GEORGE SAUNDERS ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

George Saunders

Hi Everyone,

Well, I’m not going to lie. It was one of the top ten thrills of my life speaking with George Saunders. I was so excited, I thought I might spontaneously combust partway through the interview. But he could not have been more unpretentious, kind, and engaging. I learned so much from him, and hope you do too! Every story he writes reminds me that we are all multifaceted and precious, despite our flaws–what a gift to focus on our shared humanity, especially these days.

Thanks are in order:

I am so grateful to George Saunders. He agreed to this podcast as a benefit for Pages Bookshop in Detroit.

The Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan bought ten copies of Liberation Day for their patrons from Pages Bookshop, so this was a great community collaboration.

In addition, my gratitude to fellow writers Jenn Goddu, Linda Downing Miller, Ellen Birkett Morris, Suma Rosen, Julie Ann Stewart, Laura Hulthen Thomas, and Gloria Whelan for their incisive questions, and for participating in the class!

Please read “Mother’s Day” before listening to our discussion. It’s available in his new book, Liberation Day, or in The New Yorker, or for free as a New Yorker Fiction Audio Selection.

And feel free to enjoy the episode on

Anchor:

Spotify

Apple

Amazon Music

or wherever you get your podcasts.

Check out this wonderful article (one of many!) about this new collection: The sweet humanity

Next month I’ll be talking to Toni Ann Johnson author of Light Skin Gone to Waste about a story from her Flannery O’Connor Award-winning collection.

Thanks for tuning in, everyone.

Kelly

PS: We had some technical difficulties. At one point you might hear some garbage trucks in the background, at another point we got cut off mid-sentence (talking about the hot hands) and had to continue that conversation near the end of the recording, but I managed to edit out most of it, and then I handed it over to podcast engineer, Andrew Mason, at Upwork who managed to clean up the rest. Thanks, Andrew!

PSS: If you would like a transcript of this conversation, please contact me.

Bio: George Saunders is the author of nine books, including the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Man Booker Prize, and the story collections Pastoralia and Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2006 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2013 he was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and was included in Time’s list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.

His book is available from Pages Bookshop in Detroit, Bookshop, or Amazon.

PETER HO DAVIES ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Peter Ho Davies

 

Hi Everyone, 

     “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast where we read and discuss one short story with the author. Today I’ll be talking about the short story, “Chance,” with the author, Peter Ho Davies.

 ***Content warning: This episode deals with pregnancy/childbirth, miscarriages/abortion***

     Please read the story first, and then listen to the podcast, available on Spotify, Apple, Amazon Music, Anchor, as well as several other platforms.

     “Chance” was first published in Glimmer Train, and then later in Catamaran and Drum. It’s also the first chapter in his 2021 novel, A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself. I’m excited about this episode because after we delved into the creation of the story, Peter shared some insights into how a story morphs into a novel. 

     As usual, if you have any suggestions about writers/stories/people to feature on this podcast, please let me know! I’d love to hear your comments about the discussions as well. 

     And last but not least, thanks so much to the Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan for supporting this podcast!

      Enjoy!

      Kelly 

        Click here for a link to the story.

Please listen to the podcast on:

Anchor here.

Spotify here.

Apple here.

Amazon Music here.

Bio:

PETER HO DAVIES’s most recent books are the novel A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself, long-listed for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and The Art of Revision: The Last Word, his first work of non-fiction. His previous novel, The Fortunes, a New York Times Notable Book, won the Anisfield-Wolf Award and the Chautauqua Prize, and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His first novel, The Welsh Girl, a London Times Best Seller, was long-listed for the Booker Prize. He has also published two short story collections, The Ugliest House in the World (winner of the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize, and the Oregon Book Award) and Equal Love (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and a New York Times Notable Book).

Davies’ work has appeared in Harpers, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The Washington Post and TLS among others, and been anthologized in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. In 2003 Granta magazine named him among its “Best of Young British Novelists.”

Davies is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts and a winner of the PEN/Malamud and PEN/Macmillan Awards.

Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, he now makes his home in the US. He has taught at the University of Oregon, Northwestern and Emory University, and is currently on faculty at the University of Michigan.

Purchase Peter’s books here on Bookshop or on Amazon.

JACOB M. APPEL ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Jacob M. Appel

Hi Everyone,

I could not be more thrilled…today I am welcoming one of my all-time favorite writers to the podcast! Jacob M. Appel is so prolific it’s truly mind-boggling. I thought I’d read most of his books and it turns out I have read less than half!

I really loved “The Frying Finn” and hope you will too, but I also encourage you to check out Jacob’s website where he has many other stories available for free.

Before you listen to our discussion, please read Jacob’s story, “The Frying Finn” available at Agni online right here.

Also, I read a terrific article about how important it is for writers to study the work of writers they admire, which is what we are trying to do here on “Let’s Deconstruct a Story,” so here you go!

After you’ve read the story, please listen to our discussion here on Anchor, Spotify, Amazon, Apple, or any of the sites where you normally get your podcasts.

Jacob M. Appel on “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” on Spotify.
Jacob M. Appel on “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” on Anchor.

On October 1st, I’ll be talking to Peter Ho Davies

November 1st: Peter Orner

December 1st: Toni Ann Johnson.

Happy fall, everyone!

Kelly

PS: If you enjoy this podcast, please consider a contribution. I’m saving up for better editing equipment. I love hosting this podcast but, let’s face it, the sound quality could be better 🙂

Thanks to the Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan for committing to the purchase of ten books by each author I interview–and they are purchasing the books from our local bookstore, Pages Bookshop in Detroit. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more libraries followed suit? I’m working on it, and if you feel so inclined, you might ask your local library as well. I’d love to see short story writers earn a living wage.

