3 Questions: Juan Martinez

Mon 10 Apr 2023 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Posted by: Gavin

Earlier this fast-moving year, we celebrated Juan Martinez publishing his first novel, Extended Stay. We’d published Juan’s short story collection, Best Worst American, a few years before and we’re always going to celebrate a new book by an author we’ve published. I was curious about the title so I sent Juan a few not very serious questions — plus a request for some book recommendations. For an actual, decent interview, here’s Tobias Carroll’s on Vol.1 Brooklyn.

What’s his first novel about? Publisher’s Weekly summed it up this way:

“Martinez’s impressive debut — part of the University of Arizona’s Camino del Sol series, which spotlights Latinx authors — reads like a collaboration between Lewis Carroll and H.P. Lovecraft, from an idea by Stephen King. This is a fresh and stunning winner.”

Gavin: You may have covered this in another interview, sorry: have you ever lived in an extended stay hotel? 

Juan: I don’t think anyone’s asked, actually! I totally did live in an extended hotel during my first two weeks in Las Vegas: it was a Budget Suites of America that had lost its franchise rights, so they put a tarp over “Budget,” possibly over “Suites.” I may have stayed in an “of America.” It was rough. They did have free coffee and there was this real effort on the part of the manager to keep the place nice — the lobby, at least. And anyone who had lived there a while had clearly made an effort to keep their area kind of nice. I remember a window that had a bunch of lighthouses neatly arranged. You did what you could to make the place yours.

GG: Are there other meanings that should be read into the title, such as trying to get a dog to sit while you walk 20 yards with their ball?

JM: The title does have a bunch of other meanings — or does suggest some other meanings. I’ll take the dog one! There’s also the whole bit about one overextending a tourist visa to circumvent immigration policies (the siblings do this in the novel). But there’s also the whole experience of leaving your home country for another place: there’s a sense, at least for a while, that you’re just, you know, extending a visit, that the whole experience is temporary, that eventually you’ll make your way back to your “real” home.

GG: What is it about horror that pulls you in?

JM: I love the nightmare logic of horror: how surreal horror can get, how it helps narratives navigate and blur the border between the world of the senses and whatever’s beyond that. I’m also just grateful for horror — I read so much of it, so much Peter Straub and Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell when I was a teenager and super sick — and I wanted to go back to that feeling of deep immersion in darkness. It was just such a wonderful way to navigate my own trauma back then, and now, even. Horror is just so good at that.

GG: One bonus question: Have you read anything good recently?

JM: I’m halfway through Elizabeth McKenzie’s The Dog of the North & Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions For You — they’re both excellent! As is Nathan Ballingrud’s The Strange. I also can’t say enough good things about George Gissing’s New Grub Street, a brutal novel about writing and money and the publishing crisis. It’s a 19th-century novel but it turns out things were right back then too.

GG: Thanks, Juan!

Pick up Extended Stay from Women & Children First or Bookshop.org.

AWP 2019, #8046

Mon 25 Mar 2019 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Posted by: Gavin

Later this week we’ll be one of a million publishers and journals and writing programs taking part in the bookfair at the annual AWP Conference.

I’ll be at Booth 8046 most of the time; Kelly will be there sometimes (see panels below and the next item), and our kid will be with us, swimming, living in Powell’s if she can, reading under the table, or selling zines . . . !


Due to shipping snafus on my part — ugh, everything delayed by short term sickness, all gone now, phew — some of our books won’t be on the table until Friday, darn it, so Kelly and Ursula went into overdrive and made some zines:

And here are a few things to potentially add to your sched. We will have copies of books by Kelly, Karen, Juan, and Abbey at their table signings.

Say hi if you’re there!

