Good afternoon, dear readers! Today we’re turning the spotlight to past contributor Micah Dean Hicks, who was recently interviewed by Abbie Lahmers over at Arts & Letters, a national literary journal housed over in Georgia College’s MFA program. The interview covers everything from Micah’s strategies for world-building within fiction to his influences and present reading recommendations: all of this and more can be found here! Micah’s story “The Man With Strange Luck” was featured in the Fiction section of our 13th issue, and can be read here. And if you’re hungry for more of Micah’s work, his collection of stories “Electricity and Other Dreams,” out from New American Press, is available for purchase here. Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in the rich landscapes of Micah Dean Hicks, and stay posted for details about new work from him, and all of the other immensely talented folks that have contributed to Superstition Review.
Spillers is Phoenix’s premier short fiction storytelling event. Spillers makes its Valley Bar debut with installment No. 7.
Spillers is the voice of Phoenix fiction. Every season, cohosts Robert Hoekman Jr. and Brian Dunn handpick 5 incredible writers, put them on a stage, feature them in 2 episodes of the award-winning Spillers After Show podcast and publish their stories in a collectible book.
The event takes place Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 @ 7:30 PM at Valley Bar. Tickets are $5 general admission or $12 general admission with theSpillers No.7 book. Attendees must be 21 years or older. Books are available for purchase for $10 at the event.
Check out the Facebook event page for more event information.
All Spillers events feature walk-on music, take-home programs, and a custom cocktail crafted just for you by Valley Bar’s fabulous bartenders. This is a seated event, so get there early to save your spot. For more information, visit Spiller’s webpage.
Greetings, readers! One of Superstition Review’s favorite writers, the incredibly talented Geeta Kothari, has a new collection of stories titled “I Brake For Moose,” which is being published this coming February by the lovely Braddock Avenue Books. Geeta was featured in the Nonfiction section of our 11th issue of The Superstition Review with her piece titled “Listen,” available for your reading pleasure here.
If you find yourself in Pittsburgh, make your way over to the City of Asylum on February 16th with Asterix Reading Series (details here).
If you’ve already spent all your airfare budget, “I Brake For Moose” is available for preorder at the Braddock Avenue Books website, located here. Buy one! Buy seven! You’re going to love it, we already do.
Jacob Appel’s forthcoming story collection, The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street, is due out with Augsburg College’s Howling Bird Press in November 2016. His collection won the 2016 Holwing Bird Press fiction prize. You can read its starred Kirkus review here.
Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the 2012 Dundee International Book Award and was published by Cargo. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize and was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2014. His most recent books include a novel, The Biology of Luck (Elephant Rock, 2013), an essay collection, Phoning Home (University of South Carolina Press, 2014) and a short story collection, Einstein’s Beach House (Pressgang/Butler University, 2014). Jacob’s short fiction has appeared in more than two hundred literary journals including Agni, Colorado Review, Gettysburg Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Southwest Review, Threepenny Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and West Branch. His prose has won the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review’s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review’s Short Fiction Prize, the Salem College Center for Women Writers’ Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award on four occasions, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant. His stories have been short-listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008, 2013), Best American Nonrequired Reading (2007, 2008), and the Pushcart Prize anthology (2005, 2006, 2011, 2014). Jacob’s stage plays have been performed at New York’s Theatre Row, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Adrienne Theatre (Philadelphia), Detroit Repertory Theatre, Heller Theater (Tulsa), Curtain Players (Columbus), Epilogue Players (Indianapolis), Open State Theatre (Pittsburgh), Intentional Theatre (New London), Little Theatre of Alexandria and elsewhere.
Jacob has taught most recently at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City, and at Yeshiva College, where he was the writer-in-residence. He was honored with Brown’s Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003. He formerly held academic appointments at Pace University, Hunter College, William Paterson University, Manhattan College, Columbia University and New York University. Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown, an M.S. in bioethics from Albany Medical College, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. from N.Y.U. and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He also publishes in the field of bioethics and contributes regularly 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 Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Orlando Sentinel, The Providence Journal and many regional newspapers.
I’ve always been a reader. I don’t know if this is my parents’ fault or not. Recently I found a crayon drawing and questionnaire book I made when I was in elementary school. On one of the pages it asks what my parents do during the day while I’m at school. My answers were: My Dad builds Rockets. My Mom sits on the couch all day and reads love stories. I don’t think that was entirely true, I mean, my Dad read books too. In any case, I do remember that prior to puberty, trips to the mall were exciting for two reasons: first, because I could climb up and sit in the conversion vans in the car dealership that was actually in our mall; and second, we got to go to Walden Books. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so we didn’t buy a lot of new books there, but it was a thrill just to be there and look around. I knew that eventually the books on those shelves would find their way to our city library.
As a kid, I was fairly well read. Once I got beyond Dr. Seuss, I enjoyed Roald Dahl, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Scott O’Dell, Louisa May Alcott, Franklin Dixon, Carolyn Keene, the Choose Your Own Adventure Series, and of course, Judy Blume. There are a few in that list some might consider literary, but many fall into the category of good old genre fiction. I still have many of them because I saved them for my children. And now I’m saving them for my grandchildren, because I don’t think I was as successful as my parents were at passing down the love of literature.
