2018 Mississippi Review Prize in Fiction


Thrilled to hear that my story “Pinkie” was selected by Anne Sanow as the winner of the 2018 Mississippi Review Prize in Fiction. My deep thanks to Adam Clay, Jon Riccio, Nickalus Rupert for their support.

Looking forward to reading the issue, including stories from fiction finalists Rowena Alegría, Maria Anderson, Remy Barnes, Allison Pinkerton, Jim Ruland, Jamie Lyn Smith, and Sharon Solwitz.

A brief history of the Mississippi Review:

Mississippi Review was founded by Gordon Weaver in 1972 at the University of Southern Mississippi. Frederick Barthelme took over the editorial reins in 1977 and along with managing editor Rie Fortenberry quickly turned MR into a literary magazine of national acclaim. The duo ran Mississippi Review for over 30 years, consistently publishing issues that combined top-tier work with an innovative and eclectic design aesthetic. In 2010 Julia Johnson became editor-in-chief, followed two years later by Andrew Malan Milward. Steve Barthelme, director of USM’s Center for Writers, served as editor-in-chief for 2016. As of fall 2017, Assistant Professor of Poetry Adam Clay is the new editor-in-chief.

Today, MR is one of the most respected literary journals in the country. Raymond Carver, an early contributor to the magazine, once said that Mississippi Review “is one of the most remarkable and indispensable literary journals of our time.” Well-known and established writers have appeared in the pages of the magazine, including Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winners, as well as new and emerging writers who have gone on to publish books and to receive awards. MR is now in its fifth decade, and while adapting to this up-and-coming generation of writers and readers, the magazine continues to publish writing that is offbeat and ahead of the curve.


Indiana Review #IRFictionPrize


The Indiana Review offered up an #IRFictionPrize twitter contest, asking writers to provide a title for this short:

“You were stranded on a desert island with a copy of IR and a newborn piglet. You did the only thing you could do to survive.”


They picked my entry as one of two winners, which I’ve lovingly converted into a sort of piggish Rothko print. Thanks to the IR crew for selecting it and putting out such a wonderful publication! Here’s more on the 2015 IR Fiction Prize and how to submit.

Q&A with Bret Anthony Johnston


This summer I had the chance to read Bret Anthony Johnston’s fantastic new novel Remember Me Like This. He was kind enough to answer my questions about it and share a bizarre experience at a clown convention in Houston that prompted his story “Paradeability,” which appeared in American Short Fiction, Issue 53.

Find it here: “An Interview With Bret Anthony Johnston,” American Short Fiction.

LIV Fest & Chicago


Lots of talented people at LIV Fest, and I got to talk with some of them. Above is a shot from an interview with BRONCHO. Once they’re edited, the interviews with Emperor X, Chris Mann, Emersons Fall, BRONCHO, and others will appear on the LIV Fest Vimeo account.










In Chicago, parents let their kids run through fountains that look like this. Seagulls perch on the top and sometimes a mystery spray of water spurts from a gaping hole near the projection’s mouth. Bless you, Chicago.











Pad Thai at a robot themed restaurant.












Not in the frame: a guy in Ray-Bans and sailing shorts stiffing a pizza delivery guy.

Teens Talk of Danger



When I was ten or eleven, we’d have the TV rolling as we got ready for school. This was when my older brother was starting to take on this phase where he couldn’t get enough CNN. It would be 7:30 in the morning and he’d want to read the ticker as we chomped Cheerios. Usually, though, we’d have on Power Rangers. The conversation would go like this:


Brother: What is this crap? This is crap. This show is crap.

Me: I know.

Brother: I’m changing the channel.

Me: There’s no way that’s going to happen.


I feel the same way about Power Rangers now as I did then. I should have turned to my brother and said, I’ll give you this: Yes, it’s a sitcom with so little character development that even a coloring book based on it can’t quite figure out what scenes to put in (so they draw the teen rangers standing around in some placeless void, or have the word “morph” in different block letters for kids to shade in), and yes, some producer had particularly bad tastes in music and sound effects, and yes, the show was made even more frustrating by basic discrepancies– enemies without a source of conflict, plots without a goal, etc., and yes, of course, some of the voices made you want to kill yourself right then and there.


But something in the boldness of its color schemes, the new-to-you Japanese screen shots, the talking head Zordon who led the rangers, and the reliability of sound and picture and structure made it appealing. It was a constant in an otherwise messed up universe. You knew Rita was going to cackle and throw her staff down from the moon or wherever. You knew the rangers would kick and punch a handful of putty foot soldiers into dust and then be attacked to near defeat by a new creature– maybe a giant lobster or squid or mummy– only to prevail, again, by combining forces or using a special sword or something equally random to their advantage. It was a comfort view. Or maybe it just wasn’t CNN.