Suspend Your Disbelief

Celeste Ng

Editor at Large

Celeste Ng is the author of the novels Everything I Never Told You  (2014) and Little Fires Everywhere (2017). She earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Pushcart Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Articles

Interviews |

Smudging the Boundaries of Otherness: An Interview with Hasanthika Sirisena

“I definitely find myself drawn to stories. Short stories have such an impact and I love that this can result from one deftly delivered blow or from creating a cacophony”: Celeste Ng chats with Hasanthika Sirisena about her debut collection, The Other One.


Shop Talk |

Guilty (Dis)Pleasures: 3 Things I Just Can’t Get Into

Do you remember a while back when goat cheese became a Huge Culinary Thing? And it started appearing everywhere—on pizzas, in salads, in ice cream, even in cheesecakes. Everyone I knew loved it. “Try it,” they kept telling me. “It’s so delicious.” But when I did, I couldn’t stand it. “Try it again,” they’d say, the next dinner out. “You know, it takes 10 times before your taste buds really decide if they like something.” They were so excited about it, and loved it so much, that I really, really, really wanted to like goat cheese. But I just didn’t. […]


Shop Talk |

Stories We Love: "Ralph The Duck," by Frederick Busch

Stories that move you to tears and make you laugh are rare, but this is one of them. Let me be clear: this story isn’t about a duck. Well, not exactly. It starts with a vomiting dog (stay with me, now) and ends with a dramatic rescue in a blinding snowstorm. In places it’s downright hilarious. The narrator is a night security guard at a small college with a dry wit, taking one class per term for free: My professor assigned a story called “A Rose for Emily,’ and I wrote him a paper about the mechanics of corpse fucking. […]


Shop Talk |

Stories We Love: "The Fall River Axe Murders," by Angela Carter

If this story were submitted to a MFA workshop, the results would be—forgive me—a hatchet job. Angela Carter’s “The Fall River Axe Murders” breaks all the rules we learn in writing classes. Let us count its sins: The entire 17-page story takes place in the few seconds before the Borden family—as in Lizzie Borden—wakes up on that fateful August morning. And I mean seconds: just as the maid’s alarm clock ticks to six o’clock but before the alarm bell rings.  There is virtually no action; almost all of the story is scene-setting and character description. The writing is, in typical Carter style, […]


Shop Talk |

Alan Heathcock, Hanna Pylväinen win Whiting Awards

Between the hurricane and the election, perhaps you missed it–but the winners of the Whiting writing awards were recently announced, and we’re delighted to note that two writers we’ve covered here at FWR, Alan Heathcock and Hanna Pylväinen, were among the winners! Congratulations, Al and Hanna! Further Reading: Read our review of Alan Heathcock’s collection Volt, in which reviewer Tyler McMahon notes, The prose moves like an old flatbed down a one-lane road: with confidence, with wisdom, and with a trail of meaning drifting skyward in the mind’s rear-view mirror. It is the poetry of bowling balls through shop windows—of […]


Shop Talk |

On debut novels and debut "grownup" novels…

It is probably ridiculous to even put “J.K. Rowling” and the word “emerging” in the same thought. (Excerpts from the Wikipedia article about her: “best-selling book series in history,” “net worth US$1 billion,” “forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of 2007,” and “Most Influential Woman in Britain”—and that’s only in the introduction.) But I’m tempted to look at Rowling’s first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, in the same light as a more traditional debut novel. I know, it’s NOT not her first novel. But even “debut” authors usually have a few books under their belts, even if those novels have never […]


Shop Talk |

Is it okay to say "Boring!" in workshop?

Author and teacher Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich says YES—and in fact, she hopes more people will say it. Writes Marzano-Lesnevich: [W]orkshop students tend to forget that they’re required to be there. I don’t mean in attendance, sitting around a large table, but rather in the page—in the world of the story. They’re required to read. They’re even required to finish the piece. This simple requirement changes everything about their relationship to what’s on the page. I’ve come to think that this gap is at least partially responsible for stories that do well in workshop sometimes floundering out there in the real world. […]


Shop Talk |

Are You There, Author? It's Me, A Lazy Student

As we’ve seen of late, sometimes professional book reviewers (or, rather, less-than-professional ones) forget that Authors Are People, Too. Well, so do book-reviewing students. Behold this exchange, in which a student turned to Yahoo! Answers to help write his book report on DC Pierson‘s The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To… and the author responded. Pierson posted the kid’s question and his response on his Tumblr feed, giving the kid some reasons he might actually want to read the book and suggesting strategies for doing it. Here’s an excerpt: I’m not going to sit here and act like […]




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