Pigeon Pages Interview
with Lilly Dancyger

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Do you have a bird story or favorite feathered friend?

My middle name—Tylluan—is Welsh for owl, and I’ve been obsessed with them all my life! My mother dreamt about owls when she was pregnant with me, and then when I was born with a bald head and big, round eyes and a cleft lip, I looked like one, so she gave me the name. My father was a sculptor, and made several owl sculptures when I was a baby that were really of me.

What is your most memorable reading experience?

Definitely finishing The Unbearable Lightness of Being when I was on the Eurail between Lyon and Paris when I was 18—I looked out the window for about five minutes and then immediately started the book over again at the beginning. That’s the only time I’ve ever done that!

What makes you most excited about Burn it Down?

I love thinking about women, and especially girls, reading it and realizing that they’ve been holding in anger that they don’t have to keep to themselves anymore. I really want it to spark something for people, and give them permission to let it out.

To tweet or not to tweet?

Definitely tweet. Twitter can be a hellscape but only if you don’t curate it right! Literary twitter is lovely, and it’s where I’ve met so many great people and gotten about 80% of the great career opportunities that have come my way in the last five years.

What books do you have in your bag right now?

Sharp by Michelle Dean—I just started it, but I love it so far!

Can you tell us your favorite rejection story?

I can’t think of one, probably because I erase rejections from my brain immediately and move on to the next submission!

What literary journals do you love?

Well, Pigeon Pages, obviously… Barrelhouse, Split Lip, Tin House, The Sun, The Paris Review

What shakes your tail feathers?


What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

Read a ton, go to events, pay attention to what’s being written and talked about right now. This is a community, get out there and be a part of it! Also don’t be afraid of twitter.

What other eggs do you have in your basket right now?

I’m editing my first memoir since joining the editorial team at BarrelhouseMercy by Marcia Trahan. It’s SO GOOD and it’s so fun to help bring it out into the world! My own memoir is also out on submission and there will hopefully be news about that soon… Plus editing for Narratively and Catapult, writing my column for Catapult, teaching writing classes, and trying to build up my roster of freelance developmental editing clients! You know, not much…


Lilly is reading with Pigeon Pages on Monday, October 10th, 2019.


Lilly Dancyger is a contributing editor and columnist at Catapult, and assistant editor at Barrelhouse Books. She's the editor of BURN IT DOWN, an anthology of essays on women's anger from Seal Press, and her writing has been published by Longreads, The Rumpus, Off Assignment, The Washington Post, Glamour, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and more. Lilly is a high school drop-out with a master's degree, and she spends way too much time on twitter.