One Story’s First Graphic Short Story!

MaddenDear Readers,

We are thrilled to share some exciting news: in our next issue, #182, One Story will publish our first graphic short: “Drawn Onward” by Matt Madden. Today our printer sent this picture of the first printed issue, hot off the press! We can’t wait to share it with you.

But wait, what’s that you say? Your subscription has lapsed, and you can’t bear to miss this landmark issue? No worries: just use the promo code MADDEN in the payment section when you renew, subscribe, or give a gift to a friend, and the first issue received (by you or your friends) will be Matt Madden’s tragically beautiful love story “Drawn Onward”, set in the New York City subway system.

We’ll be posting more when the issue comes out. Until then, make sure your subscription is up to date, and be prepared for something special in the mail!



Issue #180: The Prospects

180-portrait (480x640)My experience with football is extremely limited. But in high school the game was everywhere, and it followed the basic script: Footballers swaggering down the halls, Cheerleaders with their short skirts and high ponytails. This athlete/hero-worship culminated in a Thanksgiving game, and a giant rally where Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors put on skits that celebrated our football team. The head coach would get up and give a speech about how great these young men were, and how the team was going to cream our rivals, and then he would introduce each player, and they would come running down the aisle of our auditorium like they were super-stars. I had blocked this memory from my consciousness (I was in science club—need I say more?), but it all came flooding back when I first read our new issue, “The Prospects.” In these beautifully-written pages, Michelle Seaton deftly chronicles two story-lines—that of the Prospects (young footballers full of hope and bravado), and that of the Recruiters (the Prospects’ doomed future-selves). Using a group point-of-view narration, “The Prospects” lifts the classic football cliché out of the world of after-school specials and sets it alongside the great epics, exploring the culture of youth vs. age, hope vs. decline. Be sure to check out our Q&A with Michelle to find out more about her research with the players and the men hired to scout their talents. It all comes together in “The Prospects,” and was enough to make even this bookish nerd care deeply about football and the young men who play it. Quite a feat.

One Story 2013 Literary Debutante Ball: The Pictures!

Thanks to everyone who came out to our 2013 Literary Debutante Ball on June 6th at Roulette in Brooklyn. It was a wonderful night, honoring Mentor of the Year Dan Chaon and our seven Literary Debutantes: L. Annette Binder, Manuel Gonzales, Ben Miller, Leigh Newman, Ethan Rutherford, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Douglas Watson, as well as our three staff debutantes: Marie-Helene Bertino, Elliott Holt & Julie Innis. Couldn’t be there? Don’t worry: you can still support One Story by buying a word from our word sale. In the meantime, enjoy the pics, and we’ll see you next year!

Take A Bow

One-Story-Deb-Ball-201309Thanks to everyone who came out to our 2013 Literary Debutante Ball last Thursday at Roulette in Brooklyn. It was a wonderful night, honoring Mentor of the Year Dan Chaon and our seven Literary Debutantes: L. Annette Binder, Manuel Gonzales, Ben Miller, Leigh Newman, Ethan Rutherford, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Douglas Watson. We’d like to thank all of our generous sponsors, our benefit committee, our board, and our hard-working volunteer staff, who kept things running so well all night. Great music was provided by the Blue Vipers of Brooklyn and DJ Michael Sandler, photos by Aslan Chalom, and Nathan Forster. Champagne from Bubble Lounge and Wine from Broadbent Wines. NY Distilling Co. provided Dorothy Parker Gin for our signature cocktail, THE STAY AWAKE, created by Rosie Schaap. Words and punctuation were on sale all evening, borrowed and donated by top writers, and everyone danced and drank and cheered until the last lantern festooned with famous first sentences was turned out. But even then, the fun wasn’t over yet! 2013.DebsThe next night, we hosted a packed reading at Greenlight Bookstore, sponsored by The Author’s Guild, where all seven debutantes read from their work, and posed for this glorious picture. We’ll be posting more photos soon, but until then visit Electric Literature for a fun write up of the ball and some delirious shots. Thanks to everyone for two marvelous nights to remember. Until next year!!

