Category Archives: Writing

New website

Thanks to the hard work of Scott Williams Media, I’m rolling out a new author’s website (which looks fantastic!!) and am discontinuing the use of this blog.

You can now find all updates on my publications, honors, upcoming readings, signings and other events over at www.An-Tran.com . Please visit and contact me through this new website.

For my very last update on this site, I’d like to let everyone know I’m going to be reading in New York City on Saturday, June 10th, at a C&R Press-hosted joint Civil Coping Mechanisms / Prelude Poetry reading. You can find details on the Facebook event here.

Thanks a lot, and hope to see you somewhere soon!

#AWP17 Roundup

 

awp17-cr-press-reading

Fellow C&R Press author Xu Xi and I at the private press reading party

My first AWP has come and gone. It was a pretty wild ride and absolutely wonderful to see old friends and meet new ones. The advanced copies of Meditations on the Mother Tongue sold out on Saturday afternoon. And the Friday night reading was a blast! I was truly blown away by the talent and skill of the other authors and am honored to be among their company.

I also now understand what everyone means when they say the interactions at AWP can be very awkward. It’s a little weird when you know someone either through their work or some other means first (they published you, or you have social media interactions) and you’re all suddenly in a place together. I think you expect to be really comfortable with them already, but you aren’t because you technically just met, and the dichotomy is a little unsettling at first. Plus there’s the frequency of just being star-struck by these legends whom you have admired for many years. But it was all very fun and it made me really feel like this book can make some waves.

Here’s hoping! Back to the lab.

Updates and AWP

I’ve been really busy in the past few months, first with going through revisions of the collection with the fantastic Andrew Sullivan (a very positive experience overall), with some marketing/promotional stuff, and also still chugging along at my WIP.

guh12af

First copies have arrived.

The above are my author’s copies, which have mostly been distributed at this point. You can start pre-ordering copies directly from the publisher here or purchase from Amazon here. Copies will be available for sale at AWP as well. Keep an eye out for C&R Press’s booth!

For AWP next week, C&R Press are holding a party and reading event on Friday night, starting at 7PM, at 18th Street Lounge in DC. If you find yourself free, stop on by!

Lastly, I just want to give this update on the WIP: the first draft (after four separate re-starts) is finally complete, though it took me a year longer than I expected it to. I’m starting the revision process now — it’s daunting and exhausting (there’s so much work to do on it!), but I think it’s going to be worth it.

Back to work. Maybe I’ll see you next week.

 

MEDITATIONS ON THE MOTHER TONGUE short story collection forthcoming from C&R Press

I am ecstatic to report that, with thanks to editors John Gosslee and Andrew Sullivan, my short story collection MEDITATIONS ON THE MOTHER TONGUE will be released in 2017 by C&R Press. I’m honored to be part of this family–C&R has released some wonderful work and they are already showing a passion and commitment to my own work that I could not be more grateful for. I owe a deep thanks to everyone out there who helped to make this possible.

In related news, it seems I will be in New York City next month for the Brooklyn Book Festival. There will be more readings to come, I’m sure. Will keep everyone updated.

Pushcart Prize Nomination

I owe tremendous thanks to the Southern Humanities Review and Fiction Editor Aaron Alford for nominating my short story, ‘A Clear Sky Above the Clouds,’ for the Pushcart Prize.

It would be a dream come true for me to win such an award–one of my lifetime goals, in fact. This is my second story that has been up for nomination, and while I don’t expect to win (considering the competition is literally everyone who is amazing), I am deeply honored that as prestigious a journal as SHR has nominated me for such an incredible award and given my work the opportunity to contend with the American greats.

Southern Humanities Review 49.1

It’s been a long time–as always–since my last update here, but I’m happy to share that I’m in the latest issue of the Southern Humanities Review. The cover is beautiful and the issue is elegantly laid out and typeset. I have to say a huge word of thanks to former managing editor Chantel Acevedo for accepting the piece, and to current fiction editor Aaron Alford for all of his support with this story. There’s even an excerpt of it on the website, which you can read here.

In other news: I’ve been working really hard on this novel-in-progress, having written over 150 new pages this past summer alone. The draft is nearing completion (I think) and I can’t wait to get into the editing process. But it may be a long time coming, and I’m impatient. We shall see.

