In this episode I talk with former Under the Gum Tree contributor, Samuel Autman. Samuel is a member of DePauw University’s writing faculty in Greencastle, Indiana where he specializes in the personal essay. “Invisible Nails” won first place in the SLS-DISQUIET 2015 Literary Contest in the nonfiction category. His work has appeared in The Chalk Circle: Prizewinning Intercultural Essays, Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call, Ninth Letter, The Common Reader, Under the Gum Tree, Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, I’m Black and I Travel, The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project. His essay “The Tongues of Angels” appears in issue seven of Under the Gum Tree, published in April 2013.


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In this episode, we talk about:

  • Samuel’s writing background and what draws him to creative nonfiction
  • The difference between journalism and narrative nonfiction
  • How journalism informs writing creative nonfiction
  • What caused Samuel to begin writing about his family and growing up in Arkansas
  • Determining the difference between what belongs to the writer and the page, and what belongs to the writer and his or her personal relationships
  • Internal conflict with personal stories and learning how to grow into boldness
  • Visit Samuel online at, and @samuelautman on Instagram and Twitter

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