Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 2

Well, it took me long enough! But I did finally get around to finishing and reviewing my final three textbooks from last semester’s fiction seminar in the Accessible MFA. If you’re looking for books on writing craft and philosophy, check out the titles below to see if any of these sound good. (And by theContinue reading “Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 2”

Three Literary Journals to Try If You’re New to the Neighborhood

Nineteen years ago, I served as literary editor for my college’s literary journal. It was a fun, demanding job that gave me a deep appreciation for the slush pile. For those new to this, a slush pile is a stack of writing that nobody asked you to send. But you sent it anyway. And backContinue reading “Three Literary Journals to Try If You’re New to the Neighborhood”

Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 1

It’s been a whirlwind of a semester. I had six textbooks, so today I’m going to share my thoughts on the first three. These are from the Art of series by Graywolf Press, edited by Charles Baxter roughly 14 years ago. Since an MFA student first recommended The Art of Subtext to me, I’ve beenContinue reading “Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 1”

Three Elite Literary Journals for Your Bucket List

Before you get all hopeless about breaking into literary journals, let’s do a reality check. If you’re getting nothing but rejections, it might not be you. Well, I mean, it definitely is you. Literary journals aren’t responsible for breaking down our doors (or failing to do so) when they sense we’ve just hit “save” onContinue reading “Three Elite Literary Journals for Your Bucket List”

Three Literary Journals I’m Reading Right Now

One of my Accessible MFA assignments this semester is to read more literary journals. It’s a no-brainer: If you want to publish, you should read outlets where you’d like to see your work printed. But it’s also something I’ve just never got around to. Mainly because there are just SO. MANY. GODDAMN. LITERARY. JOURNALS. IContinue reading “Three Literary Journals I’m Reading Right Now”

Strout’s Disturbing Portrayal of a Child Sex Predator

CONTENT WARNING Literature has a long history of sexualizing children, especially girls. Often, it centers the adult gaze, exploring pedophilia from different angles. “Death in Venice” and Lolita are two of the most famous examples, but it’s difficult to play literature jeopardy without an explosion of examples where old men fancy young women or even children, whetherContinue reading “Strout’s Disturbing Portrayal of a Child Sex Predator”

Candice Carty-Williams Wows with QUEENIE

A brilliant interrogation of the “chick lit” genre, Queenie starts off slow, with the usual plot points: career woman struggles with career and the quest for the perfect life and the perfect man. But about 100 pages in, Candace Carty-Williams begins to unravel this aggressively normative genre. And by the novel’s midpoint, Queenie is beginning to question her entireContinue reading “Candice Carty-Williams Wows with QUEENIE”

New Books

In my ongoing quest to read literary fiction that is not all about straight white men having affairs, wanting to have affairs, or trying to get out of affairs (oh, what woe to be man!), I used my 39th birthday as an excuse to add to my reading pile. And here’s what’s coming up! IContinue reading “New Books”

Why I Think Alharthi Will Win a Nobel

Jokha Alharthi won the International Man Booker Prize, along with her translator Marilyn Booth, in 2019. The novel that skyrocketed Alharthi to such international acclaim is only her second: Celestial Bodies. It’s also the first by an Omani woman to be translated into English. Only 80 pages in, I am in awe. Many ambitious writersContinue reading “Why I Think Alharthi Will Win a Nobel”

When Literary Criticism Doesn’t Work

I first read James Wood’s How Fiction Works nearly ten years ago, shortly after it was published. And it hasn’t aged well. It probably didn’t help that the first time I picked it up, I assumed it was a volume of criticism from the 1950s or 1960s Reading it this time around for my MFA has been,Continue reading “When Literary Criticism Doesn’t Work”