Graywolf Night at McNally Jackson

1. Helen’s fan, editor Helen Atsma of Grand Central Publishing, and events coordinator at McNally Jackson, Sara Ortiz. 2. Two men of the wild: Benjamin Percy and author Josh Weil.

The thoughtful, imaginative, and contemporary Graywolf Press hooked up with McNally Jackson for the third consecutive year last night, noted events coordinator Sara Ortiz. Fiona McCrae, a publisher at Graywolf since 1994, introduced Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding and first reader: “a studly man” on the front wave of the studly-wild-man movement currently afoot.

Has anyone ever noted Ben Percy’s voice? [YES — it’s got an an epic ‘coming to a theater near you’ lowness] Before reading two short excerpts, Ben, appropriately for this man-ly fiction, conveyed two pieces of advice he had received from his father: (1) “Get better titles” (something more like Men in Black) and (2) “The problem with your short stories is that they are too short,” this piece of advice having led to Ben’s “shnovels” and novels.

Jessica Francis Kane’s novel The Report was put in motion by serendipity (while living in London, she ran into an event where the Bethnal Green report was released) and, ten years later, has become a novel which is nominated for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Jessica was fascinated with the point of view of Laurence Dunne, the man solely responsible for compiling the report about the disaster, something made more fascinating by today’s reports, which are (if made) made by committee of opposing parties in a tug-of-war.

1. Jessica and Fiona, just doing some last minute editing. 2. Sherman Alexie recommends as the t-shirt of The Wilding.

Fun things Ben talked about in Q&A

  • His collection of images pinned to a board by his writing desk, which emerge in constellations into stories.
  • The shirt Sherman Alexie emailed Ben about, “the t-shirt of The Wilding,” which, in an exciting turn of events, Ben revealed to us under his button-up.

Fun things Jessica talked about in Q&A

  • Twitter! She’s into the community of booksellers she has found there.
  • The feeling of a novel, something for a long time present in the writer’s head alone, suddenly present in readers when the book is published.

Anna Prushinskaya edits The Outlet.

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