Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Mimi Lok. Her debut story collection, Last of Her Name, is available from Kaya Press.

 

Lok is the recipient of a Smithsonian Ingenuity Award and an Ylvisaker Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the Susan Atefat Arts and Letters Prize for nonfiction. Her work can be found in McSweeney’sElectric Literature, LitHub, NimrodLucky PeachHyphen, the South China Morning Post, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a novel.

Lok is also the executive director and editor of Voice of Witness, an award-winning human rights/oral history nonprofit she cofounded that amplifies marginalized voices through a book series and a national education program.

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Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Ashley Wurzbacher. A 5 Under 35 honoree, her debut story collection, Happy Like This, won the 2019 John Simmons Short Fiction Award. It is available from the University of Iowa Press.

 

Wurzbacher’s writing has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, The Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She earned her BA from Allegheny College, her MFA from Eastern Washington University, and her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston.

Originally from Titusville, Pennsylvania, she currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama and teaches creative writing at the University of Montevallo.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Kimberly King Parsons. Her debut story collection, Black Light, is available from Vintage.

 

Born in Lubbock, Texas, Parsons earned a BA in English and an MA in Literary Studies (emphasis on the works of William Faulkner) from the University of Texas at Dallas. She later moved to New York City, where she earned an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and served as the editor-in-chief of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art.

A recipient of fellowships from Columbia University and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, her fiction has been published in The Paris ReviewBest Small Fictions 2017Black Warrior ReviewNo TokensKenyon Review, and elsewhere.

She lives with her partner and sons in Portland, OR, where she is completing a novel about Texas, motherhood, and LSD.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Brad Phillips. His new story collection, Essays and Fictions, is available from Tyrant Books.

 

The late Anthony Bourdain calls it: “Searingly honest, brilliant and disturbing. [Phillips] peels back the skin and bone and stares right into the human soul.”

Born in 1974, Phillips is also an accomplished visual artist  known for dark work that engages with themes of eroticism, depression, and mortality. His paintings display stylistic breadth, from text-based to photorealist, referring in many cases directly to his daily life. He lives in Toronto.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Anita Felicelli. Her debut story collection, Love Songs for a Lost Continent, is available from Stillhouse Press. It is the winner of the 2016 Mary Roberts Rinehart Award.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Mark Leidner. His new story collection, Under the Sea, is available from Tyrant Books.

 

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Genevieve Hudson. She has published two books this year. A Little in Love with Everyone (Fiction Advocate) is a work of queer commentary and Pretend We Live Here (Future Tense) is a story collection.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Jamel Brinkley. His debut story collection, Lucky Man, is available from Graywolf Press.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Will Mackin. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, his work has appeared in The New Yorker, GQThe Atlantic Monthly, and elsewhere. His debut story collection, Bring Out the Dog, is available now from Random House.

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From the short story “Here I Am”

I’m the last thing people imagine when they think of a funeral director. For this late night house call, I’m wearing a purple dress and heels to match; my nails are painted lavender. I’m hardly the dowdy thing in black the family expected.

The son hesitates, but shows me in. First, I verify that their grandmother is in fact dead: breath and pulse, no, and doll’s eye test, negative. The old woman’s eyes roll right along with her head. Though the hospice doctor’s been here and gone, you can’t be too careful in this business. Last week, some guy in Mississippi woke up in a body bag on the embalming table. It was all over the news.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Emily Geminder. Her debut story collection is called Dead Girls and Other Stories. It is the winner of the Dzanc Books Short Story Prize.

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Now playing on the Otherppl podcast, a conversation with Carmen Maria Machado. Her debut story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, is available from Graywolf Press. It is a finalist for both the 2017 National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize, and is the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize.

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I turned on the lights and the bulbs clicked to life, trying their best to shine through layers of sticky dust. I ran up and down the rows of the university library’s basement, looking for the chrome bulk that would betray the coin-op typewriter’s hiding place. They upped the cost from a dime to a quarter from Ray’s time to mine. I could almost smell the charred ash when I recalled reading the book for the first time. It had cost him $9.80 to write his masterpiece on saving the power of words from the firemen, one dime and half hour increment at a time.

As with many writers, you majored in English literature in college. But unlike most, you did not go on for an MFA. Instead, you went to law school and have been practicing full-time for the last three decades. Why did you take that path? Does that say something about your opinion of MFA programs?

It’s true I came to my writing life, in some sense, rather late. Other than my creative output in school publications, I published my first fiction—as an adult—at the age of 39. I am now 58 with 10 published books to my name, two of those as editor. And my first poetry collection will come out this November. All the while I have been practicing law, the last 27 years with the California Department of Justice. I’m currently a supervising attorney in the Consumer Law Section.

From “The Three Mornings of José Antonio Rincón”

It is true that if pressed, José Antonio Rincón would have denied enjoying the experience because, regardless of the changes he endured during those three days last April, his basic nature remained the same. That is to say, José Antonio was, is, and will always be a contrarian. During his almost six decades of life on this earth his contrarian nature only grew stronger each year, with roots as reliable and resilient as those of a northern red oak. So if you asked him, did you like it, José Antonio? Was it pleasant? He no doubt would frown, purse his lips, and shout, “No, it was hellish!” However, if you said: Oh, what horrors! How did you survive it all? He very likely would smile and say it was all quite delightful, and he would sincerely express his hope that it should happen again and again and again.