The Liar’s Asylum by Jacob M. Appel

Bio:

Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize and was published by Black Lawrence in November 2013. He is the author of seven other collections of short stories: The Magic Laundry, The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street, Einstein’s Beach House, Coulrophobia & Fata Morgana, Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets, Amazing Things Are Happening Here, The Amazing Mr. Morality, The Liars’ Asylum and Winter Honeymoon; an essay collection, Phoning Home; a poetry collection, The Cynic in Extremis; four other novels novel: The Biology of Luck, The Mask of Sanity, Surrendering Appomattox, and Millard Salter’s Last Day; and a collection of ethical dilemmas, Who Says You’re Dead?
Jacob has published short fiction in more than two hundred literary journals including Agni, Alaska Quarterly Review, Conjunctions, Colorado Review, Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, StoryQuarterly, Subtropics, Threepenny Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and West Branch. He has won the New Millennium Writings contest four times, the Writer’s Digest “grand prize” twice, and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom competition in both fiction and creative nonfiction. He has also won annual contests sponsored by Boston Review, Missouri Review, Arts & Letters, Bellingham Review, Briar Cliff Review, North American Review, Sycamore Review, Writers’ Voice, the Dana Awards, the Salem Center for Women Writers, and Washington Square. His work has been short-listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008), Best American Essays (2011, 2012), and received “special mention” for the Pushcart Prize in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013.
Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown University, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia University, an M.S. in bioethics from the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, an M.F.A. in playwriting from Queens College, an M.P.H. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has most recently taught at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was honored with the Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003, and at the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City. He also publishes in the field of bioethics and contributes to such publications as the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the Hastings Center Report, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Times, The Providence Journal and many regional newspapers.
Jacob has been admitted to the practice of law in New York State and Rhode Island, and is a licensed New York City sightseeing guide.

Check out all of Jacob M. Appel’s books here on Bookshop.org or here on Amazon.

SELENA ANDERSON ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Selena Anderson

Hi Everyone,

Sorry this post is arriving a little late in the day, but I came home on Thursday to rain in the dining room and kitchen courtesy of a broken pipe in the upstairs bathroom–it’s been quite a weekend.

I loved talking to Selena Anderson about her Best American Short Stories (2020), “Godmother Tea!”

Please read the story below and then enjoy the podcast. I cannot wait to read her first collection sometime in the near future.

All best,
Kelly

Please read here:

Godmother Tea, Oxford American

Godmother Tea PDF

Please listen here on Anchor or here on Spotify.

Please contact me if you would like a transcript.

Bio: Selena Anderson is a writer from Texas. Her stories have appeared in Fence, BOMB, Conjunctions, The Baffler, Oxford American, and The Best American Short Stories 2020. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, The Henfield/TransAtlantic Prize, and The Texas Emerging Star Award. She is working on a novel.

LYDIA CONKLIN ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Hi Everyone,

This is a special edition of “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” recorded live on June 24, 2022, at Pages Bookshop in Detroit featuring Lydia Conklin in conversation with the novelist, Lillian Li, about her short story collection Rainbow Rainbow and specifically about the story “Sunny Talks” which first appeared in “One Story” in January of 2022.

You will love this conversation! Lillian Li (author of “Number One Chinese Restaurant”) was such an amazing interviewer! It made me think I should have guest interviewers on the podcast more often. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Because this is a live recording, the sound quality is a little bit wonky and if you would like the recording transcribed just reach out to me and I will be happy to send one to you!

This episode is part of a series of podcasts offered in collaboration with the Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan. The GPPL has committed to purchasing ten books by each author this season to give to their patrons! If you are a short story writer who has tried to make money in this game then you know what a big deal their support is to us! My hope is that other libraries will follow the GPPL’s lead and be inspired to buy books by these talented short story writers. I will be contacting many libraries this year to suggest this programming. Please feel free to do the same if you enjoy this podcast.

This podcast is also supported by Pages Bookshop in Detroit, and we would be extremely grateful if you purchased the book online through Pages. Local bookstores won’t survive without help from customers like you!

Thanks, everyone! See you on August 15th with Selena Anderson and “Godmother Tea.

Kelly

Please listen here on Anchor:

or here on Spotify. (You can also find this podcast on four other platforms)

Bios:

Lydia Conklin is an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Vanderbilt University. Previously they were the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Fiction at the University of Michigan. They’ve received a Stegner Fellowship in Fiction at Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a Creative & Performing Arts Fulbright to Poland, work-study and tuition scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Djerassi, Hedgebrook, the James Merrill House, the Vermont Studio Center, VCCA, Millay, Jentel, Lighthouse Works, Brush Creek, the Santa Fe Art Institute, Caldera, the Sitka Center, and Harvard University, among others. They were the 2015-2017 Creative Writing Fellow in fiction at Emory University. Their fiction has appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere, and is forthcoming from The Paris Review. They have drawn graphic fiction for Lenny Letter, Drunken Boat, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago and cartoons for The New Yorker and Narrative Magazine. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, will be published in June 2022 by Catapult in the US and Scribner in the UK.


Lillian Li is the author of the novel Number One Chinese Restaurant, which was an NPR Best Book of 2018, and longlisted for the Women’s Prize and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Granta, One Story, Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure, The Guardian, and Jezebel. Originally from the D.C. metro area, she lives in Ann Arbor.

Please purchase a copy of Rainbow Rainbow here from Pages or here from Bookshop.

