Q&A @ Emerson College

Just did a Q&A with Emerson College. Thank you to Erin Clossey for the generous, elastic questions!

What does winning the Rona Jaffe Award mean, both to your career, and to you personally as a writer? You’ve written a series of stories that tell of the same set of events from different characters’ perspectives. What was behind the decision to break it up into separate stories, as opposed to containing them in...a novel?

Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' AwardS Reading September 16, 2016, 7 PM @ NYU

Reading with Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, Danielle Geller, Jamey Hatley, Ladee Hubbard, and Airea D. Matthews. Open to the public! 

Our bios can be found on the Rona Jaffe Foundation site.
To see short clips of us talking about our work, click on our names there.

NEW: A podcast of our reading can now be found here!

Six of us, 10 min each. A perfect arrangement, in my opinion.  After five gloriously varied pieces (we read in alphabetical order), I read bits and pieces from "Train to Harbin."

Thank you Joanna Yas (& NYU) for hosting it!
Thank you Beth McCabe & The Rona Jaffe Foundation -- and our anonymous nominators & jury -- for absolutely everything.

"Train to Harbin" is Out in the 2016 O. Henry Prize Stories

The 2016 O. Henry Prize Stories is officially out, and I'm very lucky to have "Train to Harbin" included in it -- and to have Molly Antopol select it for her juror favorite! First published in The Hudson Review and reprinted in the 2016 Pushcart Prize anthology, "Train to Harbin" is a companion story to "The Visitor," which was included in the 2013 O. Henry Prize Stories. In the "Writers on Their Work" section of this year's anthology, I write about the relationship between the two stories.

Here's Laura Furman’s introduction to this year's selection. (Thank you, Laura Furman!)
Here's Molly Antopol's juror essay on "Train to Harbin." (Thank you, Molly Antopol, for the attentive reading!)
Here's Kelly Luce's essay on selecting this year's O. Henry Prize stories (Thank you, Kelly Luce!).
Here's the Kirkus Review on this year's anthology (in which "Train" gets a small mention!).

2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award

I'm very pleased to be receiving a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award this fall. This year, there are three fiction writers, two nonfiction writers, and one poet receiving this award.

Info about the Award can be found here.
Info about all six of us can be found here.

We'll also be giving a short reading as part of New York University's Creative Writing Program Reading Series at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House on Friday, September 16 at 7 pm.

"WILLOW RUN" IS OUT IN WITNESS MAGAZINE'S SUMMER ISSUE

"Willow Run" is one of two companion stories to "Allegiance," first published in the Hudson Review.

Do you know ‘Willow Run’?

Yes, ‘willow’ as in the tree, ‘run’ as in the verb. Of course, I had no idea what it meant then, or what he—the soldier—meant by it. But I liked the sound—willow run—like something wispy, something escaping. Looking back, I have to laugh. But at the time? I’d repeat the words, so cumbersome on my tongue. Many women took to reciting the sutras. But in that situation …. I’m sorry—was there some way you wanted me to begin?

Read it here.
Check out the other pieces in Witness's Summer Issue here.

"Train to Harbin" is featured on LitHub: THE O. HENRY PRIZES: READ SIX OF THE YEAR’S BEST STORIES

It's official: "Train to Harbin," first published in The Hudson Review, is included in this year's O. Henry Prize Stories (thank you Laura Furman!). The story is featured on LitHub (thank you LitHub!). You can read it here. The list of all twenty O. Henry Prize winners can be found here. The anthology is due out in September.

"Train to Harbin" is a companion story to "The Visitor," which was included in the 2013 O. Henry Prize Stories anthology.

"TRAIN TO HARBIN" IS OUT IN THIS YEAR'S PUSHCART PRIZE ANTHOLOGY

Sadly, due to multiple moves this summer, my copy of the anthology has yet to make its way to me. I'll update this post, once it arrives. For now, I'll just say that I'm lucky to have a story included here, thanks to The Hudson Review and all the wind they've put behind this sail.