Thursday March 28
1:30 – 2:45 pm
B117-119, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

R224A. Light is the Left Hand of Darkness: A Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin. (,  ,  ,  ,  Kelly Link) “Truth,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in her novel The Left Hand of Darkness, “is a matter of the imagination.” In 2018, one of America’s greatest science fiction writers passed on, leaving behind a library of literary and social achievements. Through her imaginative narratives, she scrutinized politics, gender, and the environment, creating alternate worlds and new societies as a means to convey deeper truths about our own. This panel celebrates her influential work and pays tribute to her legacy.

Friday March 29

11:00 – 11:30am
Kelly Link
Table signing, #8046

4:30 – 5:45 pm
F149, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

F310. Speculative Fiction, Genre, and World-building in the Creative Writing Classroom. (,  ,  ,  ,  ) With more and more writers interested in speculative fiction, magical realism, and genre, how can workshops, teachers, and programs embrace all these forms? Panelists who teach in the Clarion Writers Workshop, UCLA Extension Programs, MFAs, and undergraduate programs discuss specific approaches to teaching, including speculative fiction in literary fiction workshops, classes and programs tailored for genre forms, and guiding students to build sound, imaginative, and diverse worlds.

Saturday March 30

10:30 – 11:00am
Karen Joy Fowler
Table signing, #8046

11:00 – 11:30am
Juan Martinez
Table signing, #8046

1:30 – 2:45 pm
B117-119, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

S219. Getting Home: Writing & Publishing Debut POC Story Collections. (,  ,  ,  ) Finding a home for a story collection is hard. It’s harder still for people of color writing about worlds bypassed by the larger reading public. This panel features debut authors whose collections explore what it means to speculate on racialized experience in the US, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. They discuss how perceptions of identity wind through issues of craft and cultural expectations: What do readers seek in their work? To what degree do authors fulfill or frustrate assumptions?

3:00pm to 3:30pm
Abbey Mei Otis
Table signing, #8046

An Afternoon in Hanover, NH

Wed 3 Oct 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Posted by: Gavin

On Monday I drove up to New Hampshire to attend a panel and reception with the winners of the inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award:

In the category of debut speculative fiction, the award goes to Best Worst American, by Juan Martinez (Small Beer Press, 2017). The co-winners of the inaugural prize in the open category are Central Station, by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications, 2016), and On the Edge of Gone, by Corinne Duyvis (Amulet/Abrams, 2016).

I’d never been to the town of Hanover before and it seemed lovely and absolutely full of students. The panel and reception were held in the Filene Auditorium, which, of course, was in the basement. NYT bestseller and author of the recent hit The Mere Wife, Maria Dahvana Headley, the principle award judge for the award this year, was the chair of the panel (bad pre-panel pictures below, sorry!) and she had some fine questions for Martinez (who was brought in from Chicago) and Duyvis (who came in from Amsterdam) — Lavie Tidhar was travel-delayed as he came in from London and arrived in time for the reception.

After the panel, everyone enjoyed the buffet as the winners signed books and chatted with attendees, who included students, faculty, a local science fiction book club, and more. Besides being flown in and put up in a local hotel, the winners all received a check for $5,000 and a physical award — which maybe the university or one of the winners will post a picture of. All in all, it was a lovely first celebration and fingers crossed I’ll go up again in years to come.

ETA: Read more in The Dartmouth.


Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards Winner: Best Worst American by Juan Martinez

Wed 16 May 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College has announced that Best Worst American by Juan Martinez has been named the recipient of the inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction.

The awards will is presented for a debut work in the genre of speculative fiction. Martinez will receive a $5,000 honorarium that will be presented during a Dartmouth-hosted panel to discuss the genre and their work.

The judging was spearheaded by New York Times-bestselling author Maria Dahvana Headley, whose wide-ranging work includes speculative fiction for both adult and young readers. Her soon-to-be-released novel The Mere Wife (MCD × Farrar, Straus & Giroux) is a contemporary retelling of the classic “Beowulf.”

