The Best of Brevity Now Available & Two Readings This Week

November 16, 2020 § Leave a comment

This week, The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction begins shipping from warehouses across the country (and becomes available at your local independent bookstore through curbside service or distanced browsing.) We are excited about early praise for the book, grateful to everyone who pre-ordered, and thrilled to hear from those of you who plan to give the book a test run in your writing classes next semester.

We also have two launch events this week, our West Coast Launch in Los Angeles and our East Coast Launch on the Three Rivers Coastline of Pittsburgh. We hope you will join us to celebrate!

Here are the particulars:

SKYLIGHT BOOKS, Los Angeles, Wednesday Nov. 18th at 6:30 pm PST (9:30 pm EST)

Best of Brevity co-editors Zoë Bossiere and Dinty W. Moore will be joined by authors Daisy Hernández, Nicole Walker, and Ira Sukrungruang. Following a reading of three brief (of course) essays from the anthology, there will be lively discussion about the flash nonfiction form and tips for those wanting to write, publish, and teach flash nonfiction. An audience Q&A will follow. You can pre-register here:

WHITE WHALE BOOKSTORE, Pittsburgh, Thursday Nov. 19th at 7 pm EST

At this East Coast event, Zoë and Dinty will be joined by authors Julie Hakim Azzam, Lori Jakiela, and Deesha Philyaw. Following a reading of their three brief essays from the anthology, there will be lively discussion about the flash nonfiction form and tips for those wanting to write, publish, and teach flash nonfiction. An audience Q&A will follow. Preregister for the event here:

And here’s more on the book:

Featuring examples of nonfiction forms such as memoir, narrative, lyric, braided, hermit crab, and hybrid, The Best of Brevity brings you 84 of the best-loved and most memorable reader favorites from the journal, collected in print for the first time. Compressed to their essence, these essays glint with drama, grief, love, and anger, as well as innumerable other lived intensities, resulting in an anthology that is as varied as it is unforgettable, leaving the reader transformed.

With contributions from Jenny Boully, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Daisy Hernández, Michael Martone, Ander Monson, Patricia Park, Kristen Radtke, Diane Seuss, Abigail Thomas, Jia Tolentino, and many more. 

“The Best of Brevity feels like the condensed energy of a coiled spring. A vibrant collection, dynamic in its exploration and celebration of the flash form.”

                         -Karen Babine, author of All the Wild Hungers    

The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Book-Signing

August 1, 2016 § 6 Comments


Our Editor-in-Chief, before discovering his affinity for nonfiction

I’m a constant advocate of owning who we are, giving ourselves permission, announcing “I’m a writer” at the drop of a hat. But I’ve had the conversation that often follows that announcement, the one where they ask what I write, and if it’s anything they would have read. I’ve felt the way that conversation dwindles into not having anything to talk about. I’ve brightly turned the subject to, “And what do you do? Data analysis? That’s fascinating! Tell me more!”

It’s never been this bad:

The questions start at once. The first guy in line, who may have been here an hour or more, bends down to look under the table, like I might be hiding someone else underneath there. His hair is gelled. It doesn’t move when he bobs down and up, twice. He reaches in his back pocket and pulls out a picture of himself with, I think, the most recent Miss America.

He says, “You are not her.”

He says, “I know her.”

He says, “This is false advertising.”

His face is red. Above his upturned polo collar, a vein pops in his neck like a worm. He stomps a foot. “I’m getting the manager over here now,” he says.

I’ve never had a book-signing at a Sam’s Club, let alone one that mistakenly announces me as Miss America. But Lori Jakiela has. And it was both as bad as one might imagine and a great deal worse. Fortunately, she got an amazing essay out of the experience, one that touches on the complex bargain of being smart instead of beautiful, and how we let others name the measure of our success despite our own best efforts.

Read the whole essay at LitHub–you’ll be glad you did.


Allison K Williams is Brevity’s Social Media Editor.

Race & Gender: New Kickstarter Rewards

March 31, 2015 § 1 Comment

two spec

We are Happy to Announce New Backer Rewards!

Our Kickstarter campaign is going wonderfully, and we are touched by all the support for Brevity. It’s been going so well, that many of the premiums have already been snapped up, and so now we are bringing new ones!

We have some exciting new rewards for backers, and we are incredibly grateful to the community of writers who have donated them. Help us out, and grab yourself some of the best possible literary swag.

GENERATE SOME NEW WORK! Brevity author Chelsea Biondolillo has generously offered a seat in an upcoming generative online workshop to one of our lucky backers! The date of this is open, so if you can’t make the next one, don’t worry! From the website:

The Generative Writing workshops emphasize the production of new work. Each week an optional prompt and maximum word count will encourage you generate up to 4500 words of new nonfiction. These can be individual flash essays, a connected series of vignettes or lyric fragments, or the building blocks of a single personal essay, literary journalism feature, memoir chapter, or hybrid of one or more CNF forms. You are welcome to share your responses with the class, or not, as you choose.

