archives submissions blog (dis)likes

out now!

Are You Lonesome Tonight?
Alison Christy

Space is Our Future
Michelle McMahon

The Weirdest Thing
Grant Flint

Sunsets Unlimited
Stephen Graham Jones

489 Points
Andrew Borgstrom

Rain Escape
Lydia Conklin

They Shared an Egg
John Dermot Woods

First Book Roundtable Discussion
Kyle Beachy, Jedediah Berry, Andrew Ervin, Roxane Gay, Rachel B. Glaser, Julia Holmes, Caitlin Horrocks, Holly Goddard Jones, Tom McAllister, Laura van den Berg, Kevin Wilson, Mike Young

Kyle Beachy is the author of The Slide (The Dial Press, 2009). He lives in Chicago and teaches writing and literature at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Univeristy of Chicago's Graham School, and Roosevelt University. His short stories and essays have or will appear in St. Louis Magazine, Another Chicago Magazine, as a Featherproof Mini-Book, and elsewhere.

Jedediah Berry's novel The Manual of Detection (Penguin, 2009) won the William L. Crawford Award and the Dashiell Hammett Prize, and is a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. His short stories have appeared in journals and anthologies including Conjunctions, Chicago Review, Best New American Voices, and Best American Fantasy. He is an editor at Small Beer Press.

Andrew Ervin's first book, a collection of novellas titled Extraordinary Renditions, will be published by Coffee House Press in September. His fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, Fiction International, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Louisiana, but that is about to change.

Roxane Gay's first collection, Ayiti, will be released in the Fall of 2010 (Artistically Declined Press). Other work appears or is forthcoming in Mid-American Review, DIAGRAM, McSweeney's (online), Gargoyle, Annalemma and others. She is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Illinois University and co-editor of PANK. Find her online at

Rachel B. Glaser is the author of Pee On Water (Publishing Genius Press 2010). Her stories have appeared in 3rd Bed, New York Tyrant, Unsaid and others. She currently lives in Easthampton, MA with the author John Maradik. 

Julia Holmes was born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and grew up in the Middle East, Texas, and New York. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program in fiction, and lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel, Meeks, will be published by Small Beer Press in July.

Caitlin Horrocks is author of the story collection This Is Not Your City (Sarabande 2011). Her stories appear in The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2009, The Pushcart Prize XXXV, The Paris Review and elsewhere, and have won awards including the Plimpton Prize. She lives in Grand Rapids MI, where she is an assistant professor at Grand Valley State University.

Holly Goddard Jones is the author of Girl Trouble, a collection of short stories. She teaches at UNC-Greensboro.

Tom McAllister's first book Bury Me in My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father, Football, And Philly (Villard/Random House) was released in May 2010. His shorter work has appeared in several publications, including Black Warrior Review, Barrelhouse, and Storyglossia. A 2006 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is currently a Lecturer in the English Department at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida and earned her MFA at Emerson College. Her fiction has appeared in One Story, American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008, Best New American Voices 2010, and The Pushcart Prize XXIV, among others. Laura’s first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, October 2009), was selected for the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” Program and long-listed for both The Story Prize and the Frank O’Connor Award. She was the 2009-2010 Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College and is the recipient of the 2010-2011 Tickner Fellowship at the Gilman School.

Kevin Wilson is the author of the story collection Tunneling to the Center of the Earth (Ecco/Harper Perennial, 2009). His fiction has appeared in Tin House, One Story, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He lives in Sewanee, TN.

Mike Young is the author of We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough (Publishing Genius Press 2010), a book of poems, and Look! Look! Feathers (Word Riot Press 2010), a book of stories. Recent work appears in American Short Fiction, LIT, and Washington Square. He co-edits NOÖ Journal and Magic Helicopter Press. He lives in Northampton, MA.


Read the roundtable dicussion in its entirety, or in sections:

  • Introductions
    • As we were thinking of the list of writers to ask to participate in this conversation, we were struck by how different each of your books was from the others. Some of them are more traditional story collections, some are novels, or hybrids forms, or novellas; they range in genre and style, some of you have books with big New York publishing houses and some of you are with small or indie presses...

  • Story collections v. novels and the selling of "strange" books
    • Overall, I ended up feeling that the resistance to short story collections was both very real and overstated.

  • Following the path from sale to publication, and the process of editing
    • The first thing my (young and very smart) editor sent me was a ten-page, single-spaced memo about the book, which made clear both how well he understood what I was trying to do and how much he believed remained to get done. I recall my stomach plummeting.

  • Readying the book for publication (ordering stories, cover design)
    • I pushed for a skateboarding buddy of mine, the cartoonist Anders Nilsen, to get a shot at the cover. So he did and my editor was into it, everyone was into it, and then the oddest thing happened: one of the country's larger book retail outlets said they didn't like the cover, enough that they'd reduce their order unless we changed it.

  • Touring & promotion
    • I have now learned what is worse, having no one come to a reading, or having one person. The answer is: one person. With no people, you can run back to the hotel and eat a pizza and watch tv in your pj's.

  • What's next?
    • When and how do you transition from the public side of things (readings, promotion, etc.) and into a new project?