Tag Archives: fiction

Temporary People: A Trip Into The Backlist


Dear Black Lawrence Press Friends, Family, and Fans,

In 1946, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot opened and closed in London in less than two months.  Worse, a year later, ‘Godot’  ran for less than 40 performances on Broadway.  60 years later, ‘Godot’ is recognized as one of the greatest plays in the English language.

Joeseph Heller’s Catch 22 was rejected by 32 publishers before being published in 1961, and becoming one of the literary landmarks of our time.

Between 1953-1954, Nabokov’s Lolita went unpublished and rejected for over 14 months, before it, too, found its way into the pantheon of American literature and was published in 1955.

Who knows if Steven Gillis’ novel, Temporary People, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath.  What we do know is that in April of 2008, Temporary People received glowing reviews by the few sources which read the novel.  Wary of the material, the majority of major reviewers shied away.  Stores were unsure as well what to do with the novel which, since its release, has proven prescient in its commentary on the state of the world and human nature at its best and worst.  A love story and political satire, Temporary People is a book which like many of its predecessors is initially misunderstood and neglected, but – we hope – through your readership destined for greater things.

Here’s an excerpt from the first page of the novel:

The babies’ heads are fat as fruit grown ripe beyond all natural measure. I remember the first time I saw one, her woebegone look and swollen scale, with hair stretched out in gossamer patches, as ill-proportioned as an artist’s lampoon. Startled, I couldn’t help but stare and wonder what had happened. Three months later, as the numbers rose and hinted of an epidemic, the truth came out and to no surprise gave us Teddy Lamb, a.k.a. the General…

You can order a copy from Black Lawrence Press or from Amazon.

Happy reading!


Diane Goettel

The “collected-ness” of Morrison’s Said and Done

MorrisonWe’re pleased as punch with the most recent review of James Morrison’s Said and Done. Published in the current issue of Quarterly Conversation, the review was written by Barrett Hathcock who, incidentally, was a finalist for the 2009 Hudson Prize.

Here are some of our favorite bits:

I was struck reading James Morrison’s new story collection Said and Done by its consistent inconsistency, its very collected-ness…

…Reading this book and enjoying the stories, each as free agents of prose rather than members of some cohesive aesthetic team, makes me hope that despite our age of a la carte song selection—no doubt only presaging some age of choose-your-own story collection—we will still be provided occasionally with a true sampler, highlighting variety over conformity, highlighting stories we didn’t select ourselves.

Thanks, Barrett!

The entire review is available here. If this sounds like your kind of collection, you can get your copy of Said and Done from the Black Lawrence Press website or from Amazon.

Happy Reading!

Recent Publications

Academic quarterlies are often behind in schedule — case in point, The Explicator, just issued its Summer 20o08 and Fall 2008 issues at the same time. I have work in both — three explication notes on Raymond Carver’s stories — in the Summer issue, they’re on self-image in “Intimacy” and how Gordon Lish edited “Tell The Women We’re Going;” in the Fall, on Gordon Lish’s editing “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” a.k.a. “Beginners,” which was the big to-do in last year’s Xmas issue of The New Yorker, with correspondence, and on-line, a play-by-play, or cut-by-cut, blow-by-blow showing of the edits.

My suite of five flash fictions, “Five Freaks,” is in the new issue of Fictional International

A review-essay on a book called Sperm Counts is in the Fall 2008 issue of The Journal of Sex Research.

An essay, “Autoethnography as Stand-Up Comedy,” in Vol. 1.2 of Creative Appraoches to Research.

St. Lawrence Book Award Winner Announced

2008 St. Lawrence Book Award Winner Yelizaveta P. Renfro

2008 St. Lawrence Book Award Winner Yelizaveta P. Renfro

YELIZAVETA P. RENFRO of Sidney, Nebraska has been chosen as the winner of the 2008 St. Lawrence Book Award. Yelizaveta was born in the former Soviet Union to a Russian mother and American father, and previously lived in Russia, California, and Virginia. Currently she lives in Nebraska with her husband, children, brother, and a cat. Her short story collection, A Catalogue of Everything in the World, the 2008 St. Lawrence Book Award winner, is set in and inspired by the American Midwest. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Glimmer Train Stories, North American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Witness, Blue Mesa Review, So to Speak, the anthology A Stranger Among Us: Stories of Cross Cultural Collision and Connection (University of Illinois Press/OV Books, 2008), and elsewhere. Her awards include Glimmer Train Fiction Open second place, So to Speak Fiction Contest first place, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. She earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from George Mason University. She is completing her Ph.D. in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Black Lawrence Signs Michael Hemmingson

Black Lawrence author Michael Hemmingson, author of PICTURES OF HOUSES WITH WATER DAMAGE

Black Lawrence author Michael Hemmingson, author of PICTURES OF HOUSES WITH WATER DAMAGE

Black Lawrence Press is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of short story collection Pictures of Houses with Water Damage by Michael Hemmingson. Pictures of Houses with Water Damage is a collection of American short stories about loneliness, betrayal, and redemption in relationships and families. Written in a spare, concise, and singular style, Michael Hemmingson explores the many ways people react to broken and mended hearts, happiness, and hope in contemporary settings from kitchens, motel rooms, to a science station in the South Pole.

