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Ben Stroud speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Three Omens of Federico da Montefeltro,” which appears in The Common’s spring issue. The story fictionalizes a moment in the lives of historical figures from fifteenth-century Italy. In this conversation, Ben talks about finding his interest in writing stories set in ancient and medieval times, and what kind of research and play is required to blend fact and fiction in those stories. He also discusses his process for revising his work and teaching creative writing.
Podcast: Ben Stroud on “Three Omens of Federico da Montefeltro”
Ottaviano held the staff high and steady as Scipio tugged at the bunches of leaves fixed to its top.
“He remains content?” Ottaviano asked the giraffe’s keeper.
“He does,” the keeper said. “Twice since sunrise he’s moved his bowels.”
Ottaviano watched Scipio chew. With his knobbly horns, his puzzled hide, and his great neck, he had clearly been made for a far different existence in his home beyond the Nile, a home for which even the library’s grandest atlas possessed only the most rudimentary of maps. And yet, snatched from that home, confined to his pen, the animal betrayed neither alarm nor sorrow.