MAURINE OGBAA ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Maurine Ogbaa

Maurine Ogbaa

Hi Everyone,

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast where we read and discuss one short story with the author. For this episode, please read “Goodbye” by Maurine Ogbaa, first published in Agni

**Please note we will be talking about suicide on this episode.**

This summer I am posting two episodes with writers who have not yet published their first short story collections. This podcast is dedicated to the work of Maurine Ogbaa and on August 15th I will be posting a conversation with Selena Anderson about her short story “Godmother Tea,” which was chosen for the Best American Short Stories anthology in 2020. I’m thrilled to highlight the work of these two new voices!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is offered in collaboration with the Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan. The GPPL has committed to purchasing ten books by each author this season to give to their patrons. If you are a short story writer who has tried to make money in this game then you know what a big deal their support is for us! My hope is that other libraries will follow the GPPL’s lead and be inspired to buy books by these talented short story writers. I will be contacting many libraries this year to suggest this programming. Please feel free to do the same if you enjoy this podcast.

Next up in the published authors series is Lydia Conklin on August 1st.

This podcast is also supported by Pages Bookshop in Detroit, and we would be extremely grateful if you purchased any of the books featured here through Pages. Local bookstores won’t survive without help from customers like you!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is available on six platforms. Please listen to the podcast on your preferred platform or on Anchor or Spotify below.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Please listen here on Anchor.

Or here on Spotify.

Kelly

Bio:

Maurine Ogbaa is a writer-scholar. Her current project is a short fiction collection which broadly examines intimacy, reconciliation, maturation, and intraracial diversity through stories about Nigerian Americans in Houston, Texas. Stories from this collection have been published in Callaloo, AGNI, and Prairie Schooner, which awarded her the 2020 Glenna Luschei Award. An alumna of the Tin House Summer Workshops, Rivendell Writer’s Colony, and the Pan-African Literary Forum (Ghana), she will be a writer-in-residence at Jentel Arts Residency in summer 2022.

Previously, Maurine earned an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Houston. Currently, she teaches graduate and undergraduate prose workshops and literature seminars at The University of Texas at Dallas.

And One Last Note:

Julia Glass visiting Pages Bookshop this past week. Her new book, Vigil Harbor, is terrific! I highly recommend it. 

She also had some summer reading recommendations for us, so I thought I would pass them on to you. Enjoy! 

The Golden Season

Homeland Elegies

Six Walks: In the Footsteps of Henry David Thoreau

Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Five Tuesdays in Winter (Also you can listen to the podcast episode of my interview with Lily King.)

ELLEN BIRKETT MORRIS ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Hi Everyone,

I’m thrilled to welcome Ellen Birkett Morris to the show today.

Please read her story “Inheritance” before listening to our discussion.

(Content warning: sexual assault and suicide)

During our talk, Ellen also mentioned a book by Ron Carlson called “Ron Carlson Writes a Story” which is out of print unfortunately but you might find a used copy here.

Next month, Rion Amilcar Scott will record his episode with me on June 28th from 6-7pm. Pages Bookshop in Detroit is sponsoring this virtual event; if you would like to sign up for it, you may register here:

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqceqqpj4oH90WB1dmqCvRaHNT-DQkmzUU

** Please read (or listen to) Rion Amilcar Scott’s New Yorker story, Shape-ups at Delilah’s,” beforehand.

Many thanks to the Grosse Pointe Public Library and Pages Bookshop in Detroit for their support of this podcast. Please let your local schools, libraries, and bookstores know about “Let’s Deconstruct a Story,” if you find the material valuable. LDAS is a labor of love, but every donation helps, and we are deeply grateful for them.

My conversation with Ellen Birkett Morris is available on Anchor and Spotify below but also at several other places including Apple Podcasts.

Anchor:

Spotify:

 

Enjoy!

Kelly

Bio: A native of Louisville, Ellen Birkett Morris is the author of LOST GIRLS, a short story collection, and SURRENDER, a poetry chapbook. LOST GIRLS is a finalist for the 2021 Clara Johnson Award for Literature and winner of the Pencraft Award for short stories. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from Queens University – Charlotte. Her short stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Shenandoah, South Carolina Review, Upstreet, and elsewhere.

Purchase “Lost Girls” from Bookshop or Amazon. Thanks!

SARA MAJKA ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to share my interview with Sara Majka about the title short story, “Cities I’ve Never Lived In.” Here’s a brief description of the collection from the publisher Graywolf Press:

“Fearlessly riding the line between imagination and experience, fact and fiction, the linked stories in Sara Majka’s debut collection offer intimate glimpses of a young New England woman whose life must begin afresh after a divorce. Traveling the roads of Maine and the train tracks of Grand Central Station, moving from vast shorelines to the unmade beds of strangers, these fourteen stories circle the dreams of a narrator who finds herself turning to storytelling as a means of working through the world and of understanding herself. A book that upends our ideas of love and belonging, and which asks how much of ourselves we leave behind with each departure we make, Cities I’ve Never Lived In exposes, with great sadness and great humor, the ways in which we are most of all citizens of the places where we cannot stay.”

Before you listen to our discussion, first please read “Cities I’ve Never Lived In” here.

Then enjoy our discussion here on Anchor:

 

Or here on Spotify:

 

Or wherever you get your podcasts!

Thanks,

Kelly

Sara Majka

Bio:

When she was young, Sara Majka’s family moved along the New England coast, living in Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and small towns in Maine. She received graduate degrees from Umass-Amherst and Bennington College and was awarded a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her first book, Cities I’ve Never Lived In, was published by Graywolf Press / A Public Space in 2016. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island where she teaches writing at RISD.

