A couple months ago, not long after Jensen Beach and I read at the book-release party for Eugene Cross's Fires of Our Choosing in Chicago at AWP, Alexander Chee directed a comment toward Eugene on twitter that said something like, "Only you would be kind enough to share the stage at the release party of your debut collection."
Before I attended the event, which was the first time I'd met Jensen in person, I would have guessed that Alex was right: Nobody is quite so kind and generous as Eugene. After the event, after I got to spend some time with Jensen, though, I realized that he, too, is one of the nicest guys around.
And then a few weeks back he emailed a small crew of writers who have their debut story collections coming out this year--Ted Sanders (Graywolf), Eugene (Dzanc), and me (U of Iowa Press)--to ask if we'd read a little bit at his own book-release party. Though the odds were against it, I guess Alex ended up being wrong.
If you're in the Champaign this Saturday, May 19th, we'll be drinking and celebrating Jensen's book of stories, which arrived at my house in the mail earlier this week courtesy of Dark Sky Books. I haven't yet dug into the thing, but I can't wait to. I've read a number of the stories already the past few years, and I'm excited to read them one after the next to see how they work with and against each another.