Alcestis Books Historical fiction

Recs for teaching short fiction?

I’m taking a tiny break from my dissertation to prepare a syllabus for my fiction workshop in the fall. Because I am lucky as hell, I get to teach an intermediate fiction workshop! Two, in fact — I’ll be teaching in the spring and fall. I’ve been a teaching assistant for an intro fiction workshop before, but am really looking forward to having my own class. I’m planning to use the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and supplement it with a few other stories. (I can’t leave out “The Fall River Axe Murders.”) Any recommendations for short fiction you think you definitely be taught in an undergrad fiction workshop? Stories you think definitely shouldn’t be taught?

In Alcestis news, Rebecca Chastain is now featuring an interview with me at her blog Number One Novels, where she publishes interviews with loads of first-time novelists describing their projects and their paths to publication. She’s also giving away two copies of Alcestis, kindly contributed by Soho Press. There are a number of ways to enter the contest, including tweeting about it — check out Rebecca’s directions in the interview link above.

And don’t forget that my amazing agent Diana Fox is still running an Alcestis-related giveaway, though not a giveaway of the book itself. Instead, if you buy a copy of Alcestis before April 15 and notify her, she’ll send you a free book of your choice by another Fox Literary author.

Since you have all these lovely chances to get free books, here’s a way to give back: donate to the Lambda Literary Foundation. Nicola Griffith explains why this is such a vital thing to do.

And finally, here’s a lovely post from historical novelist Stephanie Cowell about the power of historical fiction.


  1. My only suggestion is be careful teaching stories you absolutely love. Listening to students tell me that the first person narrator of Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” was a bad mother was very difficult. Having them say that they ‘didn’t get’ an Alice Munro story and ‘besides, nothing happened’ was easier, but only just. Might be fun to teach “In the Bedroom” by Dubus, because then they can netflix the film.

  2. Ah, good point. I had decent success teaching books I really loved in my intro lit class this fall, but I experienced a bit of what you’re talking about. (They didn’t love Evelina quite the way I do.)

    The Dubus is an excellent idea. Thank you!

  3. Actually, the way the giveaway works is that by buying ALCESTIS, people are entered for a chance to win either a book by another Fox Literary author or a $20 Amazon gift certificate! However, I may end up sending books to more than one winner, depending on how many people enter.

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