Content Tagged ‘Bill Roorbach’

News Roundup

There was lots of good news in the halls of Ecotone and Lookout this week, not the least of which is that Lookout author Matthew Neill Null got a starred review from Kirkus for his forthcoming story collection from Sarabande, Allegheny Front. Calling the stories “sometimes lyrical, sometimes scarifying” the reviewer says Matt is “a natural writer with much to say.” We wholeheartedly agree.


It’s been a big week here for Ecotone! Our Sound issue, pictured here, is hot off the press. We hope you’ll check it out, and keep your eye on the blog for more on the issue, the great stuff inside, and its contributors. We’re also profiling sound-related news and writing on Ecotone‘s Facbook page.

And subscribe, why don’t you? Not convinced? How about the fact that Ecotone made BuzzFeed’s list of twenty-nine literary magazines that will help you read better things. That’s pretty compelling, right? The list includes so many other great magazines, too. We hope you’ll check it out.

In other goings-on this week, Ecotone contributor and all-around-hilarious guy Bill Roorbach is visiting our MFA program this semester, and gave a fantastic reading from his forthcoming story collection last night, watched over by a younger (and smoking) version of himself.


Bill is also joined by many other Ecotone contributors–including Rick Bass, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Barbara Hurd, Kathryn Miles, and our own founding editor David Gessner–in this forthcoming collection on fracking. Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America brings together over fifty writers to explore “the complexities of fracking through first-hand experience, investigative journalism, story-telling, and verse.” Check out this video for more.

We hope good news abounds in your neck of the woods, too! We’ll see you back here next week for more happy literary things.

House Guest with Bill Roorbach: Electronic Promises

In House Guest, we invite Ecotone and Lookout authors, cover artists, and editors from peer presses and magazines to tell us what they’re working on, to discuss themes in their writing or unique publishing challenges, to answer the burning questions they always hoped a reader would ask. Bill Roorbach’s stories have twice appeared in the pages of Ecotone. In this post, he recounts the origin of his story “Broadax Inc.,” reprinted in Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade.


“Broadax Inc.” came about because of a ten-day power failure here in western Maine a few years ago, one that had nothing to do with weather (which would be the usual case), but with a technical break somewhere in the grid that caused cascading outages as switches and transformers and other bits and pieces no one of us knows enough about to fix overloaded and burned up—real flames.

I was in the grocery store at the time, waiting in line with my full cart in the glow of some battery-powered emergency lights. The poor woman at the one open cash register had no idea what to do. The cash drawer wouldn’t open without power, so she had no change, and no accounting system. The night manager scratched her head too. I suggested they write down what people had bought and we’d come pay later (I had no cash), but they didn’t even know what anything cost because all that was reported through the laser system. You could write it down item by item, I suggested.

Continue Reading

Lit News Roundup

As always in our weekly Lit News, we round up the essential discussions in literature and publishing and also reveal all the Lookout and Ecotone author scoop!


Beginning with a little book cover candy: how lovely is this jacket for Poems of the American South, edited by David Biespiel and published by Everyman’s Library? (Psst: Catch up on all of our favorite book jackets, posters, and type design on our Pinterest account.)

Continue Reading

Friday Lit News Roundup

We kick off today’s news with the announcement that Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade has won a gold IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) in the anthology category. Another award-winning Lookout title!

It’s only been a few weeks since our Astoria to Zion event in Boston, and we’ve just posted pictures on our Facebook page. Here’s one of contributors and master storytellers Bill Roorbach, Matthew Neill Null, and Steve Almond, but there are plenty more so go check them out!


Astoria to Zion contributor Maggie Shipstead continues to dominate lit news with her new novel, Astonish Me. She’s featured in Elle and the Miami Herald, and sits at number one on Huffington Post’s list of 6 Books You Should Read this Summer. And, if you live in the Saratoga area, Maggie will be at the Northshore Bookstore on May 3 at 7 p.m. for an interview and book signing.

Continue Reading

Friday Lit News Roundup

This week we’ve got a bevy of interesting articles. Let’s start with two things we love from our Pinterest account: pooches and print. What font is your dog?image

Lorem Ipsum is typically used as placeholder text, but this article presents an interesting translation, and suggests several other placeholder options with a sense of humor.

Continue Reading

Friday Lit News Roundup

This week, we’ve got a mash-up of author updates and literary news the Lookout Books and Ecotone staffs have been perusing over the past few weeks.

If, like us, you just can’t wait until April 8 for Maggie Shipstead’s new novel, Astonish Me, One Story (winner of AWP’s Best Small Press Award) has an excerpt available to subscribers. Don’t worry non-subscribers, the current issue is only $1.99! (And, breaking news, Maggie will be reading from her story in Astoria to Zion on Monday, April 7, at the Center for Fiction in NYC. Stay tuned for details.)

Ben Fountain’s novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, has been chosen as the Wall Street Journal Book Club’s March selection by author of The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini said he chose the book “because of the story’s provocative premise, emotional nuance, and inventive use of language.”

Continue Reading

Friday Author Roundup

We’re back at it, and there’s plenty of author news to share this week.

Steve Almond helped heat up Valentine’s Day weekend along with authors John Papernick and Lana Fox at Harvard Book Store’s 50 Shades of Night: A Night of Erotica to Make You Blush.

Andrew Tonkovichdiscusses Mormonist Lit and Scientology, and gives a shout out to fellow Ecotone contributor Shawn Vestal’s short story “Winter Elders.”

Continue Reading

Introducing “Broadax Inc.” by Bill Roorbach


One thing I tend to dwell on while reading is language. An author’s language is his music; it carries the story across the page in rhythms, fluctuating in tempos between and within sentences. Language creates texture. So I was thrilled to read “Broadax Inc.” from Bill Roorbach, an author whose language has carried me before. Roorbach writes:

“We liked each other fine, had a nice lunch after the court date that had sundered our marriage, went home and made love for two hours (effects of wine)—we’d never lost our lust for each other, a kind of proof of the divorce: it wasn’t about your everyday death-of-sex issues, but about a lack of love between us. I don’t remember being sad, though I must have been.”

The reader feels the pile of language, compounding detail until the speaker evaluates himself. This piling guides the reader through the sentences, as the speaker moves through the ended marriage, until the evaluation is completed on a calm, but total, note. This stimulating use of language exists throughout “Broadax Inc.”

Continue Reading