath the waters to join the bones of the heartsick.

Tell us what you’re looking forward to reading.

I look forward to again reading Toni Morrison’s oeuvre. I’m excited about re-reading those I haven’t read in years and experiencing for the first time those I’ve shamefully missed. I’ll also soon be taking another spin through August WIlson’s ten plays.

What does literary success look like to you?

Collectively I call my fiction the Cross River Saga. Success is completing the saga.


GIVEAWAY TIME! Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter and SHARE OR RETWEET the Interview for a chance to win THE WORLD DOESN’T REQUIRE YOU by Rion Amilcar Scott.

For extra entries, comment on this post. We’ll choose a winner on Friday, October 11th and contact them shortly afterward.


The World Doesn’t Require You is a somewhat trippy loop through the fictional town of Cross River, MD, which was founded in in 1807 after the nation’s only successful slave revolt. It’s eleven stories and novella that features slapboxers, God’s last son, beautiful and dangerous shapeshifting water sirens, the history of “doorbell ditching,” massive birds who hunt humans, warring academics, underground railroad re-enactors, and a bunch of other stuff.

Available pretty much anywhere books are sold:

B&N | Indiebound Amazon US |

The following two tabs change content below.

Lisa Braxton

Lisa Braxton is an Emmy-nominated former television journalist, an essayist, short story writer, and novelist. Her debut novel, The Talking Drum, is forthcoming from Inanna Publications in spring 2020. She is a fellow of the Kimbilio Fiction Writers Program and a book reviewer for 2040 Review. Her stories and essays have appeared in literary magazines and journals. She received Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest magazine’s 84th and 86th annual writing contests in the inspirational essay category. Her website:

Latest posts by Lisa Braxton (see all)

This article has 1 Comment

Comments are closed.