Best Worst Telling the American Map

Mon 9 Apr 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Posted by: Gavin

Delightful news from the weekend, Juan Martinez’s Best Worst American and Christopher Rowe’s Telling the Map are both on the shortlist for the inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards. Note that plural: there are two awards, both worth $5,000, one for a debut work and one for an established author in the genre of speculative fiction. The awards will be presented “during a Dartmouth-hosted panel to discuss the genre and their work.”

Here’s the full shortlist:

2018 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards Shortlist of Books:
“After Atlas” by Emma Newman (Roc, 2016)
“Best Worst American” by Juan Martinez (Small Beer Press, 2017)
“Central Station” by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications, 2016)
“Children of the New World” by Alexander Weinstein (Picador, 2016)
“Made for Love” by Alissa Nutting (HarperCollins, 2017)
“New York 2140” by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit, 2017)
“On the Edge of Gone” by Corrine Duyvis (Amulet/Abrams, 2016)
“Six Wakes” by Mur Lafferty (Orbit, 2017)
“Telling the Map” by Christopher Rowe (Small Beer Press, 2017)
“Using Life” by Ahmed Naji (UT Press, 2017)
“Void Star” by Zachary Mason (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)

and the press release is here.

Chicago Love

Thu 7 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Hometown prophet gets some love! Juan Martinez’s Best Worst American is one the Chicago Review of Books’s Best Fiction Books of 2017 — not coincidentally, it’s one of ours, too. Yay for another list of good books!

9781618731241_094d0Best Worst American
By Juan Martinez
Small Beer Press

“In his debut short story collection, Juan Martinez takes us across the country (and possible countries) in brisk tales that range from sci-fi and horror to realism and metafiction.” —Adam Morgan

The Rumpus Interviews Juan Martinez

Mon 10 Jul 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Posted by: Gavin

The Rumpus published a lovely, wide-ranging interview with Juan Martinez (Best Worst American) by James Tadd Adcox today. I loved this part about walking the tightrope of writing in another language and the way he speaks about English:

“. . . never lost the sense that I was playing with someone else’s toys. That the language wasn’t quite mine. Not owning the tools of your trade can be freeing, I suppose. And enjoying the freedom of being in-between—from not fully being comfortable—that’s a lot freeing, because it short-circuits the fear, the freak-outs we all have when writing. The Oh-God-I’m-getting-this-wrong-I’m-not-doing-a-very-good-job jitters. Because I trick myself into writing through, and fixing it later, and it was a relief to learn that everyone feels this way, and that we all have to trick ourselves into navigating the unnavigable. I love English. I love what it can do. It’s insanely pliable, and it’s capable of swift shifts in register, and it accommodates so much. I’ll never speak it without an accent. And I’ll never quite lose the sense that English doesn’t love me as much as I love it, but, like I said, I’m pretty sure that’s a universal constant with all writers in all languages, the whole Flaubert and music-on-cracked-kettles-for-bears thing.”


Mon 10 Apr 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Posted by: Gavin

We publish Sofia Samatar’s collection Tender: Stories tomorrow. Many, many people are going to be very happy about this.

Also: next week there will be a giveaway for Lydia Millet’s final Dissenters novel, The Bodies of the Ancients, on Goodreads.

The above giveaway is for readers in the USA only due to mailing costs, but: right now readers worldwide can sign up to receive a free advance copy of Christopher Rowe’s forthcoming collection Telling the Map on LibraryThing.

Edelweiss users: this morning we posted Kij Johnson’s The River Bank.

Juan Martinez will be at 2 upcoming literary festivals: in Arkansas on April 29 and much closer to home at the Evanston Literary Festival on May 8,In Celebration of the Short Story with Christine Sneed at Bookends & Beginnings.

Did you hear that Ursula K. Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter is a finalist for the Hugo Award? How wonderful! I also really like Ursula’s new publicity photo by Rod Searcey.

