Lit News Roundup

Happy Halloween! For this week’s Roundup, we’ve compiled all the spookiest literary news in honor of this sugar-filled holiday, as well as an introduction to Lookout’s next author, Matthew Neill Null!


Still undecided on your costume for tonight? Be inspired by this infographic courtesy of Electric Literature. (Although, come to think of it, Sontag’s teddy bear suit might prove a little difficult to pull off at the last minute.)

Handing out candy to the tykes? The Washington Post’s Joe Heim revisits an interview with Lookout author Steve Almond about this book Candyfreak—“a must-have hymnal for anyone who worships confection in all its forms”—and finds out what your go-to candy really says about your personality. The results are more frightening than you think!

The folks over at Uproxx suggest ditching the candy entirely and handing out comic books instead. May we suggest books for every holiday?


Matthew Neill Null (center), with authors Bill Roorbach (left) and Steve Almond (right)

In other news, we’ve been dying to introduce you to Lookout Books’ next author, the talented Matthew Neill Null, whose debut novel, Honey from the Lion, is forthcoming in fall 2015. This fantastic interview with winner of the National Book Award Jaimy Gordon seemed like the perfect opportunity. As she writes for American Short Fiction, “There is something almost Victorian in Null’s ability to let his readers both invest intimately in his characters and at the same time recognize them as figures in a grander narrative. And indeed his work is old-fashioned in a sense: serious, articulate, full of the details of a rich and comprehensive realism, built upon a kind of classical narrative omniscience that has become increasingly rare in contemporary story-telling. But there is nothing stale or worn out about his surprising fiction.”

An elegy to the natural world, Honey from the Lion is set in the isolated logging camps of the West Virginia Alleghenies in the early 1900s, at the height of the timber boom which decimated ten thousand acres of virgin forest. The novel was inspired by actual events: the rise and demise of union agitation in the camps, and especially the people, American and immigrant, scarred by the experience.

Of the novel, written in image-rich, lyrical prose, the West Virginia native says he wanted a panorama, “with flora and fauna on near-equal footing with the human residents. It’s how I perceive the place anyhow. It’s no invention.”


Keep an eye out for the opportunity to pre-order Honey from the Lion in 2015, and until then, we highly recommend his haunting story “The Island in the Gorge of the Great River,” available on Ecotone’s site.

Lookout author John Rybicki will host a poetry workshop at the Ludington Public Library on Friday, November 7 at 7 p.m. If you’re in Michigan, this is a terrific opportunity to learn from one of the best poetry teachers we know. But don’t just take our word for it; see him in action in this video.

We’ll be back next week with more literary news, not to mention a higher blood glucose level. Until then, have a wonderfully wicked weekend!