Biondolillo is a frequent craft essay contributor to Brevity, as well as one of our authors. She’s a smart, thoughtful essayist and a great teacher. We think you couldn’t do better than to take this workshop, and we are grateful to her for donating this incredible prize!

GROW YOUR PLATFORM! Does the word “platform” make you shudder a little bit? Are you feeling a little gobsmacked by the way publishers increasingly expect writers to have a strong social media presence in order to market their own work? Us, too! Well, all of us but the excellent Allison Williams, our social media editor!

For a hundred dollar donation, Allison will give you two hundred and fifty dollars’ worth of social media advice, including a one-hour Skype or phone consultation on how to build your specific brand as a writer. She’s done amazing things for us—really, she’s grown our blog audience exponentially—and we think she could do wonderful things for you, too.

A SPECIAL REWARD FOR WINE LOVERS, a SIGNED copy of Brian Doyle’s THE GRAIL: A YEAR AMBLING & SHAMBLING THROUGH AN OREGON VINEYARD IN PURSUIT OF THE BEST PINOT NOIR WINE IN THE WHOLE WILD WORLD. You will also get our gratitude, your name listed on a thank you page associated with the special gender issue, and a rock solid excuse to purchase and consume numerous bottles of opulent wine with dark cherry back notes.

THERE ARE TWO OR THREE THINGS WE KNOW FOR SURE, and one of them is that Dorothy Allison regularly delivers heart-breaking, hilarious, essential stories. So we asked her to sign us some books, and she said, “Fuck yeah.” Reward yourself with a SIGNED copy of Dorothy Allison’s TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW FOR SURE. You will also get our gratitude, your name listed on a thank you page associated with the special gender issue, and a book that will kick you in the ass. The good way.

WE WILL ALSO BE ADDING NEW BOOKS BY BREVITY AUTHORS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS, including work by Sonya Huber, Rebecca McClanahan, Patrick Madden, Gary Fincke, and Lori Jakiela.

You can see all of the Kickstarter campaign awards here. We are incredibly grateful for the response so far, and excited about the things will be able to do as new backers continue to join us. Thank you, all. We are deeply grateful.

Brevity’s 2011 Pushcart Prize Nominations Announced

November 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

Sound the horns of stunning concision! Brevity enthusiastically announces our 2011 Pushcart Prize nominees.

The titles below are clickable:

A Fiction Writer Takes Off Her ShoesBy Caitlin Horrocks

TeethBy Dylan Nice

There Are Distances Between UsBy Roxane Gay

IncisionsBy Lori Jakiela

Into The FableBy Joe Bonomo

Blueberry, Fish, Comma

June 7, 2011 § 10 Comments

We had about 260 visitors to the Brevity blog yesterday, a lowish number because we haven’t posted much in the last few weeks (the quarter is just wrapping up here in academic Ohio), but we did notice that blueberries have been popular, at the Farmer’s Market, and as a search term leading more people to this blog than any other search engine entries.  Odd.  blueberries. Followed by fish and comma.

Who Googles “comma”?

Or for that matter, “Toast”?  Looking for a recipe?

Some years back, Brevity contributor Lori Jakiela had a sharp and witty Modern Love essay in the NY Times mentioning the term “sex chair,” and for a while that was our most popular search term.

Blueberries feel like progress.



Jennifer Percy’s Modern Love

December 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

nytOn Sunday mornings, everyone on the Brevity staff gets two-hours off from reading submissions, so we brew coffee and rip into the New York Times.  It has become rather commonplace (but always pleasing) to find a past Brevity contributor featured in the Times‘ outstanding Modern Love column. In the past, Modern Love has featured valued Brevitians such as Ann Bauer, Lori Jakiela, Gary Presley, & Tim Elhajj, to name just a few.

Anyway, this past Sunday we open our Times and are halfway through the Modern Love column when it hits us — “She’s in the next issue!”

So while you are waiting for Jennifer Percy’s wonderful essay “Closing Time ” to arrive in the January 2010 issue of Brevity, check out her intriguing  essay in Modern Love:

“I was so in love with you there,” he said one evening when I mentioned the place in the Midwest where we had met. He said that phrase often, and it always vaguely distressed me, as if he was suggesting that love was a label he could pass along freely from day to day, attaching it here and there in his memory.

I asked a friend about this and the friend said he thought it was better that way, about love, and how my boyfriend moved it around like an object. He told me he thought my boyfriend was honest, and that no one can ever love someone constantly, equally, at all times. It has to rise and fall and wax and wane to maintain its permanence. That is its permanence.

The full Modern Love essay is here.

Of Huge Clown Feet and Sex Chairs

April 17, 2008 § 6 Comments

We’re happy to throw up a big huzzah for Brevity contributor Lori Jakiela (Brevity 11) who pretty much stole the show in Sunday’s New York Times with her Modern Love essay:

April 13, 2008

The Plain, Unmarked Box Arrived


THE night we ordered the sex chair, we’d been drinking. Not a lot, but enough to make a sex chair seem like an investment, like junk bonds or an I.R.A.


READ the whole essay here: The Plain, Unmarked Box Arrived

or dig out your Sunday paper before the recycling truck arrives. Wonderful stuff.


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