Michael Hemmingson has been called “Raymond Carver on acid” by literary guru Larry McCaffery and “a disciple of a quick and dirty literature” by the American Book Review. Some of his previous books include the novels Wild Turkey (Forge Books), The Rose of Heaven (Prime Books), The Comfort of Women (Blue Moon) and In the Background is a Walled City (Borgo Press). He co-edited Expelled from Eden: A William T. Vollmann Reader (Thunder’s Mouth Press) and will soon publish a critical study on Vollmann (from McFarland) and an annotated bibliography of Vollmann’s many words (from Scarecrow Press). He considers himself the leading Vollmann scholar in the world. He also edited Conversations with Wim Wenders (Lexington Books). His first novel (or novella) was published in 1994 from Permeable Press, called The Naughty Yard, reprinted verbatim in The Mammoth Book of International Erotica (Carroll & Graf). “The irony of course,” says Hemmingson, “is that the small press edition sold maybe 1200 copies, whereas that anthology has sold half a million units.” Wearing the academic hat, as an independent scholar with no institutional ties but affiliations with Indiana University, San Diego State, and UCSD, Hemmingson has written the meditation, Gordon Lish and His Influence on Twentieth Century American Literature (Routledge), a short TV studies monograph on Star Trek (Wayne State University Press), and an ethnographic research project, Zona Norte (Cambridge Scholars). Wearing the screenwriter’s hat, his first indie feature, The Watermelon, was produced by LightSong Films and his currently making the film festival rounds. He has a couple of other film projects in the works, including the adaptation of his novel, The Dress, shot in New York. Wearing the journalist’s hat, he is a staff writer at The San Diego Reader. His stories and essays have been published in journals such as Fiction International, ZYZZYVA, Gargoyle, Hobart, Onthebus, Life Writing, Critique, and Creative Approaches to Research. From 1995-2000, he was Literary Manager of The Fritz Theater in San Diego, where he directed, produced, and wrote many plays there, as well as for his own company, The Alien Stage Project, that still produces theater in San Diego and Los Angeles. Hemmingson won the San Diego Book Awards’ first Novel-in-Progress grant for The Rose of Heaven and SDBA’s Best Published novel for Wild Turkey. Hemmingson resides somewhere in southern California with two cats, Worf and Poe.

SIGNS OF LIFE Reviewed at NewPages.com

SIGNS OF LIFE by Norman Waksler

SIGNS OF LIFE by Norman Waksler

NewPages.com has just reviewed Norman Waksler’s Signs of Life:


For more about Norman Waksler, please see http://www.blacklawrence.com/waksler.html

TEMPORARY PEOPLE at legendary Strand Bookstore in NYC

A Fable by Steven Gillis

TEMPORARY PEOPLE: A Fable by Steven Gillis

TEMPORARY PEOPLE by Steven Gillis is now available at Strand, legendary NYC bookstore.

Check it out:

http://www. strandbooks. com/app/www/p/profile/?isbn=0976899361

From Strand Bookstore:

“Steven Gillis teaches writing at Eastern Michigan University and is the author of “Walter Falls”, “Giraffes” and “The Weight of Nothing”. Gillis’s “Temporary People” is a fable about a failed television actor, Teddy Lamb a.k.a. The General. Teddy Lamb has turned into a banana republic dictator of Bamerita, a Caribbean island that Teddy has turned into a large movie set. This fable is told through the voice of insurance salesman Andre Manfante, who believes that Teddyhas set out not to make a movie but to blur the edges of reality so that he can claim all acts of violence are mere make-believe. A stunningly original, cautionary tale for our present time. A stark warning for our post-9/11 world.

Or pick it up at Black Lawrence with a special fall deal:

http://www. blacklawrence. com/specials. html

TAR Named One of the Best On-line Literary Magazines

TAR named one of the best on-line literary magazines

Black Lawrence Press original publication The Adirondack Review, founded in April 2000, has been named one of the best on-line literary magazines by Every Writers Resource:


Steven Gillis reads from TEMPORARY PEOPLE (Video)

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Announcement: Winners of All Contests Will Be Posted on Site

Black Lawrence Press will start announcing all finalists and semi-finalists of contests on or before May 31, 2008 with the announcement of the Hudson Prize finalists and semi-finalists. The winner of the Hudson Prize will be announced on the website on or before June 30, 2008.

It is no longer necessary to send a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) with your contest entries or regular submissions. All authors should check the site for status of contest entries. Authors sending regular (i.e., non-contest) submissions will be notified by e-mail, so please be sure to include a valid e-mail address with all work.