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News Bits

29 Sep

Oh, hello, there. We have a quick roundup for you.

ASF was featured in the Statesman this past Sunday. “If you read short stories, if you love short stories and especially if you write short stories, American Short Fiction is a name you should know.” Thank you, Statesman, you are so kind. Read the piece here.

We recently rounded up our editorial assistants and spent a Saturday in East Austin, reading submissions, planning for future issues, playing Apples to Apples, and checking out shark art at Rio Rita. We spent a good portion of the day at Brainstorm Coworking, a lovely space in a Victorian on East Cesar Chavez. If you’re a freelancer or work from home sometimes, check this place out.

Our final fall Craft Talk is tomorrow, September 30, at Uno’s Trattoria at 6 pm. ASF contributor Dalia Azim will lead the discussion. The event will also include a brief writing exercise, a preview of our fall classes, and creative exchange with other writers. The event is free, but seating is limited. Please sign up if you’re coming.
Register for American Short Fiction Craft Talk: West Austin in Austin, TX  on Eventbrite

Short Notices

28 Jan

Hey, y’all. We know you’ve all been sitting around, wondering what ASF is up to and why you’re not hearing about it constantly, so we thought we’d let you in. Sit down. Stay awhile.

Well, talk about a busy January. We’ve been all over the place (in the best way) with issues, readings, web exclusives, contests, podcast planning (yes!), and so many other projects.

Our Winter Reading was really amazing. Space 12 was a great host and listening to Farid, Maggie, and Michael reminded us again why we do all of this. Another big round of thanks to the readers; to Aaron Sinclair, who graced us with 45 minutes of awesome tunes; to Sinan from Xen Kitchen for providing delicious Turkish food; and to everyone who came or pitched in or told someone about it. Our readers and fans and friends make the reading events something to see. Check out the photos and, if you were there, let us know what you thought.

We’re also finishing up our contest judging and we’re about ready to pass the 10 contest finalists on to Rick Moody. We got a record number of submissions this year and so many of them were wonderful. Thanks so much for letting us read your work. And on that same note, we’re still working hard on our pile of regular submissions. Our staff and editorial assistants are prepping for a big reading push in February and we hope to make lots of headway on what we’ve received over the past few months. Be patient with us if you can. We’re always reading and considering pieces–we have a small (but extremely dedicated) staff over here.

Our AWP plans are coming along; we’re so excited for the panels and events and hope you’ll all come by the table to chat with us. We’ll have our Spring 2010 issue with us there—it’ll be in our hands, to subscribers, and on shelves in late March. Look for brilliant fiction from the outstanding Laura van den Berg, Susan Steinberg, Marie-Helene Bertino, and Matt Bell, just to name a few. There are seven stories in the issue and we love them all to pieces. You will, too.

And we’re preparing to celebrate Small Press Month in March with another massive, celebratory reading-shindig. They’ll be lots of other small presses working with us and we’ll be showcasing the independent lit and music scenes here in Austin. Look for more news in the coming weeks.

Oh, and while you’re here, check out Jean Kane, our Ms. January; her piece, “XCE” will be up for a little while longer.

One last thing on this rather dreary Thursday:

RIP, Mr. J. D. Salinger. Your short fiction has inspired us and continues to make us fiercely proud to do what we do.

Love to all.

Short Notices: Winter, Interns, and an Excerpt

20 Nov

It’s been a while. We’re hoping to eventually get these Short Notices posts up on the blog weekly, but it’s been a crazy fall ‘round here.

We’ve been working on final stuff for the Winter issue, which we should have in our hands at the beginning of December. We really, sincerely, intensely, over-the-top love these stories and have put a ton of work into making sure you do, too. Together they form something so great and so strong.

Here are some contributor names: Michael Noll, Laura Owen, Suzanne Rivecca, Leigh Gallagher, Eugene Cross.

The lovely Karen Ingram provided the cover art. Check out more of her work here. (And try to get your hands on one of those postcards. . .)

We’re also looking forward to our December reading, our launch party for the issue. Michael Noll will be coming in from his current residence, the Katherine Anne Porter House, to read from his blockbuster “Bullheads.” Actress Maggie Wilhite will be reading from Laura Owen’s “The Execution Trick,” and Ashley Butler will be reading from Dear Sound of Footstep, her essay collection out from Sarabande Books.

