Suspend Your Disbelief

Jeremiah Chamberlin


Jeremiah Chamberlin teaches courses on Contemporary American Literature, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Literary Journalism at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is also a Contributing Editor for Poets & Writers Magazine. His fiction, criticism, literary interviews, and essays have appeared in such places as Absinthe, Flyway, Glimmer Train, Granta, The New York Times Book Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Vagabond, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. He is the co-author with Eileen Pollack and Natalie Bakopoulos of Creative Composition. Most recently, he is the recipient of a 2016-2017 Fulbright Research Scholarship.


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Banana Slicers and Michael Jackson's Rapid Response Team to Media Attacks

Two years ago, I invited Charles Baxter, Stacey D’Erasmo, Gemma Sieff, and Keith Taylor to join me on an AWP panel in DC to discuss the future of book reviewing and criticism, as well as their own work with The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Harper’s, and the Los Angeles Times, respectively. It seemed a pressing question to ask at a time when newspapers were shuttering and what print publications remained were either eliminating or drastically reducing their book coverage, while at the same time the review was reaching near ubiquity. What would criticism look […]

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The State of the State of the Book

Fall has swept in to this part of Michigan, bringing with it the low, gray clouds and cool weather of October. But even with the overcast skies of the past few days, my spirits are still high after our State of the Book literary symposium two Saturdays ago. Nearly 900 people attended the symposium’s seven events, which stretched over eleven hours. And more than 30 authors with Michigan roots participated in the day’s readings, panels, and conversations. We also had the next generation of authors on hand. In fact, they kicked off the event! 826michigan timed this year’s OMNIBUS anthology […]

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Great Write Off Winners 2012

Well, friends, the numbers have been crunched and the checks are in and I’m happy to report that you helped us raise nearly $15,000 last week during The Great Write Off. We can’t thank you enough for your generosity. Truly! Thanks also to the Undergraduate English Association (UEA) and the Undergraduate Opportunity Program (UROP) here at the University of Michigan. These students helped orchestrate the write-a-thon at Espresso Royale for three days, and they were our ambassadors at The State of the Book last weekend–ushering, welcoming our guests, staffing the information table, and making sure that audience surveys were completed […]

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Book-of-the-Week Winners: God Bless America

Our most recent feature was Steve Alomond’s God Bless America, and we’re pleased to announce the winners: Eugene Cross (@EugeneCross1) Linley McCord (@linleyrae) Carole Anzolletti (@CAnzolletti71) Congrats! To claim your free copy, please email us at the following address: winners [at] If you’d like to be eligible for future giveaways, please visit our Twitter Page and “follow” us! Thanks to all of you who are fans. We appreciate your support. Let us know your favorite new books out there!

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Philip Levine Inspires at The Great Write Off

Just after noon on Friday, the typewriters in Ann Arbor’s Espresso Royale quieted. It was Day Three of The Great Write Off, but the pause had nothing to do with fatigue. Philip Levine, former Poet Laureate of the United States, had just walked in the door! I don’t know who was smiling more as I rose from my table to greet him–him, me, or the students writing in the coffee shop. We’d been anticipating his arriving in Ann Arbor for The State of the Book the following day, but we hadn’t expected him to drop in on the write-at-thon itself. […]

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Why write, Why I write, Why a Write-a-Thon

According to our official press release, the goal of The Great Write Off is to bring attention to the important work that the non-profit literary organizations partnering for The State of the Book are doing for and on behalf of young writers, and to raise much needed funds for their operation. But we also wanted it to be fun! And perhaps just as importantly, we wanted to give people the permission to write. As a writer who also loves teaching and editing and working for FWR, I know how easily my creative work can end up taking a backseat. To […]

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The Great Write Off: Dispatch from Ann Arbor – Day One

Day One of The Great Write Off dawned cool and foggy here in Ann Arbor. My wife and I had had to turn the furnace on for the first time this weekend, and the leaves have already started to turn on our block. For the past week the students in my Michigan Lit course here at the University of Michigan have been reading Charles Baxter’s Feast of Love, in anticipation of his arrival for Saturday’s The State of the Book symposium. And we’ve been talking a lot about the Midwest and weather. (After all, who captures the subtlety of Michigan […]

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Book of the Week: God Bless America, by Steve Almond

Our new feature is Steve Almond’s most recent story collection, God Bless America, published last year by Lookout Books. Almond’s books include three collections of short stories: My Life in Heavy Metal, The Evil BB Chow and Other Stories, God Bless America; three works of nonfiction: CandyFreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America, (Not That You Asked), Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life; and three DIY books: Letters From People Who Hate Me, Bad Poetry and This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey. He lives outside of Boston with his wife and children. Almond is equally well […]

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Book-of-the-Week Winners: The Law of Strings

Our most recent feature was Steven Gillis’s The Law of Strings, and we’re pleased to announce the winners: Jesse (@braincandybr) jamey hatley (@jameyhatley) C.R. Baker (@BornLiar) Congrats! To claim your free copy, please email us at the following address: winners [at] If you’d like to be eligible for future giveaways, please visit our Twitter Page and “follow” us! Thanks to all of you who are fans. We appreciate your support. Let us know your favorite new books out there!

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Book of the Week: The Law of Strings, by Steven Gillis

Our new feature is Steven Gillis’s most recent story collection, The Law of Strings (Atticus Books, 2012). Gillis is the author of four previous novels, Consequence of Skating (2010), Temporary People (2008), The Weight of Nothing (2005), and Walter Falls (2004), as well as an earlier story collection, Giraffes (2007). He is also the founder of 826michigan and the publisher of Dzanc Books—one of the great contemporary forces in indie publishing. In the introduction to Tyler McMahon’s recent interview with Gillis, he describes the collection as “strange, surprising, and ever original.” As McMahon notes, the collection “features magicians, tightrope walkers, […]