Derek Askey

Jan 25, 2024

"The Sun" Magazine

A Chat with Derek Askey

New Books Network 2024

Derek Askey is an associate editor on staff at The Sun magazine, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

What qualifies as a Sun essay? As noted by my guest, odds are that means an essay that’s intimate, even raw, with an author who dares to leave a lot of themselves on the page. In Derek Askey’ case, he’s often drawn to an essay with a mix of moods and writing that “looks you in the eye.” Of the three essays discussed, “Lawn Skeletons” by Tom McAllister might seem the most whimsical. How much can you learn from your neighbors’ outdoor decorations and lawn signs, after all? A lot is the answer, as the author goes deeper into also questioning his identity. The second essay discussed here, “The Ice Age” takes on the topic of depression and how even peeling an orange can prove difficult. A third essay, Daniel Donaghy’s “Fire” considers the physical, emotional and even spiritual costs of being poor and, at times, literally having to fight your way out of poverty. As James Baldwin has noted, it’s very expensive to be poor in many ways beyond the financial angle. The bonus round here? That would be Derek recounting his interview of Lynn Casteel Harper regarding dementia, which The Sun’s founder Sy Safransky is now beginning to deal with himself.

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