New Stories from the South 2007 & 2008

Don’t get too accustomed to me posting something everyday. I have no business being on here right now. I’m supposed to be doing school stuff (and showering after my workout). The shame of it all, right? Anyway, I poked around on Tayari Jones’ Blog for a second and discovered that ZZ Packer has selected “twenty distinctive stories representing the great number of voices and narratives coming out of the South” for the annual New Stories From the South book. While I do read a diverse collection of books (sometimes), I am curious as to how many of these authors are African-American or non-White. Would somebody mind telling me? Please don’t question why this is important. I just want to know and am still interested in the book regardless of the response. In other words, please refrain from the “I can’t believe you . . .” emails and comments. Save it. But be sure to leave comments about the authors that I should know (or that are worthy of knowing) from this list! Here’s what I copied and pasted from the Table of Contents page:

Holly Goddard Jones, Theory of Realty
Pinckney Benedict, Bridge of Sighs
Amina Gautier, The Ease of Living
Kevin Moffett, First Marriage
Robert Drummond, The Unnecessary Man
Stephanie Soileau, So This Is Permanence
Clyde Edgerton, The Great Speckled Bird
Ron Rash, Back of Beyond
Merritt Tierce, Suck It
R.T. Smith, Wretch Like Me
Karen E. Bender, Candidate
David James Poissant, Lizard Man
Daniel Wallace, The Girls
Jim Tomlinson, First Husband, First Wife
Bret Anthony Johnston, Republican
Mary Miller, Leak
Charlie Smith, Albemarle
Jennifer Moses, Child of God
Stephanie Dickinson, Lucky Seven & Dalloway
Kevin Brockmeier
, Andrea Is Changing Her Name

Did you know that last year’s New Stories was edited by Edward P. Jones? Speaking of which, somebody questioned me about The Known World yesterday. I gave my usual “I read the first 120 pages, but . . .” response. It always surprises me to see how many people LOVE that book. It makes me wonder if I really gave it a full chance. I’ll try to read it again when I retire. In the meantime, I’ll continue to respect Jones for his short story works.

Since I can’t find much from the 2008 version of New Stories, I’ve decided to post Jones’ introduction from last year’s release:

When in the late afternoon of life, you go off onto a path never imagined—if raised by people who know the true value of things—you do not forget those who first gave bread and sustenance. Of the stories in my first collection, Lost in the City, one first appeared in Callaloo, and another in Ploughshares. After the other stories in City were written and collected with the first two to make a whole book, no one, except The Paris Review, thought enough of them to publish another one.

Being on this unexpected path has proven to be a busy thing, but we should never discard our good raising; doing so puts you in risk of becoming one of those creatures slithering through life without values. So when Kathy Pories, this series’ editor, asked if I would choose the stories for 2007, the busy me initially said no, but the other me remembered that no other annual anthology but New Stories from the South and the Pushcart Prize reprinted my story from The Paris Review. The story, “Marie,” was about a fairly uneducated old woman who, even after many decades of life in a city, still could not forget the Southern values of right and wrong she had inherited as a child and a young woman. I am here now because it meant something to have that story anthologized. I am here because I cannot forget Callaloo and Ploughshares and The Paris Review. They, like so many literary journals, say yes to us when others say no.

Hither and yon, they still debate whether Washington, D.C.—where I was born and came to know what is true and what is not so true—is a part of the South. It might well be that that debate is why I have never stood up straight and asserted that I was a bona fide son of the South. I’m in the room, but I’ll stand in the corner for the evening, if it’s all the same to you. And that is another reason I first said no to choosing the stories for this book. (Read more . . .)

More topics to post, so little time to do it. It’s Pudd’nhead Wilson and Othello reading time. Happy reading, ya’ll.


10 thoughts on “New Stories from the South 2007 & 2008

  1. Making up for lost time, dear. Just one white chick’s opinion. I’m grateful for a plethora of literature representing all colors. It’s what keeps me fascinated and informed. If only we could have more Native literature. Hey! I found a native blogger from Spokane. I added him to my list. He’s an adjunct instructor at a local college.


  2. i still haven’t finished ‘the known world’. it’s a well-written book, but there’s really no sense of urgency to finish it. i mean, dude dies in the first chapter and the rest is looking at past and future events. *shrug* he’s a great writer, though.


  3. I’m Mary Miller (my story “Leak” is in the 2008 ed.) and I’m white. If you have the book, our pictures are at the ends of the stories, though I didn’t go through each one to see what color the people were.


  4. There is, however, a very nice story by a black woman, or non-white woman, in the 2007 ed. The story is “Unassigned Territory.” It’s amazing.


  5. In the words of Nina Simone, “please don’t let me be misunderstood.” A good book is a good book, and a good story is a good story regardless of who the author is and where they’re from. I am not judging ZZ’s decision, nor am I saying that I will not purchase the book because it doesn’t feature enough people like me in it. None of that is relevant to good writing. Have I made my point? If ZZ likes it, I love it!


  6. Please advise if publishers are permitted to nominate stories for New Stories From the South. I cannot find a website and have several stories we would like considered for the 2008 anthology. Thank you for your help.


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