Saturday, 29 November 2008


I've recently come across two excellent magazines offering online literary content. The Drawbridge has published work by the likes of Tobias Wolff, Siri Hustvedt, Irvine Welsh and DBC Pierre. The current issue features an excerpt from José Saramago's new novel, though, as with most of the articles, you'll have to purchase the print edition to read the full text.

I first came across Salena Godden's name in a mailing from Litro magazine. Her writing has also appeared in The Drawbridge, and you can read her entertaining story, 'The Walrus and the Diamond Ring' here. Like The Drawbridge, Litro is a London-based publication. It was 'founded in 2005 by Mike Fell to provide commuters and office workers with a short story every week. Mike came up with the idea of Litro after finishing Dubliners by James Joyce somewhere near Mornington Crescent.' An admirable enterprise. I was glad to discover interesting work by two new names, Carol Farrelly and Deborah Nash.

Friday, 14 November 2008


The Roving Editor spends rather less time in New York than in North Yorkshire, so unfortunately I missed Deb Olin Unferth's event at the MercBar this week. If her readings are as entertaining as this YouTube clip suggests, it would have been well worth going along. Her phrasing and delivery of a story entitled 'Deb Olin Unferth' reminded me, weirdly, of Gil Scott Heron, though the content is uniquely (and literally) her own.

I heard of Deb Olin Unferth through Ron Hogan's always diverting blog, Beatrice, and discovered a few short pieces by her here, and here. The themes of theft and tourism seem to loom large in her work, and the sense of humour is bone-dry. I look forward to her debut novel, Vacation, though this doesn't appear to have been picked up by a UK publisher as yet.

Friday, 7 November 2008


There's more than a touch of Saki in 'Leopard', a short story by Wells Tower in this week's New Yorker. Both writers seem to share an instinctive understanding of the battle lines separating children from adults. In 'Leopard', as in the collection Beasts and Super-Beasts, the animal kingdom is a metaphor for the forces of nature that can invade the most ordered human existence.

Wells Tower is a new (and unusual) name, but something tells me we will be hearing it more often in the future. Oh, and I must also thank the author for adding a new word to my vocabulary: everything about his story is copacetic, in fact.

UPDATE: Read The Roving Editor's review of Wells Tower's debut collection, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, here.

Monday, 3 November 2008


"Finding new writers is hard." This is how Glen Pourciau responded when I asked him to name any emerging authors whose work had impressed him recently. He's dead right, which is why I don't post every day of the week. The Roving Editor welcomes recommendations from readers, and particularly from readers who happen to be writers too. Recently Donald Ray Pollock gave us his choices, and now it is the turn of Glen, author of the fine short story collection, Invite.

"The writers that come to mind are Cate Kennedy, Benjamin Percy, and Ander Monson," he told me. "Cate Kennedy had a story in the New Yorker a couple of years ago that I thought was significantly good. It was called 'Black Ice' and it has also been published under the title 'Cold Snap'. ... Her collection is called Dark Roots.

"Benjamin Percy has gotten pretty well known. He's published two collections [Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk] and has had a couple of stories in the Paris Review. He won their Plimpton Prize. One of his Paris Review stories was reprinted in The Barcelona Review."

And finally... "Ander Monson published a distinctive collection a couple of years ago called Other Electricities."

Thanks for these pointers, Glen. Watch this space for more word of mouth from writers we admire at The Roving Editor.