I really enjoyed reviewing Step into the Circle: Writers in Modern Appalachia, which was co-edited by novelist Amy Greene. In this book, Appalachian writers profile each other, and the profiles are augmented by great photography. The result is insightful and generous of spirit. You can read my review today at Chapter 16.
It’s the best kind of challenge to review an ambitious novel. And the best pleasure to review one that you love. My review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ debut novel, The Water Dancer, is up today at the ambitious and lovely Chapter 16. You can read it here.
I’m pleased to share my review of Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne’s debut novel, Holding On To Nothing. It’s always great to see familiar Appalachian literary tropes made into something fresh. My review is up today at the always-refreshing Chapter 16.
I’m very excited to share a new Q&A I’ve done with the wonderful fiction writer Anne Valente. She’s the author of two novels, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down and this year’s The Desert Sky Before Us. You can read our Q&A over at Bayou Magazine.
I’m happy to share my review of an engaging debut novel, The Affairs of the Falcóns, by Melissa Rivero. I especially valued this novel’s wonderful protagonist, an undocumented Peruvian-born mother named Ana, who’s struggling to keep her family intact in New York during the 1990s. My review‘s up today at Chapter 16.
I’m very excited to share a Q&A I’ve done with Ottessa Moshfegh! Her marvelous novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, went paperback this summer. In the interview, she discusses her relationship to writing, several key elements of this novel, and an intriguing mention of her upcoming novel, which is set for release next spring. The Q&A is up today at the wondrous Chapter 16.
I’m especially pleased to share my involvement with the new literary journal, Peauxdunque Review. Starting now, in the lead-up to its second issue, I’ve begun work as Peauxdunque Review’s Fiction Editor. I had the pleasure of serving on the inaugural issue’s editorial review board. To watch this new endeavor taking shape inspired and galvanized me. In that Spring 2019 issue, which you can order here, I also wrote the first of what we hope to be an ongoing music column, exploring albums that, for one reason or another, have gone overlooked or underloved. My first column, devoted to Over The Rhine’s Meet Me At The End of The World, can be found on Peauxdunque Review’s website. Check out our journal, and if you write, consider sending us your work!
Recently, I had the chance to write a feature about an interesting reading series based in Knoxville, WordStream: The Weekly Writer’s Voice—a live weekly series which has also just launched a podcast, all in connection with Knoxville’s WDVX FM. WordStream aims to feature literary writers alongside songwriters and theatre artists. My feature is up today at Chapter 16.
I admit, while reviewing Andrew Lawler’s The Secret Token, I fell down the rabbit hole of curiosity about the fate of the lost colony of Roanoke, England’s first settlement in North America (during the late sixteenth century). That story’s mesmerizing ability to draw people into its vortex forms a big part of Lawler’s entertaining chronicle, which reveals exactly how relevant Roanoke remains to where we stand today. My review’s up today at Chapter 16.
I was moved and galvanized by reading Jessica Wilkerson’s To Live Here, You Have to Fight, which traces the contributions of women activists in the Appalachian labor and social-justice battles of the twentieth century. A book like this one provides a terrific corrective for cliché depictions of the region. You can read my review at the also-galvanizing Chapter 16.