Roses Are Red

Tue 14 Feb 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover - Violets are violet
Today is the day
We publish Juan Martinez

At AWP this past weekend more than one person came up, looked at Juan Martinez’s debut collection Best Worst American, and thought it had something to do with HMH’s Best American Short Stories which in itself was hilarious and gave me an idea for a new series of books — which we will not be publishing. AWP also turns out to be a great place to have a Juan Martinez book as he has graduated from a couple of universities and taught at a couple more. So many people came by either looking for him or the book. At least I could always help with the latter — even on Saturday when I was pretty much a zombie.

If you’re reading about this book for the first time, try this:

— so many short stories in one place I cannot list them all*
— also pointed out to me this weekend: none of these stories have been published in magazines in the sci-fi or whatevs genre
— 2 of these stories were read on NPR’s Selected Shorts

— Juan read the title story at Politics & Prose this weekend and it was hilarious
Chicago people: don’t miss his reading on Thursday night
Chicago people: if you do miss his reading on Thursday night, here is your second chance: Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m. Curbside Splendor Happy Hour Swill (with Kathleen Rooney)
— A. M. Dellamonica on Tor.com captures the range of the book: “out of the realm of the mildly disturbing, into something colder, more unequivocally horrifying…. stories run from the darkly absurd to finely-honed depictions of American immigrants’ experiences.”
— But what if you are just looking for, you know, weird stuff? Nisi Shawl says at the Seattle Review of Books that you will be ok: “Weirdness builds upon delectable weirdness throughout the whole book.”

You can get your print copy here (sorry, no signed copies in stock from AWP as sold them all! — but you can order them from W&CF above) or the ebook here. Enjoy!

* Ok, so there is a list, aka the TOC, here.

AWP 2017, Before

Wed 8 Feb 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Posted by: Gavin

We’ve arrived in DC — where democracy is taking a beating, fingers crossed it will survive — and tomorrow the whole AWP shebang begins. Our books are still in transit due to the ice storm that hit the northeast. With luck I’ll be getting them today and by tomorrow there will be a lovely table (110-T, come on by and say hello) full of books all neatly set up and ready for dispersement into the world.

There are approximately four quadrillions readings and parties going on in the next few days. Here are a few Small Beer-related or -adjacent during the conference and then on Saturday at 6 pm we have a reading with Kelly Link & Juan Martinez at Politics and Prose.

Signing at the Small Beer Press table: 110-T (on the edge, near Tin House)
10:00am to 10:30am Juan Martinez
10:30am to 11:00am Sofia Samatar
11:00am to 11:30am Kelly Link 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Marquis Salon 7 & 8, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

R205. The Political Woman: Historical Novelists Reimagine and Reclaim Women’s Place in Politics. (, , , , ) While rarely central and often discounted, women have always played a role in politics. In this panel, historical novelists discuss how and why they chose to unearth and reimagine the lost and untold stories of women in politics. What are the risks and rewards of using fiction to place women at the center of political narratives? What liberties are novelists compelled, or unwilling, to take with the historical record?

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Ballroom A, Washington Convention Center, Level Three

R282. Jennifer Egan, Karen Joy Fowler, and Hannah Tinti: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. (, , , ) This event will bring together three engaging contemporary female writers to read and discuss their craft. Jennifer Egan is the author of five books, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Visit From the Goon Squad. Karen Joy Fowler is the author of nine books, including We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award. Hannah Tinti is the author of three books, including The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, which will be published in 2017.

Saturday, February 11, 2017 View Full Schedule

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

S181. Immigrants/Children of Immigrants: A Nontraditional Path to a Writing Career . (,  ,  ,  ,  ) Not only do you not have an uncle in publishing or see people from the neighborhood get MFAs, immigrants and children of immigrants are inculcated to opt for “safe,” “secure,” often well-paying jobs; a writing career may seem like an unimaginable luxury or a fantasy. This panel of working writers looks at both psychic and structural issues that add a special challenge for writers from immigrant families.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

S271. The Short Story as Laboratory. (,  ,  ,  ,  ) What does short fiction allow? The form is beloved by science fiction writers, who use it to test out hypothetical futures; what does it offer writers who are doing other kinds of testing, related to emotional transitions, marginality, and migration? Is the short story an inherently border form? This panel considers these questions, the challenge of putting a set of experiments into a collection, and the tension between the laboratory and the completed book.

