The Hardest Thing to Survive


As a kid I was that literal, thinking I lived in fiction, so let me write it. It started there, and it seems it’s going to end there.

In a conversation excerpted from Upstairs at the Strand, Junot Diaz and Hilton Als touch deftly on such subjects as masculinity and its relations to queerness; the failure of realism to capture the truth; the trials of artistic expression in and around Latino culture; familial rejection; and self-deprecating voices in your head.

Kyle Williams is a student at Brooklyn College, studying creative writing and literature. You can find more from him on Tumblr at, but don't feel like you have to. More from this author →