Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Bye’

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Thoughts from the Hopwood Room: Kathryn Davis and the Process of Revision

Editor’s Note: The Hopwood Room Roundtable is a weekly event in which visiting writers of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing discuss their work and the writing life with the University of Michigan’s student body, faculty, and the local literary community. Despite the ongoing gloom of this Midwestern winter, Kathryn Davis filled the Hopwood room with writers eager to ask her questions. Davis told us that she loves answering reader questions. “You never know what somebody’s going to ask you.” It seems simple now to write this out, but I suppose you never know what you really think […]


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Thoughts From the Hopwood Room: Karen Russell on Earning Your Endings

Editor’s Note: The Hopwood Room Roundtable is a weekly event in which visiting writers of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing discuss their work and the writing life with the University of Michigan’s student body, faculty, and the local literary community. Inside the Hopwood Room, friends and colleagues caught up over coffee and cookies, discussing avalanche survival tactics and personal rules about never living in alligator-populated states, awaiting the main event: an in-the-flesh Genius. When Karen Russell—novelist, short story writer, MacArthur Genius Fellow, and probably the most easy-to-be-around and gracious person you’ll ever encounter—entered the room, which was […]


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From Acorn to Oak: On the Story Origins of Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

In 2009, Narrative Magazine published Anthony Marra’s short story “Chechnya.” He was a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop then and “Chechnya” was his first published story. It won a Pushcart Prize before Marra expanded it into his first published novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, released this week by Hogarth. Lauded by Ann Patchett for being the most “ambitious and fully realized” first novel since Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena connects the lives of six characters surviving the dense hellscape of war-torn Chechnya, 1994-2004. I finished the novel two days before last […]


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Post-love Stories We Love: "Day Million," by Frederik Pohl

Once upon a time in Seattle I lived with a lawyer, a librarian, an engineer, and a retailer. We threw dance-y parties and hosted champagne and apricot scone brunches. We read by the fireplace and played after dinner games of Settlers of Catan. And although we did not know one another prior to moving in together—we met the old-fashion way, on craigslist—we became close. It started with the lawyer, and after a time the whole house was online dating. They, like many twenty-odds, were using OkCupid—“the Google of online dating.” Soon, our wholesome after dinner board games changed to after […]


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A Local Kind of Love

Engaged and opening a bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michael Gustafson and Hilary Lowe are in love, with each other and with books. Literati Bookstore, currently Gustafson and Lowe’s labor of love (the floors are going in today), is scheduled to open late next month. Today, on the Literati Bookstore blog, Gustafson and Lowe offer a list of their favorite love stories. Take a look, add to their list, and follow the progress of some serious literature lovers. Love is everywhere: in our protagonists, our antagonists, and our favorite books. Today, Hilary and I quickly scanned our personal bookshelves […]


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Fiction Writers Review Guilty Pleasure Reads Confessionals

Airports. Vacation spots. Subway commutes. Sunday. For whatever reason, even into the most well-read literary life a little twaddle reading does fall. At the risk of surrendering any and all professional credibility, the Fiction Writers Review editorial staff kindly confessed to their favorite guilty pleasure reads. And they don’t plan on giving them up for their New Year’s resolution. Brandon (Assistant Editor): Slog comments. Someone from NPR once said, “online comments are the digital equivalent of the loudest drunk in the bar.” The Slog, Seattle’s cleverly vulgar news and culture blog, gets pretty surly around closing time (especially when race […]


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Stories We Love: "Christmas Eve"

The afternoon I sat in a lawn chair on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street in front of my house reading Maeve Brennan’s “Christmas Eve” a gang of basketball players wearing flashing neon onesies, singing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” could have committed an armed robbery on my neighbor’s house—and if we’re to venture further down the path of hyperbole, their get away car would have been a hot air balloon—and I would have failed to notice the entire event. It was August 8, 2009, my mother’s birthday. She would have been 60, my […]




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