In this episode I talk with Ira Sukrungruang, one of Under the Gum Tree’s previous contributors. Ira is the author of The Melting Season, Southside Buddhist, Talk Thai, and In Thailand It Is Night. He teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. His essay “The Animatronic Dog” appears in the April 2016 issue of Under the Gum Tree.



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In this episode, we talk about:

  • The pen name that Ira used when he used to submit stories to the New Yorker as a teenager
  • How Ira shifts between writing in all three genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction
  • The difference between writing personal stories as nonfiction versus autobiographical fiction
  • Exploring the meaning of the word “monster,” where monsters come from and what we are really afraid of
  • Crafting segmented essays, determining the sequence and what to include or leave out
  • What to do with material that doesn’t end up in an essay
  • The role of being an editor and how it affects Ira’s work as a writer
  • The online literary magazine Sweet, where Ira is a founding editor
  • Ira’s new memoir Buddha’s Dog, coming out in spring 2018
  • Visit Ira online at, follow him on Twitter at @sukrungruang

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