Ep. 78: Kayla Cayasso | University of Central Florida
What’s it like writing historical fiction in an MFA program? On this episode, Kayla Cayasso tells Jared about the family histories and archival research that informed her collection portraying families affected by generational trauma. She also talks about the unique role of Florida in Southern literature, the advantages of multi-genre workshops, and the importance of Black and Brown representation in literature.
Kayla Cayasso is an Afro-Latina writer and poet from North Florida. She is a recipient of the 2012 Hollins Creative Writing Book Award, the Florida A&M University Graduate Feeder Fellowship, and placed first in Fiction in the 2021 FAMU Annual Writing Contest. She has stories, poetry, and essays published in CaKe Literary Journal, Olit Magazine, Hyacinth Review, Jabberwock Review, The Amistad, River & South Review, Saw Palm, and elsewhere. Kayla graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2023, where she received a Creative Writing MFA in fiction. Her thesis, a historical fiction collection titled Save the Drowning Child, draws on traditional elements of Southern Gothic, horror, and magical realism to explore the impacts of colonialism and the Maafa on the North Florida region and its Black and Brown peoples. Find her at her website, cayassokg.wixsite.com/writes, and on Instagram @while.smoke.rises.