Got my sister and friend, Ann, to head out to Ann Arbor yesterday in the late afternoon for some literary fun. We arrived at Nicola's Bookstore a little bit before 4 p.m. and the first person I saw was Steve Gillis (yes, out in public and hitting things like this more frequently), which I always love. Then I saw Unsaid's David McLendon, who let us know that the author/readers in question, Samuel Ligon and Robert Lopez, had talked to him earlier in the day and said they might be a little late. They were but that just meant a little more time to talk to Steve and David before they had arrived.
The two each read two stories from their most recent story collections--Sam from Wonderland (Lost Horse Press) and Robert from Good People (Bellevue Literary Press). Nicola's reading area is set up right outside their children's book section, which maybe at 7 or 8 p.m. readings is different, but at 4 p.m. (or a little bit later than that), there are going to be some kids in the area. There are two young boys who in ten or fifteen years will hear somebody utter "genital warts" and they will instantly, with no recollection of why, let that person know that whiskey will cure those thanks to Sam's wonderful reading of his short story, Pie & Whiskey.
Both Sam and Robert are excellent readers, slipping sightly into characters without overly doing so. All four stories were entertaining and had great usage of language. I didn't catch my mind wandering once, which I'm sad to admit is a bit rare for me at these things.
From there Beth, Ann and I headed out for a quick dinner at Fraser's Pub, where Ann's husband Tom joined us. After dinner, Beth, Ann and I headed over to Casa Hobart where Sam and Rob were going to read again, at 7 p.m. or so, along with Sean Kilpatrick, who read with his own usual enthusiasm and gusto and was a great opener to the evening.
I don't know if Sam and Robert did this for this very reason, but I'm going to hold onto the idea that they realized that Beth, Ann and I had just seen them hours ago and so they decided to each read two different stories than the two they'd each read earlier at Nicola's. These two couplets were easily as entertaining as the two they read in the store and if anything, I feel like Sam got into reading his even more--maybe it had to do with the elevated stage. In fact, some of us in attendance briefly believed that Robert was REALLY getting into his second story---one in which the narrator believed his apartment was slowly killing him---when he began to cough and choke up increasingly more frequently as he got through toward the end. Turned out though that he's allergic to cats and that's where the Hobart cat spends most of its time, up on that balcony area. So, he came back downstairs and finished up with copious amounts of water.
Then the two of them performed (and performed feels a better choice of word than read) a story they co-wrote, How to Direct a Major Motion Picture, with (assumedly) each of them reading the parts they wrote as they fired off commands and suggestions back and forth, sometimes slightly crossing over each other. The story is the last one in Robert's collection and is funny as hell.
For those that have, or are about to, signed up to participate as authors in the 3rd Annual Dzanc Books Write-a-Thon, here is a good example of a sample letter that one of our participants from the past has used, emailing it all of her family and friends, and she's raised quite a bit of money in each of the two years:
I have decided to participate in the Dzanc Books Write-A-Thon which
will take place September 1st through the 4th. I plan to spend XXXXX
hours on those days, writing, only taking breaks to eat and other necessities.
only will it be a treat for me to have a dedicated time for my writing,
but hopefully this will also benefit Dzanc. Dzanc is a wonderful
independent publishing company that supports literary magazines, small
presses, and publishes fantastic work. Also, Dzanc funds writing
public schools in both Michigan and New York, and is looking for
funding to expand beyond those states, where
creative writing classes are not offered. They also sponsor the Dzanc
Prize which benefits not only the writer awarded it, but pays for a
community based project like writing workshops in prisons, cancer
centers, or working with immigrant populations.
I would be honored if you would sponsor my writing this year. Your dollars will help Dzanc Books to continue to
support great writing and foster the creative talent of public school kids.
If you'd like to pitch in, please click on the following link which will take
you to a page where you can make a donation:
Thanks for your time!
P.S. If you would like to get involved in the Write-A-Thon, please email Dan
Wickett at firstname.lastname@example.org."