The reading will be Friday, December 4, , at 7pm, at Space 12Space 12, a growing community center on Austin’s East Side, is a new space for us and we think it’s going to be a laughing-crying-stomping good time. Live Oak is donating a keg and we’ll be rocking out to some pre-reading music from local band Frank Smith.  Come out, meet us, and join the fun. Seriously. We’ll amaze you.

In other news, we’ve added a new option on the submission manager for short shorts. We publish a new Web Exclusive every month and we’ve found that women totally dominate the less-than-2000 words category. Why? Get it together, guys, and send us something short and gripping or short and stunning or short and subtly spectacular. We’re still selecting for the February issue as well.

Also, also, also: We’re looking for interns for the Spring. We’ve been scheming and have come up with some new projects that involve integrating the fabulous Austin music scene into our fabulous Austin-based literary magazine, so we need a music intern who’s well acquainted with bands and venues and such in this crazy town. More on that to come. We’re also looking for editorial interns, so if you’re in Austin and like fiction, send your résumé and cover letter to me, Callie Collins, at callie.collins [at] In your cover letter, please let us know about your experience with contemporary fiction (who do you read?) and tell us about a favorite short story and why you like it so darn much.

A brief list of things of things we think will make you a happier person:

  • Pumpkin bread
  • The new Mountain Goats album, The Life of the World to Come
  • One of the new Nabokovs, with their beautiful covers.
  • Michael Schaub’s tweets (@michaelschaub)

And because I can’t resist, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from the first story in the issue, Laura Owen’s “The Execution Trick”.

“I’ve come up with a list of five ways to stay sane away from home,” the Magician says. His eyes have softened; he’s relaxed. There’s no way this is the first time or last time for this speech.

“Please share.”

“One: Lift weights every day.” He holds up his right hand, indicating the number one with his index finger. When he moves his arms you really notice that the neck and head don’t move at all. I also notice, for the first time, what seems to be small, black stitches in the side of his neck. “Two: Talk to someone from Minnesota everyday. Three: Introduce myself to someone new. And if I don’t meet someone new, I have to introduce two tourists who haven’t met yet.”

“So is that three or four steps now?” I check the camera again. I think I’ve set up the lighting a little too brightly, but there’s no pressing need to fix that now.

“That’s four. Three and four are kind of one step, I guess.”

“And step five?”

Now he really smiles. I thought the smile before seemed too wide, too cheerful, to be real. But this one is even wider, squishing his eyes up into his wide, shiny forehead.

“Do some magic,” he says.

Short Notices

20 Oct

Why, hello there.

We hope you all have been enjoying the regular blog posts and are routinely stopping to admire our lovely Web editors, Stacy and Dina, as much as we do. We’re starting something new around here called “Short Notices.” We want to let you in to the office. Metaphorically, obviously. We can’t have you traipsing around our palatial, perfectly organized set of corner offices. You wouldn’t actually fit.

So look out for incoming posts hinting at the exotic inner workings of American Short Fiction, including but not limited to: updates on where we are with issues; what’s in those issues; recommendations on submitting, writing, being, and living from our staff and our friends; things we like, dislike, and feel indifferent towards; giveaways (yes!); tips, timelines, statistics, and more secret things that will make you giddy with all your new lit mag knowledge.

We’ll get you started with a little teaser. Yes, an amuse-bouche.

Today is Tuesday. We are in the office, drinking coffee (black), with the windows open because it is absolutely gorgeous in Austin in October.

We’re working on getting the Winter issue prepped to send to the printer next week and we’re so thrilled about the five pieces in it. There are magicians and possibly severed heads. There are tigers and fish and turtle shells. There’s a drought in Los Angeles. It could be the best issue ever and you should probably begin preparing for it now. Soon we’ll let you in on some first sentences, some author name anagrams.

ALSO! The Texas Book Festival is coming up, Halloween weekend, and we can’t wait for it. We’ll have a booth and we’ll be there all day Saturday and Sunday alongside our Badgerdog cohorts. Our wonderful editor Jill Meyers is moderating a panel on Obsessive Protagonists and hoards of ASF friends and heroes will be reading and talking and wandering around. Come see us if you’re in Austin and fly down if you’re not.

We’re excited about all these things. Are you excited about all these things? Are there other specific things you’d like to hear about? Let us know.