Krystal Languell with Khadijah Queen

Khadijah Queen
Khadijah Queen

In late 2011, I began a series of interviews that resituate the questions asked of male writers by interviewers at The Paris Review. Some question sets are archival and some are recent, but each interview I conducted is an inquiry into the gender dynamics of the literary interview. The setup is conceptual, but as the conversation progresses it can shed new light on the interview form or uncover surprising information about the subject—like in this interview, when I learn about Khadijah Queen’s experience dropping out of art school quite by accident. 

I should note that I was an editor for Noemi Press at the time that Khadijah’s book Black Peculiar was published.

This interview borrows questions asked by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah of Samuel R. Delany in The Art of Fiction No. 210 from the Summer 2011 issue of The Paris Review, Issue No. 197.

Krystal Languell as Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah: Was being a prodigy important to you?

Khadijah Queen: I think it was more important to my parents. I learned to read when I was 3 years old. I was supposed to have been skipped from the 1st to the 3rd grade but I didn’t want to, for a lot of reasons, and I think they had to let me develop at my own pace.