Six Authors in Search of a Character: Part 3—Irvine Welsh

by Sean Gill

1996 Irvine Welsh is “Mikey Forrester” “I’m playing this drug dealer who’s probably one of the most unsympathetic characters in the book, cause, probably kinda manipulative and nasty and sort of horrible guy so, a lot of people will be saying sort of type-casting again, you know?” —Irvine Welsh, in a video interview from the set of Trainspotting in June 1995 To the strains of Bizet’s Carmen, Renton (Ewan McGregor), a young Edinburger junkie, makes fastidious personal preparations for kicking heroin, the final step of which is obtaining one last hit from his dealer, Mikey Forrester. Mikey appears, smirking like […]

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The Fixers

by Troy Jollimore

Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film, Fargo, begins with the following statement: “This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”

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Shop Talk: Troy Jollimore

by ZYZZYVA

Troy Jollimore ZYZZYVA interview

Fans of the films of the Coen Brothers simply must read Troy Jollimore’s essay “The Fixers” from Issue 120, the Technology issue. Through the lens of several of the Coens’ most seminal films, including their 1996 Best Picture nominee Fargo, Jollimore explores how disinformation and conspiracy have grown  dominant in American culture over the last two decades. Be sure to order your copy of Issue 120 so you can read “The Fixers.”

Troy Jollimore is the author of four books of poetry and three books of philosophy, as well as numerous articles, essays, and reviews. His first collection of poetry, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, won the National Book Critics Circle award in poetry for 2006. His poems have appeared in publications including the New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, McSweeney’s, the New England Review, Tin House, and The Best American Poetry 2020. He is currently a Professor in the Philosophy Department at California State University, Chico.

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Shop Talk: Lee Conell

by ZYZZYVA

ZYZZYVA Shop Talk: Lee Conell

Lee Conell’s story “My One and Only Very Incredible Amazing Love” appears in Issue 120, the Technology issue. In this bitterly funny and keenly insightful piece, Conell tracks the outsized influence that social media and reality TV have on the fragile friendship shared by two young women. Which reminds us: be sure to order your copy of Issue 120 if you haven’t already.

Lee Conell is the author of the novel The Party Upstairs, which was awarded the Wallant Award and was named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Post, as well as the story collection Subcortical, which was awarded The Story Prize Spotlight Award. Her writing appears in the Oxford American, ZYZZYVA, the Paris Review Daily, Kenyon Review online, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere; her stories have been shortlisted in Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize anthology. She spoke to Editor Laura Cogan about “My One and Only Very Incredible Amazing Love” and its sardonic commentary on our social media age.

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Shop Talk: Michael Jaime-Becerra

by ZYZZYVA

Michael Jaime-Becerra

Michael Jaime-Becerra’s story “Omar, March 1987,” about a boy named Omar who discovers his mother’s affair while skateboarding in the neighborhood, originally appeared in Issue 102. The story evokes the sights and sounds of Omar’s streets, its homes and storefronts, with these details grounding the story as Jaime-Becerra builds to Omar’s emotional devastation. It can be read in its entirety in Issue 102.

Michael Jaime-Becerra currently teaches creative writing at University of California, Riverside. His story collection, Every Night Is Ladies’ Night, was named one of the best of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. It was awarded a California Book Award, the Silver Medal for a First Work of Fiction. He spoke to Managing Editor Oscar Villalon about “Omar, March 1987” and his use of distinct sensory details.

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The Almeda Fire: Rogue Valley, Oregon

by Octavio Solis

Driving down Pioneer Road to Colver Road in Phoenix, Oregon (12/18/20). Credit: Otavio Solis As the weather report had promised, the morning was clear and blustery, the aspens outside clicking their leaves like maracas. I slurped the dregs of milk from my bowl of cereal, stepped outside to head to my studio, winked into the

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Shop Talk: Kate Reed Petty

by ZYZZYVA

Kate Reed Petty

Kate Reed Petty’s story “Mr. Pink,” about a disgraced screenwriter’s attempt to manage the online response to his public scandal, is featured in Issue 120. With its focus on social media platforms like Twitter and the way we use film to help interpret our experiences, “Mr. Pink” was perfectly suited for inclusion in The Technology Issue.

Kate Reed Petty’s first novel, True Story, was published by Viking in 2020. Her fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She spoke to Editorial Assistant Zack Ravas about “Mr. Pink” and the themes prevalent in her work.

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Paragraphs on Ice: Episode 2

by ZYZZYVA

Paragraphs on Ice: Andrew Sean Greer & Daniel Handler

How do certain sentences work on us as readers? What can we say about the beauty found in select pieces of prose? Daniel Handler and Andrew Sean Greer—best-selling authors and friends—take you along with them as they delightfully explore their favorite passages of writing in their video series for ZYZZYVA Studio.

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti: The Latin America Notebooks

by Mauro Aprile Zanetti

“He traveled a lot and he traveled light. He always carried a raggedy Pan Am bag about the size of a large toaster, in which he packed a change of underwear and an old navy tie in the unwanted event that a tie might be required somewhere, and he didn’t want to embarrass his host. And he always carried small notebooks, which he filled with images, poems, political observations, character sketches.” These are Nancy J. Peters’s words portraying her business partner and lifelong friend, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Her tribute to San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate was paid on the occasion of […]

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Folk Tales: Lucie Elven on the inspiration behind ‘The Weak Spot’

by Lucie Elven

Photo Credit: Sophie Davidson

It’s a cliché that bi-nationals never feel they really truly belong anywhere, that they always have another, unlived life ticking away in reserve in the back of their minds—mine’s in an emptying village in the most rural region of France. The Auvergne is a poor part of the country, wilder than the image of France abroad. As a child it seemed to me a place heavy with tradition and significance, the kinds you couldn’t determine for yourself but were imposed by others. Many generations of my family are buried in the graveyard up the road, and many neighbours are cousins. […]

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The Manuscript in the Corner: A Conversation with Wendy C. Ortiz

by David L. Ulin

Wendy C. Ortiz and I met when she was an MFA student and I became her graduate mentor. She was working on the first draft of the manuscript that would eventually become Excavation (Future Tense; 2014), and even then, it was clear that this was remarkable work. Ruthless, self-interrogating, resolute in its unwillingness to look

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Paragraphs on Ice: Episode 1

by ZYZZYVA

Paragraphs on Ice: Andrew Sean Greer & Daniel Handler

How do certain sentences work on us as readers? What can we say about the beauty found in select pieces of prose? Daniel Handler and Andrew Sean Greer—best-selling authors and friends—take you along with them as they delightfully explore their favorite passages of writing in their video series for ZYZZYVA Studio.

Subscribers only: to access this content, you must be a member of ZYZZYVA Studio. Membership is included with any subscription. Subscribe today, or if you are already a subscriber, log in to continue reading. (Read our FAQ for more details, and contact us if you have any trouble logging in.)

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