Leyna Bohning

Fiction | Cleveland State University | Class of 2021

The elevator pitch is Karen Joy Fowler's We Are Completely Beside Ourselves grabs a cup of coffee with Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone. Leyna's novel is about a dysfunctional family where the parents, not-so lovable academics, use their children as willing yet unwitting guinea pigs for a lifelong sociological experiment. What follows is both a nuanced coming-of-age story where a young woman becomes a single parent to her two younger brothers, and a sharply comic riff on parenting gone wild. —Imad Rahman


About Leyna

Leyna Bohning is a NEOMFA graduate in fiction and a former Graduate Assistant at the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. She received her BFA in Creative Writing from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she was the co-Editor for Underground Pool and an intern for The American Poetry Review. When she’s not writing she’s teaching herself Korean, taking polaroid pictures, or doing paint-by-numbers.

Your advice to an incoming MFA student? (or the best piece of advice you received as a young writer?)

You can be whatever writer you want to be. I got my BFA surrounded by writers who were all writing literary adult short stories and I thought that was what I had to do. I came to the NEOMFA and realized I could do whatever I wanted to do and write whatever I had to write. Don’t cater to the class’, the professor’s, the school’s tastes. Write to your own tastes and I can promise the authenticity will shine through and make you a better writer. If you write to cater to an audience that’s not your own, you will easily lose your passion of writing.

What’s your preferred method for eating a cupcake? Frosting first, then cake? Bottom then top? Equal rationing of frosting to cake? Please describe.

Rip the bottom half off the cake part of the cupcake and place it on top of the icing so that you have a little cupcake sandwich. Eat it as you would a burger.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

Robert Capa’s Slightly Out of Focus; Korean grammar workbook; RocketBook flashcards, half filled out; vaccine card; water bottle that needs refilled soon; Dr. Pepper cream soda; ChapStick; a fan; James E. Lewis Jr.’s The Burr Conspiracy; cat nail clippers; a projector clock; Roku remote; bobby pins.

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English Department
Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Ave., RT 1815
Cleveland, Ohio  44115