6 pm
Kelly Link and Juan Martinez
Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 Get Directions
Kelly Link will read with Juan Martinez (Best Worst American) at the most excellent Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse. This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Click here for more information.

We Will Know You By Your Friday Afternoon Executive Orders

Fri 3 Feb 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Posted by: Gavin

And will be unimpressed with your chaos, bombast, and moral weakness. That the Democratic Party are not impeaching this President yet is astounding. That the “Republican Party” accept their “President’s” actions: his racist Executive Orders, his racist and lying advisor and press secretary, his not recording his calls to Vladimir Putin, his insulting of allies, his emolument-clause twisting actions show that they are power hungry dogs willing to tear the country to pieces if only they can hold on to power for a moment longer.

Our town was supposed to get 51 refugees this year. There has been so much prepwork done for these 51 people — out of 60,000,000 displaced people. This anti-humanist “government” is a disgrace.

Here’s to the people who have been, are, and will continue to volunteer, march, and fight for actual freedom and the welcoming principles this country has (at least supposedly) espoused.

As well as all that: we publish extremely good books and here are a few spots in the world where they are being enjoyed:

— We published but five books last year and four of them are on the Locus Recommended Reading List. No stories from LCRW, which I’d disagree with, as would be expected of any editor. But I tend to think LCRW is one of the best zines out there and one I consistently read (for), so there’s my 2 cents.

— Over on Tor.com Juan Martinez writes about George Saunders’s CivilWarLand in Bad Decline for “The One Book That Unstuck My Writing

“I owe so much of my writing life to George Saunders that even this introductory bit is lifted from him, I just realized, even as I started writing it. Because I was going to begin by sharing how often I fantasized about meeting writers I admired, and it’s super common, this fantasy—writers meeting their idols, and then the idol recognizes your genius and you become best buds, and the idol lifts you from whatever dire circumstances you happen to be in, and your life is perfect from then on. I totally wanted to start with that—with confessing how often I thought of meeting Saunders—before I realized why I wanted to start with that.”

— a profile of the indomitable Ursula K. Le Guin by David Larsen in New Zealand’s The Listener:

Words Are My Matter demonstrates, among other things, the difference between a hectoring sermon and a ­memorable oration – notably in the text of her instantly viral 2014 speech on freedom, in which she lambasts profit-driven corporate publishing. ‘Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings.'”



Fri 27 Jan 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover - click to view full sizeWill you be in DC for the AWP grief fest? Yay, see you there. We will be selling books, tweetings and signing useless petitions at table 110-T in the bookfair. But more on that next week, if there is still an internet.

Anyway. We are throwing a reading at the amazing Politics and Prose Bookstore! Juan Martinez and Kelly Link are Juan read on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6:00 p.m. Juan will be reading from his debut collection Best Worst American — which just received a lovely review in Booklist Online:

“In a podcast conversation about this book’s title story, Israeli writer Etgar Keret praises the suspense Martinez builds by packing scenes with high emotion while withholding information from the reader. This disorienting energy infuses many of the two-dozen short stories collected here, including “Roadblock,” which opens with a pyromaniac aunt and a series of suspicious airplane accidents. Martinez parlays this odd sense of estrangement and tension into subtle, absurd humor. In “Well Tended,” the narrator finds himself caring for a missing neighbor’s houseplants, and he winds up alone in a room with them, watering can in hand, with the ridiculous sensation of being ignored by the plants. Other stories are more bluntly funny, like “Your Significant Other’s Kitten Poster,” which deciphers the contents of innocuous wall hangings and closes with a hilariously violent encounter with a professor in a pool hall. Throughout, Martinez reimagines urban landscapes like Orlando as hellish and spectacular, “lakes afire with reflected light,” and the “aggressively ethnic streets of Culver City.” In his idiosyncratic approach to fiction, Martinez delivers truly new ways to read the world.”

