In her debut collection, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, Danielle Evans’s characters, like most of us, struggle to belong. Their loyalties to place, to family, and to self are often divided. Melissa Scholes Young interviews the author to find out how the identities we claim or deny often define the people we become.
Jennifer Solheim talks with Sam Allingham about his debut collection, The Great American Song Book, as well as the role music played in shaping these stories, borrowed forms, and what it was like to release a book the week after the presidential election.
“This astonishing flip–that human perception is the world’s foundation–comes to the fore again and again in the bright worlds of Cooper’s meditations on care”: Denise Dooley on Desiree Cooper’s debut collection, Know the Mother.
“William Gass’s ‘In the Heart of the Heart of the Country’ stands as an answer for what it means to write from the Midwest. Told in thirty-six discrete sections, this story is a devastatingly gorgeous meditation on loss and the rhythms of the Midwestern landscape.
“Whatever happens next, it won’t be a wacky departure for me. I write about gay people and their families and how restless places like Florida suburbs set their inhabitants to dreaming of travel and fame. I write about the South and the literary life.”
“I write about these environments for the same reason I’ve put myself in them so many times. It’s a heightened experience. Things are unfamiliar and exciting and you get to redefine yourself, if only briefly.”
This week’s feature is Ben Stroud’s debut collection, Byzantium, which won the Bakeless Fiction Prize and was recently published by Graywolf. Stories in Byzantium originally appeared in such places as Harper’s, Ecotone, The Boston Review, One Story, Electric Literature, and New Stories from the South. Originally from Texas, Stroud holds a BA in English and History from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA in Fiction and a PhD in Twentieth-Century American Literature from the University of Michigan. He has received residencies from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and has taught literature and creative writing at universities in […]