Sara Majka’s book can be purchased here on Bookshop and here on Amazon as well as directly from the publisher, Graywolf Press.

Upcoming shows:

June 1st: Ellen Birkett Morris

July 1st: Rion Amilcar Scott

July 15th: Maurine Ogbaa

August 1st: Selena Anderson

September 1st: Jacob M. Appel

October 1st: Peter Ho Davies

November 1st: Peter Orner

December 1st: Toni Ann Johnson

CAITLIN HORROCKS ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Life Among the Terranauts

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to the first “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” podcast offered in collaboration with the Grosse Pointe Public Library in Michigan. The GPPL has committed to purchasing ten books by each author this season to give to their patrons!

If you are a short story writer who has tried to make money in this game then you know what a big deal this is! My hope is that other libraries will follow the GPPL’s lead and be inspired to buy books by these talented short story writers. I will be contacting many libraries this year to suggest this programming. Please feel free to do the same if you enjoy this podcast.


Our first guest this season is Caitlin Horrocks, author of the story collections Life Among the Terranauts and This Is Not Your City, both New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice selections. Her novel The Vexations was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2019 by the Wall Street Journal.

Caitlin was gracious enough to speak with me twice over the past year despite having three kids under the age of three! The first time we talked about her story “Chance Me” at Pages Bookshop in Detroit in front of a Crowdcast audience. This time we discussed “The Oregon Trail,”  a story that delighted and baffled me in equal measure because I missed the central premise.

You will see. It was very very embarrassing! 

First, please read “On the Oregon Trail” by Caitlin Horrocks.

Then listen to our podcast available:

Anchor:

Spotify:

Apple, Podbean, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

 

Also, I kept my annotated copy of “Chance Me” so when you read Life Among the Terranauts please feel free to reach out if you would like to discuss that story as well.

Thanks,

Kelly

 

 

Caitlin Horrocks

Bio: Caitlin Horrocks is the author of the story collections Life Among the Terranauts and This Is Not Your City, both New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice selections. Her novel The Vexations was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2019 by the Wall Street Journal. Her stories and essays appear in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, The Pushcart Prize, The Paris Review, Tin House, and One Story, as well as other journals and anthologies. Her awards include the Plimpton Prize and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the MacDowell Colony. She is on the advisory board of The Kenyon Review, where she formerly served as fiction editor. She teaches at Grand Valley State University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with the writer W. Todd Kaneko and their noisy kids.

Life Among the Terranauts is available at the Grosse Pointe Library (for FREE–your very own copy!!) if you happen to live here, at Bookshop (where the purchase benefits “Let’s Deconstruct a Story”), or on  Amazon.

Kelly Fordon’s books are also available on Bookshop and Amazon and through Wayne State University Press.

If you would like to support this podcast, it would be greatly appreciated! Donations can be made on the main blog page.

 

 

LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY AND Q AND A WITH EDWARD BELFAR

A Podcast for the Story Nerds

Hi Everyone,

I’m thrilled to return to podcasting after a brief hiatus this winter. And I’m also a bit giddy because the podcast is now being produced in collaboration with the Grosse Pointe Library in Michigan.

The GPPL has committed to purchasing ten books by these authors to give to their patrons!

If you are a short story writer who has tried to make money in this game then you know what a big deal that is! My hope is that other libraries will follow the GPPL’s lead and be inspired to buy books by these talented short story writers. I will be contacting many libraries this spring to suggest it. Please feel free to do the same, if you feel so inclined!

The upcoming LDAS schedule includes:

Caitlin Horrocks
Lily King
Sara Majka
Ellen Birkett Morris
Maurine Ogbaa
Selena Anderson
Jacob M. Appel
Peter Ho Davies
Peter Orner
Toni Ann Johnson

The podcast starts up again on March 1st and will drop once a month on the first of the month. It’s available here and on many other podcasting platforms.

Please sign up for my newsletter if you would like more information about upcoming shows.

Tidbits:

This winter while on break, I was thrilled to learn about George Saunders’ Story Club offering on Substack. It’s a master class in craft all for the low low annual price of $50!

George Saunders is one of our greatest living writers, but he also seems like a person who has not lost hope. And that’s saying something. I don’t know about you, but these days I feel a little like my dog, Bruno, who just tore his CCL–still circumventing the yard but not going to win any races. However, every time I read George Saunders’ work, I feel better. Full stop.

Plus, Story Club is a blog devoted to dissecting stories by master writers. What could be better? Check out George Saunders’ Story Club here.

Another newsletter worth checking out is Natalie Serber’s Read.Write.Eat. Just plain fun– chockful of great intel for writers. Take a peek here.

I’ve also been carrying around Matt Bell’s Refuse to Be Done this winter. There isn’t much I haven’t heard in terms of writing advice, but this book is a notch above, and even though it’s “technically” meant for novelists, short story writers will benefit as well.

Here are two gems:

“If I find a fact or detail I want to include, I don’t write it down anywhere unless I can write it directly into the novel, either by finding an existing scene where it can live or by starting a new one centered on the fact or detail. That way, I don’t generate a separate document full of inert, non-novelistic prose, which feels so different from the kind of language I want my novel to contain. This practice has the side benefit of letting my research tell me what to write next: your research questions will guide you as powerfully as any whisperings of plot can, especially if you do your note-taking inside your novel, in the voice of the book.” Page 64

And:

“Set or reset the clock. One reason some early drafts feel baggy is that they’re taking place over too large a span of time, or else the span of time they cover simply isn’t defined yet. Once you’ve got some idea of what your novel’s plot is, can you determine the smallest span of time the book’s present action needs in order to unfold successfully?” Page 55

See you all on March 1st.

