Hi, all--I've not checked in for a while, and apologies for that! It's been a busy semester here at school, though I got to sneak away to the AWP conference in New York early this month. Unfortunately I only had a day and a half in the city--nowhere near enough time to catch up with all my friends there, old and new--but I was able to have a reunion with several Ohio State profs, alums, and current students. I was also a member of a panel on the state of the short story, moderated by Andrew Scott; my copanelists were the inimitable Dan Chaon, the formidable Cathy Day--whose new book, COMEBACK SEASON, is just out, and terrific--and Cressida Leyshon, the very nice and very thoughtful deputy fiction editor for THE NEW YORKER. (Full disclosure: I'm someone who of course would someday like the be published in THE NEW YORKER, and who has in the past griped about its editorial decisions, but listening to Cressida talk about her role was...soothing, in a way. She's got a clear sense of her own vision, and also about the role her publication plays in defining contemporary literature. Good stuff.)
I'll be careful here, so as not to sling gossip in a public forum, but word has it a prominent editor, one whose decisions were questioned by one of us on the panel (not me!) was actually in the audience, and got up and left shortly after said comments were made. Aaand that's about it for controversy.
I'll be traveling a lot these next few months: in a week Steph and I depart for Mississippi, where our good friends Mike Kardos and Katie Pierce will host us for a reading at Mississippi State in Starkville. (See the post up above for news about Katie.) At the end of March we'll be in Indiana and Ohio, a trip centered on a reading at Indiana University East. And in April I'll travel to Cal State-Stanislaus for a reading as well. If there are strangers who read this blog in any of those places--I look forward to meeting you!