What to Read Right Now: Essays & Stories By Authors I Know

Looking for something new, wonderful, wild, funny, tragic, weird, and/or gorgeous to read? Well, I’ve got some great stuff to share.

Caveat: the following essays and short stories are all by writer-friends of mine who are, like me, also graduates of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing program. Every semester I was astounded by the talent coming out of the program, and these writers are proof of it.

I’m only providing tidbits of information about this wonderful writers, so please be sure to check out their websites and Facebook pages for more information about them and their other published works. And since VCFA grads tend to publish prolifically, I’ll try to keep this post updated as I learn of more.


1. “Old Men Dying Young” by Jason Arment

Jason’s essay in Burrow Press Review is about his time serving as a Marine Machine Gunner in Afghanistan–and so much more. I’ve read this several times since it came out, and it strikes at different chords in my intellect and heart each time.

2. Loss Angeles by Mathieu Cailler

Loss Angeles is Mathieu’s debut book of short stories, published by Short Story America. From the publisher: “In this superb debut collection of short stories, Mathieu Cailler weaves tales which bring to life the deeply-human experience with loss and its range of outcomes. From loneliness to recovered relationships, from despair to redemption, from heartbreak to humor, these fifteen stories illuminate the sadness, bewilderment, conflict and ultimate hope which can come from each human being’s inevitable encounters with loss.” For more about Mathieu, check him out on Facebook.

3. “Death cafe: tea, cake, and talk about the end” by Amy Wallen 

Amy’s piece in San Diego Beat is full of her trademark wit and insight. For more of Amy’s wonderful stories, check out her web site and/or (definitely and) buy her L.A. Times bestselling novel, MoonPies and Movie Stars. MoonPies and Movie Stars “is a laugh out loud romp across America [that] pits a fiesty Texas momma against the Hollywood machine.”

4. “Batty’s Wig Bears Witness” by Sophfronia Scott

Sophfronia’s current piece in Sleetmagazine.com is told–no kidding–from the perspective of, and in the voice of, a wig. Be forewarned: it’s a little edgy. Sophfronia is also the author of All I Need to Get By, published by St. Martin’s Press. For more of Sophfronia’s work, check out her website

5. “Doll Baby” by Amanda Forbes Silva

Amanda is a stunning writer of creative nonfiction. Her essay Riding Light Review is about sisterhood, childhood, life. Check out her newest work and more about Amanda at her website. (I’m a particular fan of “Trouper,” her essay about childhood, control, and learning from her mama, in biostories.

6. “Halfway House” by Rachel Groves

Rachel’s story appears in the current issue of Beloit Fiction Journal. To get it, you’ve got to buy the issue. But let me assure you, it’ll be worth it. Rachel is a crazy-good writer–and also happens to be the funniest person I know. She really needs a website, too. You listening, Rachel?

7. In the Meantime by Rowena Karenen

South Carolina Poet Laurette Marjory Wenworth calls Rowe’s book of poems “[a] heartfelt collection”  that “reads like a litany of affirmations and a celebration of the ordinary things we take for granted every day. There is sadness here; of course, but it is handled wish wisdom and compassion. We read poems to remember what makes us human, and Rowena Carenen’s, In The Meantime, A Collection of Poems, is a virtual manual for how to live a good life. Read these poems and learn how to savor every moment!”

Happy Reading, folks!

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