Please check out the Q and A with Edward Belfar below!

Kelly

Q and A with Edward Belfar

Edward and I met at a reading hosted by The Great Indoor Reading Series created by writer Treena Thibodeau in March 2020, as a way to connect and experience artistic community despite the challenges of social distancing during the COVID19 Pandemic.

This February selection with Edward is part of a Q and A series I will be offering occasionally in addition to the “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” podcast and operates under the same general principle, which is that one should read the story before listening to our discussion, so here’s a link to Wanderers by Edward Belfar.

Please read, and then enjoy our discussion below.

Thanks and Happy 2022 everyone!

I am hoping it will be better than the last two years, as I know we all are.

Kelly

Q and A 

Kelly: Please give us a brief two or three-line summary of “Wanderers.” I always like to know how writers see their own work.

Edward: The story concerns a chance encounter between an attorney named Peter Dolan and his one-time law school professor. Peter is sitting in a bar one rainy night, carrying on a half-hearted flirtation with the bartender, when a vaguely familiar-looking, elderly man enters. Before long, Peter recognizes the stranger as Professor Lawrence Whitfield, who had taught him constitutional law. The daunting figure Peter remembers from his law school days is no more. Now frail and confused, Professor Whitfield, having gotten lost and wandered far from home while running some routine errands, has come in to ask for directions. Out of concern for the older man’s safety, Peter decides to drive Professor Whitfield home himself—an act of kindness that evokes mixed feelings in its beneficiary.

Kelly: Do the characters from “Wanderers” appear anywhere else in your collection?

Edward: They do not. “Wanderers” is the title story of the collection in which it appears, which was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press in 2012. The book Wanderers does include two linked stories—“Roman Honeymoon” and its sequel, “Visitations”—which, respectively, portray a marriage in its early stages and again as it nears dissolution. The remaining stories are entirely self-contained but do have thematic ties. As is true of both Peter and the professor, the principal characters tend to be wanderers in one sense or another, never quite at home in the worlds that they inhabit.

Kelly: You have some amazing lines in “Wanderers:” Here are three of my favorites:

“The older I get, the less I understand. Parents become like children. Children disown you.”

Talking about his wife, Peter says: “Mine only threw me out. She kept everything else.”

Professor Whitfield says: “I do envy the young their expectations.”

Please tell us a little bit about how you came up with these lines. Did they come to you in the initial drafting of the story, or later, in revision?

Edward: I will take those in reverse. Professor Whitfield’s line is a comment on the indignities that come with aging and infirmity. When I wrote that, I may have been thinking about the lines from Yeats’s “The Tower”:
What shall I do with this absurdity —
O heart, O troubled heart — this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog’s tail?

The sour quip from Peter about his ex-wife reveals his lingering bitterness over his divorce and his estrangement from his children. The line beginning “parents become like children” further illustrates how confused and adrift he feels in middle age. He is as much a wanderer as Professor Whitfield. He has lost his family, does not place a great value on his professional accomplishments, and sees his best days as having passed long ago. The line also speaks to the experience of many adult children who have had the responsibility of caring for frail, elderly parents and suddenly found that the parent-child relationship has, in a sense, reversed. When the parents can no longer care for themselves, the adult children must take on a quasi-parental role, sometimes leading to resentment on both sides.

Unfortunately, I no longer have access to the earliest drafts of the story. It seems likely, though, that I gave all of those lines some thought and that they took their present forms during the revision process.

Kelly: The story is quite sad overall but there were some redemptive moments. At one point, Peter talks about how he saved a baby from a burning car, and I thought, this is a noble person. How would you describe him as a character?

Edward: Like most people, Peter has his share of noble and ignoble traits. With the dissolution of his family, he has let himself drift, drinking to excess and having short-lived affairs with his receptionists. At bottom, though, he is a kind, caring, generous person who never hesitates to help someone in distress, even at considerable cost to himself and even though the world does not always return his kindness. I do see his decision to come to the aid of his former professor as a redemptive act, in that his innate decency wins out over his inertia.

Kelly: How would you describe Professor Whitfield?

Edward: Once a formidable presence in Peter’s life, a man both admired and feared by his former pupil, Professor Winfield has been much reduced by age and illness. Sometimes, he seems confused and disoriented, but at other times, particularly when he turns his still caustic wit upon Peter, he appears as sharp as ever. Though aware of his physical frailty and even, if to a lesser degree, of his cognitive decline, Professor Winfield remains proud and defiant, chafing at what he perceives as the threats to his autonomy posed by his wife and Peter.

Kelly: What usually comes to you when you start drafting a short story? Character? Plot? Scene? Or is it different every time?

Edward: The origins differ from story to story, but often the kernel is an incident, whether observed or experienced first-hand, heard about, or stumbled upon in the course of my reading. In the case of “Wanderers,” someone had told me about an incident that was similar in its broad contours to what I would eventually set down on the page. The story I heard was not very detailed, and I did not do anything with it right away. For whatever reason, I was thinking about the incident again one day, and I began to reimagine the Good Samaritan in the story as a person who had once known and admired the Professor Whitfield character, rather than as the stranger that she was in real life. At that point, the story “Wanderers” began to take shape.

Kelly:  Since people are supposed to read the story before they read this interview, I’d like to ask about the ending. (spoiler alert!)
Peter seems to be escaping a bad scene at Professor Whitfield’s house, but, like the rest of us, I feel like he’s not going to escape for long. At least that’s the way I read it. Is that the way you meant it? Did it take you a while to come up with this ending, or did it come to you naturally?