Literary Debutante Reading at Greenlight Bookstore: Friday, June 7th

GreenlightOur benefit on June 6th is now sold out, but If you are unable to join us at the Ball this year, you can still celebrate our literary debutantes! Come join us this Friday, June 7th, at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, and enjoy a reading with One Story’s 2013 Literary Debutantes:

This special event, co-sponsored by the Author’s Guild, is free of charge, and will be hosted by One Story Editor in Chief Hannah Tinti. Complimentary wine and beer will also be served. Come congratulate our debutantes in person, and hear some great readings, to boot.

Our Literary Debutante Ball Signature Cocktail: “The Stay Awake” created by Rosie Schaap

dorothy-parker-backAt each Literary Debutante Ball, we create a signature cocktail for guests to enjoy. This year we’re thrilled that Rosie Schaap, author of the memoir Drinking with Men, has created a special signature cocktail honoring our 2013 Mentor of Year Dan ChaonThe Stay Awake–named after Dan latest book, Stay Awake. We’ll be serving these drinks all night on Thursday June 6th, at the One Story Literary Debutante Ball. If you can’t join us in Brooklyn, mix your own, and enjoy! A very special thanks to our gin sponsor, New York Distilling Company’s Dorothy Parker Gin, for helping us make these delicious cocktails for the party. Remember to please drink responsibly! As Dorothy Parker famously said, “I like to drink a martini. Two at the very most. After three I’m under the table. After four I’m under my host.”

THE STAY AWAKE (created by Rosie Schaap)

Per drink:

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1 heaping tsp/barspoon honey-ginger simple syrup (for the story “The Bees”, and because ginger is regarded as a natural stimulant and should help people, you know, Stay Awake)*
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • soda water to top
  • ice
  • orange twists and/or candied ginger to garnish

*To make honey ginger simple syrup, warm x amount of honey in a heavy saucepan, stir in an equal amount of filtered water, add a good knob of peeled ginger (say one 2″ piece per cup of honey). Let honey fully dissolve, then simmer for 10 minutes. Cool for at least an hour. Strain into clean squeeze bottles.

Preparation: Fill a highball glass with ice. Add gin and simple syrup, stir. Top up with soda water. Add bitters. Garnish with a twist of orange and a piece of candied ginger (you can impale these together on a cocktail straw).

What to Wear to the Literary Debutante Ball

deb.ball.60 (396x640)As our staff ramps up for One Story’s Literary Debutante Ball this Thursday, June 6th, the question we’ve fielded the most is: “What should I wear?” In past years Marie-Helene Bertino wrote some hilarious fashion advice for us, which you can find here and here. Just remember that dress code is Brooklyn Formal, which means anything from a full-on tuxedo to a tuxedo t-shirt. Our advice: have fun and be comfortable. For folks who need visuals, check out the photos below from last year’s party. We’re looking forward to seeing all of your beautiful faces on Thursday!

Q&A with our 2013 Mentor of the Year: Dan Chaon

At One Story, we believe that being a part of the literary community is all about mentorship–turning around and offering a helping hand to the ones behind you. This Thursday, June 6th, at our 4th Annual Literary Debutante Ball, One Story will be honoring Dan Chaon as our 2013 Mentor of the year. Click below to see a great short film on Dan Chaon and his work, then read our Q&A with Dan about his writing experience, and how his own mentors taught him to be a better writer and teacher.

1. Dan, you’ve been a great supporter of emerging writers. But who were your mentors and how did they help you along the way?

There are a lot. I had a number of great teachers–Tobias Wolff and Doug Unger in grad school, Reginald Gibbons and Sheila Schwartz in undergrad, and also some really wonderful teachers in high school and middle school.