August 16, 2010 - Ann Arbor,
MI--Dzanc Books is excited to announce a new program, the Dzanc Books
Independent Bookstore Program, which has Dzanc working in conjunction with one
or two independent bookstores each month (from
the 15th—with a slightly delayed start this month—through the 15th,
coinciding with our monthly online journal, The Collagist, to move forward with our mission of promoting literary fiction.
There was great interest during the month of July, where we at Dzanc donated
books to many schools and libraries when provided proof of purchases of books
bought at an independent bookstore. We have decided to continue
this offer. We believe that by focusing on one or two bookstores each
month, with the help of their cross-promotion, that we will be able to help
inspire sales within the indie bookstore community of not only Dzanc books but
all great books, while at the same time drawing attention to the many
charitable programs Dzanc Books sponsors and runs, including our Dzanc Writer
in Residence Programs and the Dzanc Prize, which the purchase of our books,
and/or usage of our Dzanc Creative Writing
Sessions helps our ability to sustain and advance these programs across the
The first store to celebrate this program with Dzanc Books will be the RiverRun
Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH. There are two main aspects to the program:
1) Dzanc Books will continue the donating of a title from our catalog, or
one of our imprints. The patron of RiverRun Bookstore will inform us of
the library to which the donation will be made. Dzanc Books has created
fliers that have a simple form to fill out and send to us with the receipt,
showing that the book was purchased during the correct dates, and was for a
book of literary fiction from RiverRun Bookstore. The books do NOT need
to have been published by Dzanc or our imprints.
2) RiverRun Bookstore, along with promoting the donation of books, will
also promote the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions, our extremely inexpensive and
successful writer mentoring program. For every order to the DCWS placed
by a writer that notes on their order that they were sent our way by
RiverRun, Dzanc will donate $5 to Seacoast Local, a non-profit based near the
bookstore that promotes that people think local first when it comes to their
money and time spent. Dzanc Books will make this donation in RiverRun
Bookstore's name in one sum at the end of the month.
Throughout the future of the Dzanc Independent Bookstore Program it is our goal
to promote shopping at independent bookstores, develop better relationships
with the stores we'll be working with, promote literary
fiction, help writers via our DCWS program, and to donate both books to
libraries, as well as money to worthwhile non-profits local to the bookstores
we are working with. Dzanc Books strongly believes that every single one
of these aspects is vital. Interested bookstores should email Dzanc Books
Books was created in 2006 to advance great writing and champion those writers
who don’t fit neatly into the marketing niches of for-profit presses. As a
non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, Dzanc Books not only publishes literary
fiction, but runs inexpensive online mentoring programs, and sponsors the Dzanc
Prize which has a literary community service aspect to it.Dzanc also fully committed to developing
educational programs in schools. For more information on Dzanc Books and its
mission, books, authors, awards, and programs, please visit www.dzancbooks.org.
a reminder: The Dzanc Write-a-Thon is a chance to take a day or two
for both yourself (how frequently does your planned writing day get
bumped for something else) and to help others. The helping others
aspect comes from the fact that Dzanc earmarks the money raised during
the Write-a-Thon for both our Dzanc Writer in Residence Programs and the Dzanc Prize.
We regularly receive interest in starting up new DWIRPs in various
areas of the country in great need of such projects, but simply cannot
fund each one on our own. We are looking to expand this wonderful
program and need the resources to do so. The Write-a-Thon can greatly
help us with this.
noted above, this year we've moved the Write-a-Thon away from the in
between Thanksgiving and Christmas time period as we always got about a
dozen emails letting us know that it was a bad time of the year. So, we
are bringing it to the beginning of September. Like last year, the
Write-a-Thon dates will spread over more than just one day, in case
somebody really wants to participate but is busy on one or two of the
days, they can still plan on writing on one of the other days--we'll
have a prompt, and for those of you planning on writing all four days,
we'll have slight deviations to that prompt if you so desire.
be setting up a special page on our website as we've done the last two
years, making it easy for authors that want to participate, and those
that wish to sponsor an author, to do so. To get things started though,
if you are an author that would like to participate, please send an
email to email@example.com simply stating that you would. We'll be taking this initial blast of sign-ups to get the web page started.
