Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

June 2012

The Complications of Writing from Life

On Fictional Memoirs, Reality Fiction, and more

At the recent Nebraska Summer Writer’s Conference I took a workshop called “Two Truths and a Lie,” the object of which was to explore the intersections between memoir and fiction, self-writing and other-writing, autobiography and the novel…you get the point. It was taught by Michelle Tea, herself the author of several hybrid books that she referred to as “fictional memoirs,” a term I don’t think I’d heard before. Tea’s books, which are amazing sort of punk queer coming of age narratives, are all deeply informed by her own history but slide between non-fiction and fiction in representing specific characters and situations.

Why You'll Love It

In this series, a Senior Reader talks about what drew them to a current Prairie Schooner story

In the first installment of this series, PS Senior Fiction Reader Robert Fuglei writes about the story "Bath," by Robert J. Stevens which appears in the current issue (Summer 2012).

P(rivate)S(paces) w/ Garth Risk Hallberg

in which Prairie Schooner contributors give us a glimpse into their writing spaces and sensibilities.
Garth Risk Hallberg

Garth Risk Hallberg is the author of the novella A Field Guide to the North American Family. His stories and essays have been published in Best New American Voices, The New York Times Magazine, Prairie Schooner, New York, Glimmer Train, Slate, Canteen, and The Pinch, as well as at The Millions, where he’s a contributing editor. A 2008 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction, Garth teaches at Fordham University and Sarah Lawrence College.

Dispatches from the Nebraska Summer Writer's Conference

A week after NSWC's conclusion, PS staff reflect on the experience

From Arden Eli Hill, PS Editorial Assistant:
The Nebraska Summer Writing Conference was lots of fun and helpful for pulling me out of my summer writing slump. Michelle Tea's Two Truths and a Lie workshop was a great way to start each day. Tea was energetic, engaging, and knowledgeable. I was also impressed by the quality of work of my fellow participants and hope to read more of their writing in the future. There are many events I'm glad that I attended, in particular "Identity and the Writing Process," a panel which focused on writers of color. Panelist Carleen Brice's sense of humor and ability to get straight to the heart of audience questions was a key part of the panel's appeal. The conference went by too quickly and I'm already looking forward to next year!

Eight Questions for Justin Taylor

PS Web Editor Theodore Wheeler interviews Taylor about self-awareness, his strategies for writing about place, and the greatness of Saul Bellow.
Justin Taylor

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Justin Taylor is the author of the story collection Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy. He teaches at the Pratt Institute and at New York University. He collects cover songs, standards, and photos of text at askforgiveness.tumblr.com. His own work is collected at justindtaylor.net.

Summer Issue is Here!!!

If we didn't live in Nebraska we'd take this issue, with its typically fantastic blend of fiction, poetry, essays and reviews, right to the beach. Since we're here, we have to squint until the prairie grass starts to look like waves. But what does it matter when the writing's so good? Prairie Schooner Summer 2012 features Fleda Brown on dressing up for God, Justin Taylor on Portland friends, Sharon Olds on the power of the leg, Donald Platt on the body's inevitable decay, and Floyd Skloot, Garth Risk Hallberg, and Maxine Kumin on a million other things--to name a few!

Comic Book Dads

This is the fifth installment of an ongoing series written for the blog by Richard Graham. Richard is an associate professor and media services librarian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studies the educational use of comics and serves as the film and art history liaison. His posts examine UNL’s, Nebraska’s, and the larger literary world’s connections with the comics medium.

In light of Father's Day I’ve found myself contemplating one of the staples of conflict often found throughout the arts and humanities: father-and-son-relationships. While my own family dynamics certainly have had, and continue to experience, moments of drama, it is not nearly dysfunctional enough to prove as compelling as some of the depictions I’ve encountered vicariously.

Three Questions for Melissa Yancy

Claire Harlan-Orsi interviews the PS Summer 2012 Contributor on her story, "Firstborn"

Melissa Yancy’s fiction has appeared in One Story, Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, Meridian and many other journals. She holds a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California and resides in Los Angeles, where she has worked in the non-profit sector for more than a decade. You can visit her at www.melissayancy.com.

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What was your drafting and revising process like for this story? Would you be willing to share a sentence or paragraph from the rough draft that you ended up modifying or cutting?

"I don't think there will ever be a time when we have enough re-tellings"

A Q&A with writer Arshia Sattar

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts by guest contributor Nabina Das on Indian books and authors. In this post, Das interviews scholar, translator and creative writer Arshia Sattar.

PS: Briefly Noted

A monthly book review in brief from the staff of Prairie Schooner.
Open City

Volume 1, Issue 1. June 2012.

Wheeler on Richard Burgin’s Shadow Traffic and Ron Rash’s The Cove | Dawes on Teju Cole’s Open City and Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow | Harlan-Orsi on emily m. danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post | Das on Adil Jussawalla’s Trying to Say Goodbye | Crews on Bruce Snider’s Paradise, Indiana


Richard Burgin. Shadow Traffic. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.

Reviewed by Theodore Wheeler

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