It was a great honor to be interviewed for the Queeries series at Kirkus, which focuses on LGBT writers and their works. In the interview, I talked about queer identities, ill-fated love affairs, and blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. You can read the full interview online at the Kirkus Reviews website.
This week I was honored to see my book and the team that made it possible highlighted in Poets & Writers for their piece, "The Business of Relationships." My agent, my editor, and I (plus a cool bookseller from my local bookstore, Elliott Bay Books in Seattle) were all interviewed for the piece, which highlights five debut authors and the teams working with them behind the scenes. If you haven't picked up a copy of Poets & Writers yet, I suggest you do. You can also read "The Business of Relationships" online here.
Hello there! It's been a while since I last updated this. That's because the past month and a half has been incredibly busy—in only the best ways!
My short story collection, Night Beast, was published on May 8th and has been getting good reviews (I'll do a round-up soon!). I've had a great time giving readings and meeting fans, and I'm looking forward to more events in the fall.
I was honored to be included on Wigleaf's longlist for best very short fictions of 2017 for my story "Two Lies," which appeared in Juked and was collected in Night Beast.
And, as if that isn't enough, I've also had three acceptances at literary magazines in the past two months. Look for new flash fiction from me in Fiction Southeast and Vestal Review, plus a poem in The Journal.
2018 is shaping up to be a great year for my writing!
I'm thrilled to have my short story "Nitrate Nocturnes" in the April issue of Lightspeed. Though I've been writing genre-bending short stories for a while, this is my first publication in a magazine devoted to speculative fiction. Hopefully the first of many. Thanks to John Joseph Adams, the editor of Lightspeed, for giving the story a home. And to Arley Sorg for interviewing me for the author spotlight.
This spring, I'll be teaching a two-day course called Exercises in Empathy at the Hugo House in Seattle. We'll be meeting on April 19th and April 26th from 6 to 9 PM. For more info or to register, check out the course listing on the Hugo House website.
Very excited to share this review from Publishers Weekly, which calls Night Beast a "captivating debut...a cri de coeur for sympathy and understanding." You can read the full review online at their website.
Just wanted to share the incredible blurbs Night Beast has already gotten. Thanks so much to Alice Fulton, Benjamin Percy, Kevin Brockmeier, Kevin Wilson, and Anna Noyes for the kind words about my book.
“A fearless and startlingly talented writer… [ Ruth Joffre blends] the quiet horror of Mary Gaitskill and the reality-bending mischievousness of David Lynch and Kelly Link. You will leave this book gratefully unsettled.” —Benjamin Percy, author of The Dark Net, Thrill Me, Red Moon and The Dead Lands
“The force of Night Beast is seismic; I was startled to read a first book so daringly original. Ruth Joffre’s dissident, imperiled characters are intricately drawn and deeply surprising. While working in the tradition of Djuna Barnes, Isak Dinesen, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Mary Gaitskill, Ruth Joffre manages to be sui generis, a singular young writer reconfiguring the possibilities of fiction at the dawn of — please gods — a dazzling career. There is nothing like her. And there never was.” —Alice Fulton, author of Barely Composed
“So many of the characters in Ruth Joffre’s stories are, literally and figuratively, sleepwalking through ‘some dark and frightful dream that our minds had conjured,’ and it's a testament to Joffre’s meticulous and abundant talent that she can guide the reader through these constrained and inhospitable spaces. No matter how dark the stories become, her language, so precise and beautiful, shines a light so that you can go deeper into these worlds, where no one else has ever been. A wonderful debut.” —Kevin Wilson, author of Perfect Little World and The Family Fang
“Ruth Joffre turns the lights on all around her characters yet still permits them their mystery, so that beneath their sharp lines and vivid colors one senses something considerably darker and more enigmatic. They face you not like constructions on a page but like people in the world.” —Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Illumination and The Brief History of the Dead
“Hypnotic and elegant, Night Beast built to a resonance that resounds in me still. These stories are unforgettable, full of longing and hunger and alert tenderness. Finishing the collection was like waking from a night of disquieting and luminous dreams. I did not want this book to end.” —Anna Noyes, author of Goodnight, Beautiful Women
I'm thrilled to officially announce that I have sold my short story collection, Night Beast and Other Stories, to Grove Atlantic! Thanks so much to my fabulous agent, Ross Harris, and my editor at Grove, Nicole Nyhan. Also thanks to the many friends who helped me get this far and to Kelly Link for selecting the title story ("Night Beast") as the winner of The Masters Review's 2016 Fall Fiction Contest. I'm very excited about this deal and can't wait to have the physical book in my hands. Meanwhile, I've got a novel to write! More about that later.