As I got older, I dove harder into genre writing. Once I could get books from the library that didn’t have the purple dot on them, my literary world was blown wide open. I devoured everything from Jean Auel, Piers Anthony, and Marion Zimmer Bradley to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice. Some of these authors I still read today. Because they’re good, and because I can get lost in the worlds they bring to my mind’s eye.
Once I started my degree program, my literary world was blown open again. Even with all of the reading in my youth, there was much that I missed. Memoirs? Whatever were those? Well, all of those English Lit classes filled me in, and filled me up to the brim with writing on every social topic I could imagine, and a few more besides.
Writing classes and workshops introduced me to the short story, and the idea that writers who don’t get paid are somehow of more value than those who do. I’m not much for martyrs, but I bought in. In my few years in school, my professors helped nurture in me a love of the short story, and an appreciation for the craft of drawing them out of myself and others. And so now, my private library grows full of chapbooks and short story collections. To my list of favorite authors I’m adding Roxane Gay, Aimee Bender, Stacey Richter, Matt Bell, Dan Chaon, Tara Ison, Margaret Atwood, and so many more.
But for all my education, and my editorship with a literary magazine, and my degree in English and Creative Writing… I still read Anne Rice. In fact, she might just be my very favorite person ever (not that I know her personally, but I do follow her on Facebook, so I feel like that counts… anyway).
I’m reminded of this funny thing that happened recently.
My husband and I raised our children in a suburban neighborhood of the sprawling Phoenix Metropolitan Area. We had a modest income, and a modest house. We drove practical cars, and our kids went to public schools. There was a house of worship a half mile in any direction from our house. Our neighbors were diverse. To the east was a family of folks who spoke little English, had obnoxious barking dogs, and always had parties in the front yard instead of the back. To the south were the drug dealers. The husband rode a very noisy Harley and cut his entire lawn holding a Weedwacker in one hand and a beer in the other. His wife had no teeth and only wore a bra on Sundays. (I guess they weren’t very good drug dealers.)
We lived in that house 15 years, and our kids came up just fine.
And just a couple of months ago, we moved. Since our income has doubled, so has our mortgage and the square footage of our new house. Our new block is glorious. The neighbors all cut their grass on Wednesdays, and everyone drives a new car. There are bunnies and quail everywhere, and no one parks in their lawn.
School just started a couple weeks ago, and as I was driving past the elementary school on my way back from my morning Starbucks run, I noted that the crossing guard drives a Jaguar. A Jaguar.
This is it, I thought, we have definitely arrived. All of that hard work, education, ladder climbing, etc., has all paid off. Finally. Now we can live among the educated folk. People like us. Cultured people. People who read. If the people across the street are drug dealers, well they’re damn good ones because their kids drive BMWs.
And then I turned down our street. It was a Thursday. Blue barrel pick up day. About three houses in, out came a neighbor down his drive way, pushing his barrel out to the curb. He was wearing a pair of very snug fitting, bright red boxer briefs. His hairy belly was spilling over the waistband, and his tangled bedhead hair pointed in all directions from his unshaven face. He looked up as I drove past. Smiled.
I about choked on my chai.
But it’s okay. I’m glad I saw him. It’s a great reminder: there’s room on the block for everyone. He cuts his grass, he parks in the garage. Maybe his wife builds rockets.
Karen Bender is the author of the story collection Refund, published by Counterpoint Press in 2015; it is a Finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, and is on the shortlist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize; it was also a Los Angeles Times bestseller. She is also the author of Like Normal People, (Houghton Mifflin) which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and A Town of Empty Rooms (Counterpoint Press).
Her short fiction has appeared in magazines including The New Yorker, Granta, Ploughshares, Zoetrope, Story, Narrative, The Harvard Review, Guernica, and The Iowa Review. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best and have won two Pushcart prizes. Two of her stories have been read in the Selected Shorts program on NPR.
On December 1st you can read our interview with Karen Bender in the Launch of our 16th Issue.
The London Magazine is the UK’s oldest cultural and literary journal featuring the best original poetry, short stories, cultural reviews and literary essays since 1732.
For 280 years, The London Magazine has been an indispensable feature on the British cultural landscape. Responsible for publishing some of the most significant literature in British history from Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats to T. S. Eliot, today it remains at the forefront with the best contemporary writing.
Our most recent contributors and features include Edward Lucie-Smith, Avant-Garde – what Avant-Garde?, Peter Abbs Eating from the Tree of Paradise: The Apprenticeship of Carl Jung, Eamonn Gearon On Arabs and Ignorance, Michael Horovitz, Postcard from Ireland as well as poetry from the Costa Prize Winner Christopher Reid and Orange Prize Winner,Helen Dunmore.
Don’t miss out on this essential addition to your reading featuring new and established writers. Simply visit: www.thelondonmagazine.