Edward: The story was shorter in its earliest incarnation. I think it may have ended with Peter on the sidewalk, watching Professor Whitfield drive away. Unfortunately, I cannot be sure because those early drafts, which I composed two or three computers ago, are lost to me. At some point, though, I must have decided that Peter is not the sort of person who would let Professor Whitfield drive off into the rain; rather, his sense of responsibility would impel him to see to it that the professor got home safely. Having performed his good deed, however, Peter knows that he has done all he can, and witnessing the Whitfields’ quarrel, he feels like an intruder. He slips out of the house “quietly as a burglar.” The experience has left him shaken. Whether it will lead him to reevaluate the life he is living and change its direction is anybody’s guess.

Kelly:  In general, how do you know you’ve reached the end of a story?

Edward: As suggested by my previous answer, I do not always know immediately. Sometimes, I get it wrong. In general, I look for something—an image, an action, a line of dialogue—that will tie together all the various strands of the story and reveal something about what a character has learned or failed to learn or how he or she has changed or not changed. There is an element of intuition involved. Early in the pandemic, I took up the guitar again after not having played for many years. (Unlike my writing, my guitar playing is something I would not inflict on any audience.) I do not know enough about music theory to explain why, but in many common chord progressions, e.g., C→C diminished→G7, the ear perceives a building of tension. By following the G7 with a return to C, the player resolves that tension. I would liken the ending of a short story to that final C chord, in that it provides a similar sense of resolution. Of course, the analogy is not perfect, because the apparent resolution is not always quite that tidy. The future for Peter after he leaves the Whitfields’ house remains murky.

Kelly: Tell us a little bit about the novel you are shopping.

Edward: A Very Innocent Man is a satirical novel about a physician who seeks to become a celebrity television doctor but whose greed and amorality cause him to get into legal trouble and lose his medical license. Otherwise lacking in redeeming qualities, he is resourceful, and rather than giving up on his dreams of fame, he seeks to realize them by reinventing himself as a motivational speaker and life coach. In 2021, I came close to getting the novel published. One press did make me an offer but not a satisfactory one. A Very Innocent Man was also a finalist in Winter Goose Press’s fiction contest. I plan to continue shopping it around in 2022, and I hope that I will have better luck.

Kelly: I noticed you mentioned Caitlin Horrocks as one of your favorite writers and she will be on the podcast in March. I’d love to hear about a few of your other favorite short story writers. What do you love, in particular, about the short story?

Edward: What I love about the short story is the way it can illuminate character and experience and encompass an entire life in a handful of pages. There is a story of Chekov’s that I first encountered decades ago as an undergraduate and to which I keep returning. Titled “Grief” or “Misery,” depending on the English translation, it tells of one night in the life of a cab driver, a humble, unremarkable man who just lost his son to a sudden illness. Unable to contain his grief, he tries to speak of it to his passengers, but their interest in him extends only to how quickly he can get them where they want to go, and they react with indifference and scorn. In the end, because he has no one else to whom he can unburden himself, he relates the story of his son’s death to the mare that pulls his cab. In that single heartbreaking image, Chekov has somehow found a way to give expression to the most universal and yet ineffable of human experiences—that of grief.
If I absolutely had to name a favorite short story writer, I could not go wrong with Chekov. Economical yet meticulously detailed, his stories are almost always flawlessly constructed. What really sets his work apart, though, is the breadth and scope of his imagination, his uncanny ability to bring characters from all strata of society to vivid life.
Other short story writers whose work I greatly enjoy include, to name just a few, Guy de Maupassant, Isaac Babel, and Katherine Mansfield. Of Caitlin, I would add that she is not only a terrific writer but a very engaging and dynamic reader. I attended a reading of hers at the Writers’ Center in Bethesda, MD, in 2013, the year that This Is not Your City came out. The reading was more than worth the price of admission—which, in that instance, was a signed copy of the book, which I still have.

Thanks, Edward!

Bio:

Edward Belfar is the author of a collection of short stories called Wanderers, which was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press in 2012.  “Errors,” one of the stories in the collection, was chosen as the winning entry in the Sports Literature Association’s 2008 fiction competition.  His fiction and essays have also appeared in numerous literary journals, including Shenandoah, The Baltimore Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Potpourri, Confrontation, Natural Bridge, and Tampa Review.  He lives in Maryland with his wife and works as a writer and editor.

 

ALIX OHLIN ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Vancouver author Alix Ohlin among five finalists for 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds–those who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

This week, I’m talking to Alix Ohlin about her story “Quarantine” which was first published in The New Yorker, in 2017, and then later in her 2021 short story collection, We Want What We Want.

First please read the story “Quarantine” in The New Yorker here.

This story should be free and accessible (you may have to enter your email address) but if you have any issues, please click here.

If you would like a transcript of our discussion, please feel free to contact me as well.

Here’s the podcast on Spotify and Anchor.

Anchor:

Spotify:

Extras:

A link to Alix Ohlin’s essay in Lithub on How to Map the Shape of your Short Story, which we mention in our discussion.

A link to a portion of the Charles Baxter essay about the request moment.

Ohlin also mentioned this book by Joan Silber, The Art of Time.

Bio: Alix Ohlin is the author of six books, including the novel, Dual Citizens, which was short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and many other places. Her 2021 short story collection, We Want What We Want, was shortlisted for the 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. She lives in Vancouver, where she is the director of the UBC School of Creative Writing.

Alix Ohlin’s books are available on Bookshop here or on Amazon here.

***

Thanks also to Andrew Mason at Upwork for some help with editing this episode.