I have to single out two in particular. I’ve written at length about my relationship with the late Sheila Schwartz, who started out as my undergrad writing teacher and, later, became my wife. She was the love of my life in so many ways, but she was also such an important mentor, really insightful and encouraging but also tough. I think the way she helped me to set high expectations is central to my own teaching. You need someone who believes in you, but who believes in the best part of you, the part that you maybe haven’t attained yet.

I also want to mention my seventh grade English teacher, Mr. Christy, who continued to be my mentor all through high school. He was one of those rare souls who treated kids like their ideas were serious. He introduced me to the world of literary magazines, and ingrained a respect for the process of revision into me, and really helped me to understand the idea that writing is all about work ethic. When some friends and I came up with the idea to create a journal that was published out of our small Nebraska town, he took us at face value, and was able to find funding to make that happen. He had us writing to nationally known writers asking them to submit work for our first issue–and a few of them actually did. I wrote to Ray Bradbury, and had a correspondence with Bradbury, who was another life-changing mentor for me.

I’m obviously not doing any of these people justice, and I’d need to write an essay about each one. In any case, there’s an essay about Sheila here, and an essay about Bradbury here. I’ll try to do essays on all the others at some point.

2. Any words of advice for our 7 Debutantes as they start their literary careers?

The best advice I got–and the hardest to follow: “Don’t be too attached to results.”

3. How do you find a balance between teaching and writing?

It’s ridiculously difficult, because they are both utterly consuming tasks. You have to sacrifice some things to do both, and I’ve chosen to cut back on sleep and socializing. And I haven’t stopped smoking, like I should have a long time ago.

So I’m tired and isolated and smelly, but I do write a lot of words and comment on a lot of student manuscripts.

4. Your first two books were award-winning collections of stories (Fitting Ends, Among the Missing). Now, after publishing two great novels (You Remind Me of Me, Await Your Reply), you’ve come back to the short story form with Stay Awake. What made you decide to return to short stories? And how are they different from working on novels?

I never really stopped writing stories. The pieces in Stay Awake were written between 2002-2012, usually during fallow periods when I was supposed to be working on novels. The fact is, though I like working on novels, the short story is my first love and I find myself starting and working on new ones (mostly unfinished fragments) all the time. It’s a different kind of energy from the novel, a different kind of relationship with the material. To me, a story is a snapshot or a painting, full of mystery outside its borders. It’s like looking out a window of a train and seeing a scene that moves you and compels you but you won’t ever be able to know all the background and details. Novels are a lot of things, but they don’t usually allow for that kind of unsettling, concentrated glimpse into a world.

5. What are you looking forward to the most about the One Story Literary Debutante Ball on June 6th?

I’ve heard that Zach Galifianakis will be there. Is this true?

Get your WORD on at the Debutante Ball!

Bnb (640x536)At this year’s Literary Debutante Ball, we’ll be doing something new: hosting a WORD SALE!

Over 50 authors have “donated” words to One Story for this project. Each word will be beautifully printed and ready for framing, and will come with a definition, as well as a SECRET SENTENCE written by the author. Junot Díaz, Karen Russell, Tobias Wolff, Jonathan Lethem, Ann Patchett, Colson Whitehead, Meg Wolitzer, Chris Ware, Aleksander Hemon, Nathan Englander, Jennifer Egan, Sloane Crosley, Jim Shepard, Andrea Barrett, Amy Hempel, Etgar Keret, Aimee Bender and many, many more will be taking part.

We’ll also have words & sentences available from your favorite “classic” authors, such as Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Marcel Proust, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Virginia Woolf, George Eliot, Jane Austen and Willa Cather. As well as something no sentence can live without: PUNCTUATION!

Prices will range from $10-$250. All proceeds will be donated toward One Story’s mission: to celebrate the art form of the short story and support the writers who write them.

We’ll have a photo booth, so people can form their own “sentences” with friends, using the words and punctuation they’ve gathered throughout the night. So get your WORD on. It’s going to be a fantastic evening for verbophiles, and tickets are almost sold out! Buy yours today.