I'm proud to have two weird fairy tales up at Juked today: "One of the Lies I Tell My Children" (#5 & #14). These pieces were inspired by parents everywhere, particularly those who say things like, "If you don't do your homework, you'll never get into college." In my stories, the kids don't clean their room or turn their music down, to interesting results...
For all the aspiring writers out there, I highly recommend Benjamin Percy's craft book Thrill Me. It's a collection of essays about craft: plotting, character development, genre, the brilliance of The Godfather, you name it. It is hands down the most useful craft book I've ever read. If you're not already sold, read my full review of Thrill Me online at Kenyon Review.
Today's the day: my prize-winning story "Night Beast" is live on The Masters Review's website. Kelly Link picked my story as the winner of the 2016 Fall Fiction Contest, and I could not be more thrilled to see it out in the world!
Very excited that my short story "Safekeeping" has been published in DIAGRAM Issue 17.1! I've been a fan of DIAGRAM for years and have always wanted to contribute to the magazine. At last, that dream is a reality. And with one of the strangest, most speculative stories I've ever written. It's about a woman living in a futuristic safe house, waiting for her lover to come back to her (and maybe going a little crazy in the process). You can read the full story here.
As a fan of Nguyen's The Sympathizer, it was a great pleasure to read and review his short story collection The Refugees. I'm haunted by so many of the characters: the ghost who swims across the ocean in "Black-Eyed Women," the professor suffering from Alzheimer's in "I'd Love You to Want Me." Nguyen is a great writer, and I recommend both The Refugees and The Sympathizer for anyone interested in stories about race, trauma, ghosts, and the struggles of being a refugee or the child of a refugee. You can read my review online at The Rumpus.
I love discovering small press books, so it was a pleasure to read and review Steven Dunn's Potted Meat for Colorado Review. It's a brilliant, innovative, powerful little book broken into short chapters of as little as a few sentences and as many as a few pages. It deals in themes of race, class, violence, sex, inequality, the failure of the education system, being a teenager, and what it means to be black in America today. You can read my full review online at Colorado Review.
I'm a little late posting this, but I'm so honored and excited to announce that Kelly Link chose my short story "Night Beast" as the winner of The Masters Review's Fall Fiction Contest! I've been following Kelly Link's work for years and am so thrilled that she likes my work and knows I exist. I highly recommend Link's story collection Get In Trouble if you haven't already read it. "Summer People" is fantastic. My story "Night Beast" will be published online at The Masters Review on Friday, March 24th, so stay tuned.
My short short story "Softening" is the featured story this week at SmokeLong Quarterly. I'm very honored to be the featured writer this week and am so happy to see my story on the site. Thank you to the editorial team at SmokeLong and to my design intern from work, Marisa, who created the art that accompanies my story. If you have a minute to spare, check it out. I hope you like it!
This past Tuesday was a remarkable day. Not only did I see Tegan & Sara live in concert, but I also learned that Kwame Dawes, the Poetry Editor at Prairie Schooner, had chosen my poem "A Matter of Distance, A Matter of Time" for inclusion in a future issue of the magazine. I wrote this poem in Iowa, when things in my last relationship were going downhill, and tried to capture that mix of resignation and longing that comes when an affair goes badly, but you still wish the person well. I'm so honored to have this poem appear in such a fabulous magazine. Thanks so much Kwame for believing in my writing.
Thank you for visiting my brand new website! This seems like the perfect time to announce that my short short story, "Softening," has just been accepted at SmokeLong Quarterly and will be appearing on the site on Oct. 24th and in print in Issue 54, which comes out in December. I'm working with a designer to make some fabulous art to accompany the story, so stay tuned. I also have stories forthcoming in Copper Nickel and DIAGRAM. More on those later!