Amy Hempel is the author of two collections of short stories, Reasons to Live (Knopf, 1985) and At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom (Knopf, 1990). Individual stories have been published in such magazines as Mother Jones, Grand Street, the Missouri Review, and Vanity Fair, where she later became a contributing editor. Her stories have been translated into twelve languages and anthologized in this country and abroad and have been included in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, and The Best of the Missouri Review: Fiction, among others. Her nonfiction regularly appears in Vanity Fair, the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Interview, and elsewhere. 
Sep 01 1992
An Interview with Amy Hempel
It doesn’t work to just say what happened. Even though the thing that happened presumably is this huge thrilling terrifying thing, you have to be mindful of the point where it stops being your story and becomes the story’ story. If you’re intent on holding it to the facts, you will miss that point. I recently contributed an essay to a book in which twenty-some fiction writers and critics were asked to write about a movie that had changed their lives. In this essay we were instructed to be very personal, so for the first time I wrote about things I’d written about in my short stories as true autobiography: this is what happened. I found it really unnerving and not as interesting as the bits that had formed composites in the stories.
Mar 01 1985
Today Will Be A Quiet Day
“I THINK IT’S the other way around,” the boy said. “I think if the quake hit now the bridge would collapse and the ramps would be left.” He looked at his sister with satisfaction.