The Write-a-Thon will be September 2 through September 5 (getting in both weekday and weekend dates).
As always--we'll ask that writers participating:
a) promote the event and try to find sponsors for your efforts b)
send us the writing that is done on the day(s) of the Write-a-Thon.
While we'll only include it in the special pdf sent to participants and
sponsors if you want us to, we do occasionally get asked by a sponsor if
somebody actually wrote during that day when they don't see your work
in the pdf.
whose sponsors donate the most will receive a full run of the Dzanc
titles from 2010: Raffel, Parker, BotW 2010, Svoboda and Lopez (which
will be sent when it is published).
wishing to sponsor may obviously do so--you do not need to know the
author in question--once our web page is set up, we'll put up another post. It's as simple as clicking on their name on that page to support
the effort through them.
Pirate Talk or Mermalade is a novel in voices about two brothers who
meet a mermaid, fall into pirating, and end up in the Arctic. Henry
Hudson said "mermaids are as thick as shrimp in these parts," and it was
in the Arctic where fellow explorer (and pirate) Martin Frobisher
dropped off part of his crew. To be released just before "Talk
Like a Pirate Day."
July 21, 2010 - Ann Arbor, MI—Dzanc Books is proud to announce that it
will publish 2 novels by Stephen Graham Jones.The first, Flushboy, will be
published in early 2013 and will be followed a year later by Not for Nothing.Stephen is the author of 9 books of
fiction, including The Fast Red Road—a
Plainsong, All the Beautiful Sinners, The Bird is Gone—a Manifesto, Bleed Into
Me—a Book of Stories, Demon Theory, The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti, Ledfeather
and the forthcoming novel, It Came
from Del Rio, and collection of stories,
The Ones that Almost Got Away: Stories.Stephen has also published over 100 stories in such places as Alaska
Quarterly Review, Hobart, and Mississippi Review.
Jones’ work has been called
“mesmerizing” and “masterful” by Booklist,
and Texas Monthly describes him as
“an unapologetic pop-culture savant.”Jones holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Florida State University
and teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Both hilarious and heartbreaking
at times, Flushboy is a novel about
the 16-year-old boy working the window of the drive-thru urinal of his father’s
latest business venture, The Bladder Hut. It’s a uniquely told coming-of-age story and
more.Not for Nothing, is in theory, a detective story, but as usual,
Jones plays with convention and gives his readers much more than they might
“Stephen Graham Jones is a
fascinating writer,” Dan Wickett said. “One that hasn’t delved into the
same territory twice, and these two novels continue on in that vein. We at
Dzanc are very excited to publish these two wonderful novels from a writer that
continues to constantly find new ways of storytelling.”
Dzanc Books was created in 2006
to advance great writing and champion those writers who don’t fit neatly into
the marketing niches of for-profit presses. As a non-profit, 501(c)3
organization, Dzanc Books not only publishes literary fiction, but works in
partnership with literary journals to advance their readership at every level.
Dzanc is also fully committed to developing educational programs in schools, as
well as supporting literary community service projects with its Dzanc Prize
For more information on Dzanc
Books and its mission, imprints, books, authors,
awards, and programs, please visit www.dzancbooks.org.
It's been a little more than a year since we started the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions and it has been just as good as we had hoped it would be. Where else can you find workshop styled help with your poem, story, essay or novel from either a published author or editor at a publishing house, at rates of $20 per hour or lower, that you can participate in from your own home (or wherever you have access to your email account) and can begin a new session at ANY time? Nowhere.
Here are some things that happy customers said upon finishing up their session(s):
"I can't say
enough about how valuable this process has been for me—and will
continue to be as I digest her comments and revise my story. Her
insight, encouragement and suggestions are just what I needed.
