Leo Ríos speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Lencho,” which appears in The Common’s most recent issue, in a portfolio from the immigrant farmworker community. Leo talks about the process of writing and revising this story, which explores the friendship between two high school seniors in a rural community in California’s Central Valley. Leo also discusses his family’s generations-long history in farm labor, and how a class on reading poetry made him rethink prose writing on the sentence level.
Originally from the Central Valley of California, Leo Ríos studied English at UCLA and received an MFA from Cornell University. His first published story was selected by ZZ Packer as winner of The Arkansas International’s Emerging Writer’s Prize. His second published story appeared in The Georgia Review and was noted as a distinguished story in The Best American Short Stories 2022. Other publications include stories in The Rumpus, The Masters Review, and Joyland Magazine. A recent recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, he currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, where he teaches writing at the University of Arizona.
Read Leo’s story “Lencho” in The Common at thecommononline.org/lencho.
The Common is a print and online literary magazine publishing stories, essays, and poems that deepen our collective sense of place. On our podcast and in our pages, The Common features established and emerging writers from around the world. Read more and subscribe to the magazine at thecommononline.org, and follow us on Twitter @CommonMag.
Emily Everett is managing editor of the magazine and host of the podcast. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Putnam Books. Her stories appear in the Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, Tin House Online, and Mississippi Review. She was a 2022 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow in Fiction.