I'm pleased to announce that Happyland, my would-be 2005 novel that W. W. Norton pulled from production over fears of libel, is out today as a complete and unabridged ebook from Dzanc Books and Open Road Media. The novel was published in serial, in a heavily abridged form, in Harper's Magazine in 2006, but this is the first time it is available in its entirety. You can get it from any ebook retailer, but it will be an Amazon New and Notable pick for the month of October. Here's a link: Happyland at Amazon. The book is about a doll and children's-book mogul who tries to take over a small town; it was intended as a satire of Rovian politics in the second Bush Administration. Its publication coincides with a grandstanding shutdown of the U. S. government over a budget impasse, which is just about perfect. I hope you like it.
Here are some upcoming events for the first half of 2013. Please come if I happen to be in your area!
Thursday, January 24, Newtonville Books, Newton, MA
Sunday, January 27, The Starry Mountain Sweetheart Band at Felicia's, Ithaca, NY
Tuesday, January 29, Fiction Addiction Reading Series, New York, NY
Monday, February 4, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH
Sunday, February 17, The Starry Mountain Sweetheart Band at The Chapter House, Ithaca, NY
Thursday, March 7, Graywolf Press Reading at AWP, Boston, MA
Colgate Writers' Conference, Hamilton, NY
In a couple weeks, the new book is coming out, and I’ll be going on the road. Here’s the tour schedule; I’ll keep this post at the top of the page for the duration of the tour. If new dates are added, I will post them here. I’ll be giving details and updates from the road on twitter. Please come have a listen!
There are a couple of new interviews with me online: this one, with the literary magazine Unstuck, and this one, with the Burrow Press Review. Both were a real pleasure; please check them out. Also, my reading and talk from the 2012 Colgate Writers’ Conference are now up on YouTube—click the links or see them on the video page. The reading is of three newish short pieces, and the talk is called “Fucking the Fairy: How to Know When to Go Too Far.”
I’ve also published a review of the new Paul Auster memoir in The Guardian, and a manifesto about negative book reviewing on John Is Not Himself. The manifesto is also cross-posted on Salon.com, with some of the swears removed.
Finally, ebooks of The Light of Falling Stars, The Funnies, and Happyland are getting closer. They are real, and will be available soon.
I have written a new short story and have hidden it somewhere on this website. It’s a horror story—see if you can find it. Hint: the worse you are at looking for it, the easier it is to find.
Against my own better judgement, I have started a blog. It’s not a litblog. You can read it by clicking the menu item on the left side of the page.
Hey, check it out—Rhian and I made a book trailer for her novel AFTER LIFE, which is being reissued by Amazon a dozen years after it first appeared. If you’re interested in buying a copy, click here; the book is a literary thriller about a murder at a Spiritualists’ colony.
I’m delighted to be a part of the Knox Writers’ House Recording Project, a national effort to record interviews with, and readings by, writers in their homes. My page is now live; click the link to listen to some Pieces For The Left Hand, and for conversations with interviewers Emily Oliver, Mandy Gutman-Gonzales, and Meg Hayertz.
I’ve got a new short essay (a blog post, really) on the Electric Literature Blog about the perils of collaboration, in which I present myself, alternately, as “a manic, self-aggrandizing loon who won’t shut up about himself” and “the picture of refinement.”
This year’s Colgate Writers’ Conference is scheduled for June 17-23. You should go. I’ll be teaching a novel workshop this year, and there will, as always, be many other workshops (fiction, poetry, and nonfiction), readings, craft and shop talks, and much revelry. Click the link to sign up.
As an exercise, I just created a Google doc and gave my creative writing students semester-long editorial access to it, in the hope that they would create a crowdsourced short story. The original text reads: It was a type of day, with a certain kind of weather, in a place different from other places in a number of key ways. Then, at some point, something happened. An event. The event had repercussions. Those involved reacted variously, resulting in changes to the place and its inhabitants. One specific person, a person with numerous qualities, underwent some especially noteworthy changes. This is that person’s story. If you’d like to follow the story’s progress over the next few months, here’s the public link to do so.
Podcast listeners: Writers At Cornell is back! It’s now on a new page of this website, which you can access via a convenient new URL (http://www.writersatcornell.com) or via the Cornell drop-down menu above. I have just posted two new interviews, with novelists Catherine Chung and Alexi Zentner. If you subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, wait a few days for the new feed to take hold; these two interviews should appear soon.
This just in from Graywolf Press: the cover of my forthcoming novel FAMILIAR (click for full size). The gist:
Elisa Brown is driving back from her annual, somber visit to her son Silas’s grave when something changes. Actually, everything changes: her car, her clothes, her body.
When she arrives back home, her life is familiar—but different. There is her house, her husband. But in the world she now inhabits, Silas is no longer dead, and his brother Sam is disturbingly changed. Elisa has a new job, and her marriage seems sturdier, and stranger, than she remembers. She finds herself faking her way through a life she is convinced is not her own.
Has she had a psychotic break? Or has she entered a parallel universe? Elisa believed that Silas was doomed from the start, but now that he is alive, what can she do to repair her strained relations with her children? She soon discovers that these questions hinge on being able to see herself as she really is—something that might be impossible, for Elisa, for anyone. In FAMILIAR, J. Robert Lennon continues his profound and exhilarating exploration of the surreal undercurrents of contemporary American life.
It’s coming out in October. Watch this space for tour dates, interviews, and the like.
A correction to my Art of Fielding review in the LRB, from reader Mark Golden: “WP Kinsella, like so many baseball fans and like Cornell’s great classicist Gordon Kirkwood, is a Canadian, not an American.” Thank you! My penance will be an afternoon of poutine and Neil Young.
Happy New Year. A few new things are coming out, and I’ll be doing a couple of university appearances in the coming months. First, I’ve written a book review for the January 22 issue of the New York Times Book Review; I’ve also got another long review coming soon in the London Review of Books. Both are of celebrated/anticipated novels, please look out for them!
I’m going to be in Sarasota, Florida January 17-20 to work with film students at the Ringling College of Art and Design; not sure yet if this will involve a public reading, but check their events calendar if you live in the area. And I will be giving a reading at Kingston University in London, at 7:30pm on March 1st. I’ll post more details as I get them.
Finally, here’s a new Inverse Room song, “Her Lifestyle Tools,” which will likely appear on some eventual new album. It may interest you to know that most of the lyrics came from this online random paragraph generator. (Please note the delightfully retro Firefox 3 and “Powered by Microsoft.net” logos.) Enjoy.Her Lifestyle Tools by inverseroom