Best Best American

Tue 10 Jan 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover - click to view full sizeJuan Martinez’s collection Best Worst American winds its way toward publication — well, it’s at the printer so fingers crossed all goes well — and for that final cover that I made with help from Ursula and designed with Kelly we have a quote from Kelly herself:

“A master of the absurd who serves up contemporary American life in rare, blistering slices.”

Juan will be reading in Chicago at Women & Children First and then with Kelly at Politics and Prose in DC during ye olde AWP Conference — and signing at our table in the bookcity — next month. See you there, if DC is still standing.

Best Worst American cover

Tue 20 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover We had a placeholder cover for so long but hey, at last, before even the end of the world, here is the actual and real* cover for Juan Martinez’s debut collection Best Worst American which we’re publishing next February.

And here is a story from the book, “Hobbledehoydom,” first published on the Morning News, about Anthony Trollope and naked people.

* For a certain internet screen version of reality. How are you seeing this cover? On a computer? A phone? A wallscreen? The Times Square ad?


Tue 13 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

First trade review for Best Worst American comes form Kirkus Reviews who say: “Twenty-four semiexistential short stories that have appeared in the likes of McSweeney’s and Selected Shorts from Colombia-born writer Martinez. The author has an interesting way of injecting absurdity into everyday life and humor into the phantasmagorical in this wide-ranging, mostly engaging collection of tall tales. . . . there are also occasional moments of grace. . . . Some are just flat-out funny. . . . Martinez even makes the frightening funny. . . . promising debut collection of short stories, some unique in their execution.”

Comes out in February 2017 and will make you laugh all the way through 2018.

Read stories: “After The End Of The World: A Capsule Review” and Forsaken, the Crew Awaited News from the People Below


Wed 5 Oct 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Every now and then we get sent short story manuscripts (wait, every week. Every day?) and sometimes they strike us (ouch) as a good fit and sometimes not. A little while ago (um, years: Juan mentioned the manuscript to us at the AWP Conference in Boston) we were lucky enough to be sent Juan Martinez’s debut collection Best Worst American for consideration: and we consider it good; nay, hilarious; dark, deep; packed to the gunnels with short short stories and some longer. How good? How many? Rebecca Makkai says:

“These 24 wide-ranging stories are the gut-punch kind: intense, innovative tales that skew your vision for the rest of the day. Martinez writes with a sharp eye and a sharp tongue, and his characters — often alone and unloved, often haunted — are worthy observers of both the horrors and wonders of this world.”
Rebecca Makkai, Music for Wartime

Read one here: “After the End of the World: a Capsule Review” and more here.

Read a Short Short

Tue 20 Sep 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Forsaken, the Crew Awaited News from the People Below
Juan Martinez

Read it on McSweeney’s.net and in Best Worst American coming in February.

Best Freebie!

Thu 28 Jul 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Posted by: Gavin

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Best Worst American by Juan Martinez

Best Worst American

by Juan Martinez

Giveaway ends August 04, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Fri 15 Jul 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Who? Juan Martinez.
What? Best Worst American
When? Next year. When we’re all calmer, smarter.

In the meantime, one reader says:

“I feel sure that some smart and appreciative person will praise Juan Martinez for his ‘skewed vision,’ but Martinez’s view of the world is startlingly clear. It’s just that the rest of us haven’t caught up yet. Deep and comic and deeply comic, his is a collection of wonders for any human to enjoy.”
—Jack Pendarvis

Read one of the stories on Conjunctions: “The Coca-Cola Executive in the Zapatoca Outhouse.”