***

News:

I’m pausing “Let’s Deconstruct a Story until January 15th to have time to download and edit some previously recorded videos. Next season look forward to an outstanding line-up including Toni Ann Johnson and Caitlin Horrocks among others.

I’ll send more information sometime in December!

I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps! Thanks!



NATALIE SERBER ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Natalie Serber

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

Today’s guest is Natalie Serber. We are discussing her story “Children are Magic” which was originally published in One Story Magazine and is a part of her upcoming short story collection.

You can read the story Children are Magic here.

Enjoy! Kelly

And our discussion available on Anchor here:

Note use of strong language and adult content.

or on Spotify here:

Transcripts of our discussion are available upon request.

If you have any additional questions for Natalie, or suggestions for future shows, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Natalie Serber is the author of a memoir about her experience with breast cancer entitled, Community Chest, and a story collection, Shout Her Lovely Name, New York Times Notable Book, and an O, the Oprah Magazine Summer Read. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her fiction has appeared in One Story, Zyzzyva Magazine, Hunger Mountain, The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, and othersEssays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, O, the Oprah Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, and others. Currently at work on a novel with the working title, Must Be Nice, and a memoir entitled, Go Back to Sleep, you can visit her online at natalieserber.com and subscribe to her popular newsletter, read.write.eat.

News:

I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps! Thanks!



SEJAL SHAH ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Sejal Shah

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

Today’s guest is Sejal Shah. Her story “The Half King” is a part of her upcoming short story collection.

You can read the story online below.

Enjoy! Kelly

Story available here:

The Half King by Sejal Shah in The Literary Review

Discussion available here:

or on Spotify here:

Bio: Sejal Shah is a poet who works in prose, writing across genres and disciplines. She is the author of the award-winning debut essay collection, This Is One Way to Dance (University of Georgia Press, 2020). Her stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, Brevity, Conjunctions, Guernica, the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, Longreads, and The Rumpus. The recipient of a 2018 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in fiction, Sejal recently completed a story collection with images; her newer writing is about friendship, school, and mental health. She lives in Rochester, New York.

Sejal’s book is available here on Bookshop and here on Amazon.

News:

I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps! Thanks!



CLIFFORD GARSTANG ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”


Cliff Garstang

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

You can read the story online or you can download the PDF below.

Enjoy! Kelly

Stories available here:

Lost in Translation Online Here

Lost in Translation by Clifford Garstang

Listen to our discussion below. Please contact me if you need it transcribed.

 

Or on Spotify here:

Bio:

Clifford Garstang is the author of the novels Oliver’s Travels and The Shaman of Turtle Valley, a novel in stories, What the Zhang Boys Know, winner of the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction, and two short story collections, In an Uncharted Country and House of the Ancients. He is also the co-founder and former editor of Prime Number Magazine and the editor of the anthology series Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet. A former international lawyer, he now lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

In other news:

Natalie Serber and I are collaborating on a workshop based on her story “Children are Magic,” which was published in One Story. The first part of the workshop will be a roundtable discussion with participants about the story (in the vein of “Let’s Deconstruct a Story”). The second hour will include a writing prompt based on the story and time to share our work. Hope you will consider joining us for this fun event. Here’s the link to register.

Also, I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Any little bit helps! Thanks!



 

NOLEY REID ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Noley Reid

photo credit: Jason Wheat.

Hi Everyone,

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

If you enjoy the podcast, please let me know, and if you have any writers/stories you’d like to recommend, I’d be happy to hear about them.

Also, be sure to scroll down to the bottom where I am announcing the first “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” workshop with Natalie Serber!

Thanks,

Kelly

**Warning: This story includes a discussion of suicide.**

First, please read Noley Reid’s excellent story, “Coming Back,” which is available in Split Lip Magazine here.

Or you may download a PDF of the story here: “Coming Back” by Noley Reid

or on Spotify here.

A transcript of our conversation is available upon request.

Bio:

Noley Reid’s third book is the novel Pretend We Are Lovely from Tin House Books. Her fourth book, a collection of stories called Origami Dogs, is forthcoming from Autumn House Press. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Southern Review, The Rumpus, Arts & Letters, Meridian, Pithead Chapel, The Lily, Bustle, Confrontation, and Los Angeles Review of Books. Follow her on Twitter @NoleyReid and find out more about her writing and upcoming events at http://www.NoleyReid.com.

A novel by Noley Reid

“Pretend We are Lovely” is available at Bookshop here and on Audible here.

“So There!” is on Bookshop.org as well: https://bookshop.org/books/so-there/9781936205455.

“In the Breeze of Passing Things” is out of print but Noley has copies. If you are interested, feel free to contact me, and I will put you in touch with her.

In other news:

I’m happy to announce the first “Let’s Deconstruct a Story” workshop with Natalie Serber on October 13th at 6pm EST. We will be talking about her story, “Children are Magic” which was first published in “One Story” in 2019. More information is available here.

JEFF VANDE ZANDE ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

 

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are enjoying the last days of summer! I’m happy to have Jeff Vande Zande, a fiction writer from Michigan, on the blog today!

How this work:

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

***

Please read Jeff Vande Zande’s story, “Load” or listen to the MP3 recording here.

