Interview with Norman Rush at the Tin House Blog

Interview Image Tin House

In one of those moments in which one is fully willing to question whether one’s faculties are deceiving one in some callous, sadistic way, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite writers and–why stop there–personal heroes, Norman Rush. I’ve learned so much from his work that I couldn’t possibly break it down, though I will say that if I believe literature should aim far, wide, and thick, should seek to tackle the whole planet, human and non-, sun and earth, the borders carved by water and those made and unmade by mind, desire, money, etcetera, it’s largely due to him. And I do believe it. And I got to talk with him. And it was published at the Tin House blog.

“The Conversations” is a 2014 Pushcart Special Mention

Pushcart Special Mention

I just learned that my story “The Conversations,” published originally in The Collagist, was selected as a Special Mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize Anthology. It’s a crazy humbling place to be and from it I am shouting thanks to Matt Bell for publishing it and nominating it and imbuing it with whatever globules of sanguinity and mojo-magic it took to land it there.

And if you wanted to go to “The Conversations”:

And if you’re a DVD extras junkie, here’s some behind-the-curtainalia conducted by Joseph Scapellato:

“Woodrow Wilson” is a 2013 Million Writers Award Notable Story

Edith and Woodrow Wilson Photograph

My story “Woodrow Wilson” has been picked as a notable story of 2013 in the Million Writers Contest. Check out the long list of stories here: And then go and read the story here:

Understories Enters the Ring


Along with fifteen other debuts, UNDERSTORIES competed on Thursday, September 19th in Late Night Library’s Second Annual Battle of the Books, hosted by Adam Wilson. The writer Rebecca Schiff read for me, and the dynamic duo of Schiff/Understories made it to the FINAL FOUR! Fellow Bellevue Literary Press book GHOST MOTH, by Michèle Forbes, was also in the FF, and eventually Hannah Gamble’s YOUR INVITATION TO A MODEST BREAKFAST was the Last Book Standing. Can’t thank Rebecca enough for donning the literary gloves and going for the glory.

“The Desert of Maine” Excerpt in Western Humanities Review

Western Humanities Review

I’m thrilled to have an excerpt from my ongoing work-in-progress, The Desert of Maine, in the latest issue of Western Humanities Review, which is themed “Historiography,” alongside work by Robert Coover, Shelley Jackson, Michael Martone, Danielle Dutton, and many others. Read the brilliant editor’s note here, and if you want a sneak peek of the opening of the story being read live in the “desert,” that would be here.

Unearthing Hidden Stories: Interview for Walnut Hill School for the Arts


In a busy summer, one of the highlights for me was a visit to the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, my second, this time for their summer program. During a workshop session, we played around with style and listened to what felt like a slew of versions of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” including a dub-step one that, to my surprise, brought on faces I’d only seen in “Calvin and Hobbes” when Calvin learns that he can make his face permanently really grotesque if he holds an expression long enough. In the evening I read from the thing I don’t know what to call (short story which is now in the land of Novella, which a friend and I like to pronounce as if it is a magical, sun-gilded Italian village perched on the Mediterranean in which people speak only in animated bursts of 10,000-30,000 words. Eventually, it’s looking as though Novella will turn into Novel). While at Walnut Hill, I got to sit down with alumna Evangaline Delgado, and she threw some great questions at me about Understories and the writing life.

Response to Mohsin Hamid’s Latest Novel at Late Night Library


Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is one of my favorite books of 2013 thus far. In “That Relentless Complicator of Lives,” I wrote a response to how it gleefully ignores and plays with genre boundaries for the fabulous website Late Night Library.

Late Night Library Logo

Cutthroat Composers, Satanic Finances, Celebrities and Fictional Characters Incarnate: Vica Miller Literary Salon

Packed House at Vica's Salon The Vica Miller Crew Tim Turnout Art Vica

This past week, I had the pleasure of reading at the Vica Miller Literary Salon, hosted by none other than Vica herself, who posed insightful, provocative questions throughout the evening. I shared the bill with Royal Young, who can be seen holding Fame Shark, his account of coming of age on the Lower East Side and his vexed, dogged relationship with the concept and pursuit of celebrity. Also on the bill were Lisa Dierbeck, who read from a hilarious work-in-progress about how suddenly coming into money can have unforeseen consequences–an ancient, even folkloric trope transposed seamlessly into contemporary Brooklyn, and Avital Chizhik, whose “Galatea, Galatea” was a metafictional work that called Cortázar to mind. I read from a work-in-progress myself, a story about two dueling composers whose opening I’d read at the Franklin Park Reading Series. The stance above is my “Q&A” pose.

“A Box of One’s Own” at Storyville


Storyville is a fantastic app that offers its subscribers a short story every week. The editors’ taste veers toward the eclectic and offbeat, and they’ve featured many writers whose work I adore and admire, from Claire Vaye Watkins to Joshua Cohen, Gregory Spatz to Marie-Helene Bertino. Needless to say, I’m thrilled and honored that they chose to showcase one of mine. In a brief background piece, I talk about the early influence of Monty Python, whose prints are all over this particular story.

Review at The Small Press Review

“Build an impenetrable wall from your stacks of gloomy realists, gouge out your eyes and sear your fingertips, for I present to you a collection of stories in which the author has had the gall, the coarseness, the utter audacity to have fun while writing.” 

Sam Moss’s generous and spirited review of Understories can be read here: And a nod to Mel Bosworth for starting and maintaining this superb site, and for all he does for small press books.