Juan (unlike us) is on Instagram:


Thu 7 Jul 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

Not worst. There are so many ways we could talk about the title of Juan Martinez’s first collection — Best Worst American — coming next February. So many ways we could contribute to the current political conversation. Is it a conversation? Is anyone listening? Or is it just shouting. Not sure.Gliding on by all that for the moment (vote, y’all), here’s one early reader’s reaction to the book:

“Juan Martinez’s Best Worst American is filled with droll, cunning, funny, and formally innovative stories that fall somewhere between stand-up comedy and literary fiction. These excellent works mark him as a writer both to read and watch.” — Tom Bissell

More on the book TK as reaction filters in. There are many, many excellent short stories in it. You can read one here, “Strangers on Vacation: Snapshots” on McSweeney’s. I think you will enjoy the book, it reminds me of that time my family and I hired took a small vacation back in 2001, we got the Best Cooler and headed over to the beach every single day.

Also, Juan (unlike us) is on Instagram:

SBP @AWP2016

Tue 22 Mar 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Posted by: Gavin

Besides our groovy (sorry) reading on Wed. March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Last Bookstore [with Kelly Link (Get in Trouble), Maureen F. McHugh (After the Apocalypse), Ayize Jama-Everett (The Entropy of Bones), and Sofia Samatar (The Winged Histories)] we have a few other things we’d like to share:

First: we have a table, #1331, in the huge bookfair. Come search us out!
Second: panels and stuff!

Thursday, March 31
11:00 am to 11:30 am
Table 1331, Ayize Jama-Everett (The Entropy of Bones) signing

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Room 515 A, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
R265. Smooth Criminals: What’s at Stake When We Break the Rules? (Juan Martinez, Susan Hubbard, Robin Rozanski, Julie Iromuanya) What writing rule do you hate? Love? We all break a few: We switch POV halfway through a story, we use too many exclamation marks, we don’t write what we know, or we use the wrong form, the wrong genre. The panelists balance the costs and benefits of these misdemeanors. They explore how rules hinge on cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds. They provide rule-breaking exercises that have helped generate exciting material and talk about how rule-breaking has helped them publish and teach.

Friday, April 1
10:30 am to 11:45 am
Room 513, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
F161. Small Beer Press: 15th Anniversary Reading. (Sofia Samatar, Ayize Jama-Everett, Maureen F. McHugh, Juan Martinez) Fifteen years after Small Beer Press was founded to publish works that cross genre definitions, traditional bookstore shelving options, and academic course descriptions, four authors from different parts of the USA who now all live in California read from their books and then discuss the spaces their books were published into with Small Beer Press publisher and cofounder Gavin J. Grant.

2:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Table 1331, Sofia Samatar (The Winged Histories) signing

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Concourse Hall, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
F271. Kelly Link, Emily St. John Mandel, and Ruth Ozeki: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. (Emily St. John Mandel,  Ruth Ozeki,  Kelly Link) This event brings together three brilliant contemporary female writers—Kelly Link, Emily St. John Mandel, and Ruth Ozeki—to read and discuss their craft and experiences as genre-bending authors. Kelly Link is the recipient of an NEA grant and is the author of Get in Trouble. Emily St. John Mandel is the author of Station Eleven, a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award. Ruth Ozeki is the author of A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Saturday, April 2
10:00am to 10:30am
Table 1331, Kelly Link (Get in Trouble) signing

11:00am to 11:30am
Table 1331, Maureen F. McHugh (After the Apocalypse)

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
AWP Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
S171. In the Realms of the Real and the Unreal. (Katharine Beutner, Sofia Samatar, Carmen Machado, Alice Sola Kim, Kelly Link) This panel explores genres of fiction that juxtapose the real and the unreal in experimental ways: historical fiction, literary fantasy/science fiction, weird fiction, and satire. Where do we draw the line between a secondary world and a distorted reflection of our own world’s beauty, violence, and diversity? Can we discern a poetics of the unreal in contemporary fiction? How have the continual debates over generic boundaries—and/or their irrelevance—affected the ways contemporary writers work?