Archive for the ‘News and General Posts’ Category

Brad Watson’s story,”Vacuum,” appears in Granta 109.  The literary magazine interviewed Watson about the story and his craft choices.  Here’s a snipet of that conversation:

GRANTACan you explain why you chose to leave all the family members in the story unnamed? What did this provide you with as the writer, and/or what do you think it provides us with as readers? For all the anonymity this tactic might produce, the story feels almost wincingly intimate.

WATSON: I’m not sure. I wrote the first paragraph, with that image of the vacuuming and the anger, quickly, in longhand in my notebook. After a long time of wanting to write a story from that image, this paragraph suddenly came out. It may have seemed right to say ‘the mother’ and ‘the boys’ because that was so strongly the picture I had in mind: in black-and-white, initially from a diffuse or omniscient perspective. It’s possible that I instinctively entered the story with a somewhat archetypal sense of its sources. Given that the impulse seems to have been largely emotional, this possibly makes sense. It seemed natural, also, to give names to the supporting characters, as if (as you suggest) naming them removes them some elemental distance from the central emotional content or development in the story.

To read the entire interview, click here.

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Photo by Nell Hanley

So I’m deviating a little from the general theme of this blog.  The next book I’ll be reviewing is Brad Watson‘s Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, a collection of short stories published by W.W. Norton.  Watson–author of the collection, Last Days of the Dog-Men, and the novel, The Heaven of Mercury–wrote a story that appeared in The New Yorker in April 2009.  “Visitation” really struck a chord with me because it covers themes and the subject matter that I’ve explored in my writing.  In this story, a divorced man contemplates his role as father to his son and wrestles with the idea of how to connect with him during the boy’s visit.  When I saw “Visitation” included in Watson’s new collection, I knew that I needed to get the book and spread the word about it to other readers.

To read “Visitation,” click here.

Alex Taylor’s debut collection of short stories, The Name of the Nearest River, is published by Sarabande Books. From the Publisher:

Alex Taylor lives in Rosine, Kentucky. He has worked as a day laborer on tobacco farms, as a car detailer at a used automotive lot, as a sorghum peddler, at various fast food chains, as a tender of suburban lawns, and at a cigarette lighter factory. He holds an MFA from The University of Mississippi and now teaches at Western Kentucky University. His work has appeared in Carolina Quarterly, American Short Fiction, The Greensboro Review, and elsewhere.

Photo by Miriam Berkley

From the author’s website:

Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida and earned her MFA at Emerson College. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, the 2009 Julia Peterkin Award, and the 2009-2010 Emerging Writer Lectureship at Gettysburg College. Formerly an assistant editor at Ploughshares, Laura is currently a fiction editor at West Branch and the assistant editor of Memorious, an online journal of new verse and fiction. She has taught writing at Emerson College, Grub Street, and in PEN/New England’s Freedom to Write Program. Her fiction has or will soon appear inOne Story, Boston Review, Epoch, The Literary Review, American Short Fiction, StoryQuarterly, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008, Best New American Voices2010, and The Pushcart Prize XXIV: Best of the Small Presses, among other publications. The winner of the Dzanc Prize, Laura’s first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was published by Dzanc Books in October 2009 and was a Holiday Pick for the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” Program. She is currently at work on new stories and a novel.

Click here to read van den Berg’s devastating and beautifully written story, “Up High in the Air.”

The New Yorker released its list of 20 of the best writers under 40 earlier two weeks ago, which corresponds to the overall theme of this site (though some question the classification of “young fiction writer”).  Among the writers on the list is C.E. Morgan, author of All the Living.  Her story, “Twins,” (subscription required) and a short Q&A can be found in the summer fiction issue of the magazine.  Since I wasn’t able to interview Ms. Morgan when I reviewed her book, and because there are very few interviews with her on the web, I decided to link The New Yorker‘s Q&A to this site.

Here’s an excerpt:

The New Yorker:  How long did it take you to write your first book?

C.E. Morgan:  The first draft was written in fourteen days. The editing was completed in the course of two semesters in graduate school.

Click here to read the entire Q&A.

Scott Blackwood discusses the setting of We Agreed to Meet Just Here, prior to its publication, with the Austinist.

I set it there for several reasons: at the turn of the century and into the 1920’s, Deep Eddy was a wilderness that brushed up against the city. People camped and hunted there (and had for thousands of years—the Tonkawa were mainstays along the river). There was a huge boulder that stuck out of the river, off the shore where the Deep Eddy Pool is now, and people flocked there to dive off and swim in the current. But the current (the deep eddy) was dangerous, too, and drowned a number of people. They later dynamited the boulder but the area kept the name.

Click here to read the entire interview.

From the author’s website:

[Scott Blackwood’s] novel We Agreed to Meet Just Here (New Issues Press, 2009) won the AWP Prize for the Novel, the Texas Institute of Letters Award for best fiction, and was named a best book of 2009 by the San Antonio Express-News.  His award-winning collection of stories In the Shadow of Our House was published by SMU Press in 2001. His fiction has appeared most recently in American Short Fiction, the Gettysburg ReviewBoston Review and Southwest Review, and the title story from his collection is featured on the New York Times Book Review’s “First Chapters” website.

To read Blackwood’s story, “Indians,” published by Boston Review, click here.