I will definitely participate in this program again in the future!
Thanks so much for the opportunity."
—Jennifer Hollmeyer (regarding mentoring author, Katrina Denza)
"I am so glad you guys have this, I cannot tell you how pleased I am."
"I found the experience quite wonderful."
"Thank you so much for your time and for your words of encouragement.
And thanks especially for being so straight with me—this is exactly the
kind of tough coaching I need."
"Thanks so much for the in-depth critique . . . Also, I'm applying your
no-holds barred editorial style to many of my other stories. I
appreciate your time and insights."
"I wanted to let you and Michele Battiste know that your program
through her guidance has been extremely useful for me. I had gotten to a
point in my project at which I felt stuck, and I don't have an
effective writers group here in Japan to help me. Michele's comments and
critique reminded me of some long-standing tendencies that I had
forgotten I need to avoid, and she also made some insightful points
which were new ideas for me. Best of all, I am reinvigorated and working
hard on the project again. Thank you so much for that."
"Thanks so much! Ah, these comments from Laura van den Berg are just
what I needed. I can't wait to use this service again for another
"I was very impressed with DCWS services and would use them in the
"Thank you so much. I'm thrilled with my DCWS experience, and the level
of thought and critique I received from Gabriel. Tremendously helpful, I
will definitely do this again. Thank you to you & Dzanc &
—Marie Gauthier (after working with Gabriel Welsch)
"I give this program all the credit for my
having short stories finally accepted by lit mags. Best deal on the
planet. Go for it."
--Jon R. Horton (via Facebook)
"Many thanks for sending this along. These comments are very helpful! Please let George know how much I appreciate his help -- what he gave me here is more than worth my $50!"
"This is great, Dan. It's exactly what I wanted. Matt really did a fantastic job of pointing out the story's weaknesses and also ways to fix them. The detailed feedback is invaluable to me. I'll probably start sending ALL my stories to DCWS, since this is the only way for me to get unbiased feedback right now."
Dzanc Books is extremely pleased to announce that Laura van den Berg's short story collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009), has been selected as a finalist for the Frank O'Connor Short Fiction Award.
Announced earlier today, Laura's book is one of six collections that the committee has winnowed down from the original semi-finalist long list of 58 titles. The Frank O'Connor Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the world as it is open internationally and receives submissions from publishers all over the world, is awarded to the best, original collection of stories published in English in the 12 preceding months. This year's finalists range from debut authors on up to TC Boyle, who has published 20 works of fiction, including 9 short story collections.
Dzanc Books is thrilled to have Laura's work among the finalists. Since Laura first won the Dzanc Prize in 2008, proving not only her skills as a writer but dedication to social service, her collection has gone on to receive a starred Booklist review, as well as be selected also as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers and a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist. Stories from the collection have also been reprinted in Best American Nonrequired Reading2008, Best New American Voices 2010, and The Pushcart Prize XXIV: Best of the Small Presses.
Laura is a well deserving finalist and we here at Dzanc Books could not be prouder to have published What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us.
In response to Tin House's new submission policy, we at Dzanc
Books are motivated to reply with what we hope is an alternative
solution to one of the issues Tin House seems to be raising; to
wit the decline of books being purchased - and purchased at independent
bookstores. Rather than tie our concerns to the submissions we
receive at Dzanc - and our lit reviews and imprints: The Collagist,
Monkeybicycle and Absinthe, OV Books, Black Lawrence Press, Keyhole and
Starcherone - we would like to make the following offer which we feel
will better serve the desire to support independent bookstores and the
purchase of books. For the month of July, we at Dzanc will donate a
book to a school/library for each proof of purchase provided to us of a
book bought at an independent bookstore. The book bought should be a
work of literary fiction, though does not have to be a book published by
Dzanc Books or any of our imprints. Simply send a copy of your receipt
to the address below and Dzanc will donate a new book to a
library/school of your choosing.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104