I also have some other short work forthcoming, so keep an eye out!

“Once I Wed a White Woman” in Sundog Lit 7

Issue 7 of Sundog Lit has gone live and includes a small short story of mine, ‘Once I Wed a White Woman.’ I am very fond of this story. It was one of the first times I wrote with an explicitly Buddhist theme, and one of those stories that came suddenly, the first draft in a single sitting. I didn’t even know or expect the ending, but it couldn’t have ended any other way.

Deep thanks to editor Justin L Daugherty for including this piece in the issue. I’m happy this is a piece I can share widely.

storySouth Million Writers Award Finals

The short-list for storySouth’s Million Writers Award has been released and is now open to public voting.

I’m happy to report that my story, ‘The Grinning Man’, published by Eclectica Magazine, has made the cut. Please go check it out and, if you are so inclined, place a vote through this GoogleDocs Form. I’d greatly appreciate it!

Thanks to the judges! And Eclectica’s editors Tom Dooley and Anne Leigh Parrish!

Also, in other news, the Sententia Books website has been redesigned, and my short story–one of the favourites I’ve produced–“Conversations with the Rest of the World” has been put up online. Thanks to Paula Bomer and Adam Robinson for allowing me to share this story with the world, and in so many different mediums!

What I’m Working On Now

But first, it appears that I’ve made the long list for storySouth’s 2014 Million Writers Award twice. Once for “The Phantom Harlot” at Big Lucks and once for “The Grinning Man” at Eclectica Magazine. It looks like there’s a lot of genre work on this long-list, so I’m not entirely sure how these pieces might measure up (easily the most fabulist of stories I’ve written, but still quite realist), but fingers crossed! It was really just a pleasant surprise. Thanks to the editors at both journals for sharing these works! I’m also really just happy to be listed alongside Celeste Ng, whose debut novel EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU I’ve recently just started. It is phenomenally crafted, from what I can discern in just the opening chapters. Great attention to detail, vivid and unique uses of imagery.

Anyway, I wanted to share a little bit about what I’m doing and thinking about now. The novel is still in-progress, but a little hung up. This has more to do with me being busy and not putting the work in than it does with me running dry on ideas or how to move forward. It will get done, but for now… there’s the day job to worry about; there’s my last MFA workshop (tomorrow!); there’s revising the thesis; there’s finishing my craft essay and outlining my seminar; there’s a lot of work.

All said, I do have a couple of potential story ideas germinating (and how do I miss short stories!). There’s also an idea that I’m not sure if I want to do as an essay or as a work of fiction, which has to do with Street Fighter (the arcade game) and social class / racial politics. They’re connected, trust me. haha. I’ll let it stew a bit longer before try to put anything to paper.

With that, adieu, good friends. 🙂 Work hard.

Gargoyle #61 and Other Updates

I’ve made my selection for my week of guest editorship at Smokelong Quarterly. It wasn’t easy; there were a number of really great pieces. Even pieces I could see myself loving very deeply, had they not had a fatal flaw or two that said to me they weren’t quite ready for submission. The selection I made was everything I look for in a piece of flash, was elegantly executed, closed in a way that resonated back through the rest of the piece. I’ll be excited to see it up.

In other news, a short story I’ve waited nearly a year to see released has come in Gargoyle #61, along with many other great writers and friends. This was one of most dear pieces to me, one of the first times I wrote candidly about racial shame. There’s a strange and fairly universal phenomena in being a visible minority, since you live your whole life being compared against the dominant culture, and that’s a deeply-seated sense of shame for being born the way you are. Everyone grows out of it at a different rate, but that shame can manifest into guilt, into rage, into self-hatred. I wrote a character that experiences all of this well into adulthood, and has to come to terms with his own racial identity. Plus, there are squid and lots of linguistic playfulness. The result is titled “The Message of My Skin.” Order a copy, if you feel so inclined.

I’d also like to an extend a very heartfelt thanks to editor Richard Peabody, who recently let me know that my story was one of Gargoyle‘s Pushcart Prize nominations. I’m incredibly honored, not only to be included in Gargoyle’s rich history in American independent literature, but to have my work represent it for the Pushcart. I can hardly believe it, really.

Lastly, a recent piece of mine has been picked up by another indie press I’m rather fond of. More on that later. 🙂