A former antitrust lawyer turned Daily Show writer, Kashana Cauley has met few genres she hasn’t excelled in, with fiction, humor, and essays in the New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic, and Tin House. Her Twitter, it goes without saying, is superlative: funny and often political and always smart. We can’t wait to see what she’ll bring to television.
How did you become the writer you are? I went to Housing Works for some of every day for two years and put words in word docs that sucked. I read people who were a lot better than me, paid attention to their plot, character and word choices, and worked very hard at cutting down the difference between our relative levels of quality. A few years into this process, I sucked a little less, and began to get published.
What are you working on now? What is at stake? Other than work, a couple of essays and a fresh draft of the novel I’ve been working on a while.
What is your proudest achievement? Your greatest challenge? Once upon a time, when I was a lawyer, I won a Second Circuit prisoner litigation case where the deciding judge complimented me by name for my brief and argument in one of the decision’s footnotes, which never, ever, happens. My greatest challenge remains whipping my writing into the proper shape every day. New writing always has new problems that have to be solved in new ways.
What do you hope changes or improves in your field? I hope we continue to have the chance to hear diverse stories. We’re a diverse country, and our artistic narratives have to continue to reflect that.
What does Brooklyn mean to you? It’s a place where I can be myself, thanks to its racial, cultural, and professional diversity.
Who would you nominate for this list? Nina Pollari, a Brooklyn poet who runs the Popsickle Literary Arts Festival every June, and whose book Dead Horse discusses the body in visceral, raw terms.