"Train to Harbin" was first published in the Autumn 2014 New Writer's Issue (Volume LXVII, No. 3) of The Hudson Review. You can read the story here

The complete list of this year's Pushcart Prize winners can be found here.
Help support the Press and Prize!

I also stumbled across this awesome blog with excellent reading notes, including notes on the various pieces from this year's Pushcart Prize anthology. I was delighted to read the entry on "Train to Harbin" -- I felt very lucky.

 

"Train to Harbin" IS out in The Hudson Review's New Writers Issue

"Train to Harbin" is one of the two companion pieces to "The Visitor," which appeared in the 2013 O. Henry Prize Stories.

I once met a man on the train to Harbin. He was my age, just past his prime, hair starting to grease and thin in a way one might have thought passably distinguished in another context, in another era, when he might have settled down, reconciled to finishing out his long career predictably. But it was 1939. War had officially broken out between China and Japan, and like all of us on that train, he too had chosen to take the bait, that one last bite before acquiescing to life’s steady decline. You see, for us univer­sity doctors, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We all knew it. Especially back then.

Read the story here.
Also check out the other two stories in the New Writer's issue here.
 

Author Spotlight on the Random House/O. Henry Prize site is up

For many reasons, I struggle to answer questions like these. So I mostly ended up talking about revision, where it all seems to be at for me.

What does it mean to be included in the O. Henry Prize Stories? How does an author refine their art? We’ve given the authors of the winning and recommended stories free rein to share their thoughts...

Read it here.

For stuff about the experience of writing "The Visitor," see "The Writers on Their Work" section at the back of the anthology itself.

"The Visitor" is out in the 2013 O. Henry Prize Stories

Way back, when I was a senior in high school, I received a writing award from the English Department. I was in Japan, in Tokyo, having moved back there for the last two years of my high school. The school was called -- is still called -- the American School in Japan. I hated it, except that I made some very good friends and was encouraged to read and write and read some more. This was before I wrote my first story; all I had written were papers and essays and a smattering of embarrassing poems I mercifully showed no one except a couple of close friends, who I have to hope saved no copies of them. The writing award came with a gift. It was wrapped in washi, traditional Japanese paper, and contained a copy of that year's O. Henry Prize Stories, signed by everyone in the department. Having gone to British-based International Schools all my life in countries where access to English-language books were mostly limited to English classics curated by the school library, it was my first introduction to the prize and anthology. It's a strange feeling now to see my name included here and see the spine next to the one I had received all those years ago. It's nothing I ever imagined back then -- it had not yet crossed my mind that I would one day write fiction.

 
 


Here is Laura Furman’s incredibly thorough summary of the story.
Here are Edith Pearlman’s kind words in her juror essay.
Brief notes about the writing of the story can be found here.
Read an interview about the story here.
 

"Allegiance" is out in The Hudson Review

A special thank you to everyone at Hudson, especially Paula Deitz and Ron Koury for letting me obsessively revise until the last possible moment.

He was a man of principle, Masaharu told himself. After all, he’d kept his head, even in the midst of that nonsense war...

Read it here.
You can also read the New Pages review of The Hudson Review here. ("Allegiance" gets a small mention too.) 

"The Visitor" is out in The Antioch Review Summer Fiction Issue

There is something about receiving an acceptance phone call (as opposed to an email) that adds to the flush of excitement. The call from Antioch happened as I was walking into a Staples in Chicago. It was the momentary confusion that preceded the surprise that made that call wonderfully -- memorably -- stressful.

He came around noon, this man, this soldier, who called himself Murayama. At first I thought he had come, like so many of them, to beg for food, or inquire after the whereabouts of someone I may or may not have heard of, but this soldier, this Murayama, had come clutching a piece of paper, claiming to have known our son, Yasushi...

Check it out here, or read it online through your library.