Shawn Andrew Mitchell’s stories, essays, reviews, and interviews have been published in Poets & Writers, Fairy Tale Review, The Rumpus, The Montreal Review, Glimmer Train’s Writers Ask, and elsewhere, as well as in the anthologies Hair Lit Volume One and Torpedo’s Greatest Hits. He received his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Shawn Andrew Mitchell beams in from the future of a quiet Sunday morning in South Korea to chat with Charles Yu on a quiet Saturday evening in Los Angeles. In Part I of their conversation the two writers discuss the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, consensual grammar, favorite gadgets, and more.
Fresh from a relationship with a feminist scholar, I was on guard against Shann Ray’s American Masculine before I even cracked its spine. With a title like that, I thought, you’d better have a gay man in Chelsea, a drag queen in Flint, a straight man watching a hired man wash his yacht, a man living out of the back of a Volvo in a Wal-Mart parking lot, a Hispanic man washing dishes, a Hispanic man climbing the corporate ladder; you’d better provide one heckova Whitmanian catalog of Masculinity in the U.S. of A. My suspicions only deepened as I […]
Friends say they saw our bromance bloom. I took them aside and said, admiringly, “that Nick Ostdick is alright.” Nick took them aside and said, wistfully, “Shawn seems like a cool dude.” There was a beer here, a beer there, always with chaperones. Then mano-a-mano happy hours that spilled into dinners that spilled into the manliest of frozen desserts that spilled into more happy hours. His fiancé called me his man-wife and warned me not to take him away. I was a groomsman in his wedding; he listened to my unnecessary dating life bemoanings. When I left for a semester […]
The title of Jim Shepard’s latest collection, You Think That’s Bad, could also be a creative mantra. Here the veteran writer discusses his research process, the apocalyptic state of the world, the (possible) irrelevancy of literature to the apocalypse, his epic mustache—and other matters of importance.
Shawn Mitchell gets under the hood of Pinckney Benedict’s Miracle Boy and Other Stories to see how the author manages to pack an apocalypse into each story. In his newest book, Benedict revisits his Appalachian heritage and peoples it with mythological bulls, dogs, mudmen, and robots.
Shawn Mitchell talks to Elif Batuman and Geoff Dyer (and they talk to each other) about obsession and addiction, the permeable line between labeling work fiction or nonfiction, Stendahl syndrome, and future projects.
In her pithy introduction to the recent Granta Book of the Irish Short Story, Anne Enright waltzes around the question that all anthology editors seem obligated to address: what makes a short story a short story? And, in the case of this anthology, what makes the Irish short story exceptional? Enright considers, rejects, and modifies many possibilities. She draws on that old master of the form, Frank O’Connor: the story is dictated by its needs alone; the story is always about human loneliness; the story thrives among “submerged population groups.” She quotes Sean Ó Faoláin’s demand that a story be […]
Graywolf published Benjamin Percy’s much-anticipated debut novel The Wilding earlier this week. Shawn Mitchell talks with the acclaimed story writer about making the transition between the short and long forms, his apprenticeship to the craft of story, the obsessions that drive his work, and how he manages to balance his fiction and family life with teaching, traveling on assignment for magazines like Outside and The Wall Street Journal, and contributing regularly to publications like Esquire, Men’s Journal, and Poets & Writers.