***

And then enjoy our discussion here:

or on Spotify here:

BIO:
Jeff Vande Zande teaches fiction writing, screenwriting, and film production at Delta College in Michigan. His award-winning short films have been accepted over 200 times in national and international film festivals. His books of fiction include the story collections Emergency Stopping (Bottom Dog Press) and Threatened Species (Whistling Shade Press). His novels include Into the Desperate Country (March Street Press), Landscape with Fragmented Figures (Bottom Dog Press), American Poet (Bottom Dog Press) and Detroit Muscle (Whistling Shade Press). In 2012, American Poet won a Michigan Notable Book Award from the Library of Michigan. In 2020, Whistling Shade Press released his new collection, The Neighborhood Division: Stories, and in 2022, Montag Press will release his new dystopian novel, Falling Sky. He maintains a blog at http://www.authorjeffvandezande.blogspot.com

WENDY RAWLINGS ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

 

Short Story Collection by Wendy Rawlings

Hi Everyone,

I’m thrilled to have Wendy Rawlings on “Let’s Deconstruct a Story,” the blog where we read a story and then discuss it with the author.

As Susan Perabo said, “This is a blog for the story nerds!”

Please either read the PDF of the story below or listen to the audio recording below before tuning in to our discussion.

 

All best,

Kelly

 

Coffins for Kids on Sound Cloud

Coffins for Kids PDF

 

Our discussion of “Coffins for Kids” is available on Anchor here:

 

 

Or on Spotify here.

 

 

Bio: Wendy Rawlings is the author of a novel, The Agnostics, and two collections of stories, Time for Bed and Come Back Irish. Her work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI, Creative Nonfiction, Kenyon Review, and The Pushcart Prize anthology. She’s a professor in and director of the MFA Program in creative writing program at the University of Alabama.

Wendy Rawlings

SUSAN PERABO ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Hi Everyone,

I’m thrilled to host the acclaimed short story writer, Susan Perabo, on the blog today. “Why They Run the Way They Do” is one of my all-time favorite short story collections!

As usual, please read the story posted below before listening to our discussion.

Also please send me reading recommendations! I’m always looking for good short stories.

All the best,

Kelly

Susan’s story available here:

This Is Not That Story in The Sun

This Is Not That Story PDF

 

Our discussion of “This Is Not That Story”:

On Anchor:

Or on Spotify here!

And here is a rough transcript of our discussion brought to you by the dictation service at Microsoft Word:

Susan Perabo and Kelly Fordon transcript

 

 

 

 

Susan Perabo

 

Bio: Susan Perabo’s most recent books are The Fall of Lisa Bellow (2017) and Why They Run the Way They Do (2016), both from Simon & SchusterHer fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, andNew Stories from the South, and her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including One Story, Glimmer TrainStory, The New York TimesThe Sun, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her work has been featured on the podcasts Modern Love and Selected Shorts. She is a professor creative writing at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

Why They Run the Way They Do: Stories and The Fall of Lisa Bellow are available at Bookshop and Amazon.

In Other News:

I am hoping some readers will help support this worthy cause! I love Inside Out Literary Arts in Detroit 🙂 I’m writing in support of them, and I will send anyone who donates $100 an original poem 🙂 You can even send me three words you’d like included in the poem!

WANDEKA GAYLE ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Motherland 1.jpg

 

Hi Everyone,

Happy summer!

Welcome to “Let’s Deconstruct a Story!” This week I’m talking to Wandeka Gayle about a story called “Prodigal” from her new collection, “Motherland and other Stories.”

First, please read “Prodigal” by Wandeka Gayle

And then enjoy our discussion below!

Kelly

PS: I’m always interested in learning about great stories I might have missed, so if you have any ideas, feel free to contact me any time.

 

You can listen to this episode on Spotify:

 

Anchor:

 

Or:

Google Podcasts

Radio Public

Pocket Casts

Breaker

Wandeka Gayle

 

Bio: Wandeka Gayle is a Jamaican writer, visual artist, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Spelman College and the author of Motherland and Other Stories (Peepal Tree Press, 2020). She has received writing fellowships from Kimbilio Fiction, Callaloo, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She has a Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  Other writing has appeared in Prairie Schooner, The RumpusTransition, Interviewing the Caribbean and other journals and magazines. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

Motherland and Other Stories is available at Peepal Tree Press, Amazon, and Bookshop.

DONNA BAIER STEIN ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Donna Baier Stein

 

Welcome to #letsdeconstructastory!
Today I’m happy to talk to Donna about her story “A Landing called Compromise” from her prize-winning collection Scenes from the Heartland.

The way the blog works:

  1. Please read the story, “A Landing called Compromise” here at The Saturday Evening Post.
  2. Listen as we “deconstruct” the story below.
  3. Afterward, please purchase the book at the link provided below.

Enjoy!

 

Also, please check out our other episodes on Spotify here.

 

 

Bio:

Donna is the author of The Silver Baron’s Wife (PEN/New England Discovery Award, Bronze winner in Foreword reviews 2017 Book of the Year Award, Will Rogers Medallion Award and Paterson Prize for Fiction, more), Sympathetic People (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist and 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist), Sometimes You Sense the Difference (chapbook), and Letting Rain Have Its Say (poetry book). She was a Founding Editor of Bellevue Literary Review and founded and publishes Tiferet Journal. She has received a Bread Loaf Scholarship, Johns Hopkins University MFA Fellowship, grants from the New Jersey Council on the Arts and Poetry Society of Virginia, a Scholarship from the Summer Literary Seminars, and more.

Donna’s writing has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Saturday Evening Post, Writer’s Digest, Confrontation, Prairie Schooner, New York Quarterly, Washingtonian, New Ohio Review, and many other journals as well as in the anthologies I’ve Always Meant to Tell You (Pocket Books) and To Fathers: What I’ve Never Said (featured in O Magazine).

Donna was also an award-winning copywriter for Smithsonian, Time, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and many other clients in the direct marketing industry. www.donnabaierstein.com

Purchase Donna’s book at Bookshop here or Amazon here.