An embarrassment of literary riches. That's how Alissa Nutting characterized Cleveland's writing scene when we chatted with her earlier this summer about her racy new blockbuster novel Tampa. And it's true. There are riches for everyone if you know where to look and are curious enough to take a peek.
Cleveland has witnessed a literary explosion — in talent and publicity — thanks to the emergence of monthly readings on the near west side, the publication of critically acclaimed novels by local authors and the ongoing engagement and events of the region's NEOMFA program.
Scene has been jonesin' for an appropriate way to showcase and celebrate the outstanding work of local fiction writers. So when the NEOMFA offered a generous contribution to fund our editorial budget (you know, so we could pay the talented folks doing the writing), we leaped at the opportunity. It's our goal to avail Clevelanders of the breadth and vitality of the region's finest, most inventive fiction, and to encourage the ongoing support of the literary arts.
Some of the names nestled in this print edition you'll recognize: Dan Chaon's gut-punching novels and short stories rarely pause before they alight on annual Top 10 lists; Alissa Nutting is fast becoming one of the country's boldest, wackiest young voices; Thrity Umrigar captures the religious and socio-political tumult of India with a master storyteller's grace; and Mary Doria Russell continues to fearlessly map literature's richest frontiers — the future and the past.
But other names will be new to you: Dan Riordan, an alumnus of the NEOMFA and short story writer whose machismo and lyric verve have rattled the cages of some the country's most vaunted literary magazines; Kevin P. Keating, whose scorching debut novel about a Jesuit high school in a dying industrial town was a finalist for the distinguished L.A. Times first fiction award; and James Renner, an Akron homeboy whose passion for investigative journalism renders his fiction in the searing, disheveled shades of life as we know it.
If you like what you read here, go read some more. Buy one of the writers' books. Check them out at the Brews & Prose or Write to Assemble Reading Series. Tell a friend.