One Story is run almost entirely by volunteers. Many of these volunteer readers and editors are also writers! Since our last benefit, two former and one current member of our staff have made the leap and published their first books. So we will be taking a moment at this year’s Debutante Ball on June 6th to acknowledge these three lovely and talented ladies: our own Staff Literary Debutantes: Marie-Helene Bertino, Elliott Holt & Julie Innis. Let’s meet them now!
Marie-Helene Bertino, Safe as Houses (University of Iowa Press)
Marie-Helene Bertino was a reader, an editorial assistant, and later an associate editor at One Story. For the past three years, she’s been teaching at One Story’s Summer Workshop for Writers. Her collection of short stories, Safe As Houses, was published in October of 2012 by the University of Iowa Press. She received a Pushcart Prize in 2007 and a Pushcart Special Mention in 2011. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Pushcart Prize Anthology XXXIII, North American Review, Mississippi Review, Inkwell, The Indiana Review, American Short Fiction, and Five Chapters, among others. Many of the stories in Safe as Houses are set in a supernatural Philadelphia, where everything that happens seems to come out of left field and keeps the reader guessing. Bret Anthony Johnston has said of the book: “From the first remarkable story to the last, the author takes risks that left me gasping and applauding. This is affecting and inventive work, work that breaks your heart with humor and mends it with compassion.”
Elliott Holt, You Are One of Them (Penguin Press)
Elliott Holt was a reader for One Story, and later a contributing editor. Her first novel, You Are One of Them is a moving debut, that the NYTBR called “a hugely absorbing first novel from a writer with a fluid, vivid style and a rare knack for balancing the pleasure of entertainment with the deeper gratification of insight.” Holt was born and raised in Washington, DC, but has lived in cities all over the world. While working, she maintained a full time job in Manhattan as well as participating in an MFA program at Brooklyn College. You Are One of Them confronts the way we define ourselves and the secrets we keep in the process. Holt highlights the pain of a broken friendship, evoking emotions in those of us who know what lengths people will go to take back what they have lost. Editor in Chief Hannah Tinti said of book: “Like the cold war, this remarkable novel revolves around hidden truths and unreliable friendships. Elliott Holt skillfully draws out her characters’ secrets, delivering a well-wrought tale of international and emotional intrigue.”
Julie Innis, Three Squares a Day With Occasional Torture (Foxhead Books)
Julie Innis is a current reader for One Story. She lives in New York, but is originally from Cincinnati. Her work has appeared in Post Road, Pindeldyboz, and Gargoyle, among others, and has received several awards and mentions including two Pushcart nominations, a Glimmer Train Top-25 New Short Fiction designation, and, most recently, a Notable Story recognition in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 anthology. Three Squares a Day with Occasional Torture is Innis’s first book, about ordinary people with extraordinary problems. Christopher Allen described these remarkable stories by saying: “Humor is like a tight-rope made of razor blades. Some writers who try it come away with more cuts than it’s worth. Innis dances on razors. And she does this by being generous to her characters, indulging their whims, allowing them to be bizarre in their humanity, human in their absurdity.”
We’re so proud of our One Story Staff Debutantes! And we look forward to raising a glass to them on June 6th. Won’t you join us?