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Friday, December 20, 2013

January 1 - Heyday Winner Keenan Norris

Tonight, New Year’s Day, on Bibliocracy, KPFK 90.7 FM:  Novelist KEENAN NORRIS. The arrival of Keenan Norris’s first full-length work of fiction ends, happily, the anticipation he’s generated among fans of a young writer and scholar, an author so far of winning short stories.  It’s been acknowledged with his novel, Brother and the Dancer chosen as winner of the 2012 James D. Houston Award.  This is a big deal indeed, publication of a work of fiction honoring the late, legendary California writer and teacher Jim Houston, the second of Heyday’s annual selections.  Norris grew up and was educated in the Inland Empire, holds an MFA from Mills College and a PhD from the University of California, Riverside. His research interests include urban literature and the publishing industry. He teaches English, African-American Literature and promotes the AFFIRM program at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, California. His work, both fiction and nonfiction, has appeared in the Santa Monica Review, Green Mountains Review, and Evansville Review, the online journal Connotation Press, in the terrific anthology, Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire, and BOOM: A Journal of California. He is editing Scarecrow Press’s upcoming collection of critical essays Street Lit: Popularity, Controversy & Analysis and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  This debut novel traces the life choices of two African American young people from Highland, California, exploring race, class, and geography in an idiomatic and intimate, sociological and yet personal dual coming-of-age novel. Urgent and philosophical, political and poetic, this novel marks, as they say, the bright beginning of a career by a talented young writer.  Thanks for listening.  Happy New Year.

December 25 - Kate Milliken

Tonight on Bibliocracy, Christmas Day, 8 PM on KPFK:  KATE MILLIKEN.  It’s a real pleasure to celebrate a long-time writer whose individual successes add up lately to recognition and celebration.  For my guest Kate Milliken this comes from winning the University of Iowa’s most excellent John Simmons Short Fiction Award for If I’d Known You Were Coming, a collection of twelve just plain breathtaking short stories.  Kate Milliken’s characters don’t so much try to reconcile absence and loss as live with it, work it, and test its power.  Milliken’s voice and stylized, economical prose is striking in its engagement with what is gone, missing – nearly and sometimes as if what is gone is a character itself.  Milliken’s characters are mostly missing parents, missing children, missing in all senses of the word.  Kate Milliken’s stories have appeared in ZYZZYVA, Fiction, New Orleans Review, and, yes, Santa Monica Review. This is a gorgeous and totally satisfying collection of stories. If you’d like more rhapsodic appreciation from me, check out the review I posted over at OC Bookly:  Thanks for listening.  Happy Holidays from The Bibliofella.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wednesday, December 4 - Jerry Stahl

Tonight at 8 PM on Bibliocracy:  JERRY STAHL.  His many fans enjoy the challenge of describing the perverse pleasure of reading and envying the work of my guest tonight --- if not his life! --- fiction writer, screenwriter and memoirist Jerry Stahl.  Lydia Lunch calls his work “literary burlesque.”  It’s fun to try to characterize his singularly, manically engaged work: social commentary, drug culture confidential, adolescent coming-of-age, Hollywood inside scooper.  He’s a stand-up William Burroughs, a noir Don Dellilo, a Pynchonian fabulist whose sharp eye and dark wit convince and engage immediately.  See, it’s easy?  And fun.  I, by the way, like Nathaneal West meets Terry Southern, but then you don’t need to appreciate other iconic writers to appreciate this iconic writer.  Start anywhere and be introduced to the voice and composition and timing and humor which create and then repurpose satire for sincere autobiography, survival and, with the new novel, Happy Mutant Baby Pills, political critique and something perhaps even like hope.  JERRY STAHL has written widely, for television and for film, but you can read his fiction and nonfiction in the memoir Permanent Midnight, in the novels Perv and I, Fatty and in a short story collection, Love Without.  And it turns out he’s also KPFK listener-supporter, and has even gleefully sent up the station in the new book.  Don’t miss my half hour with one of my favorite writers.  Thanks for listening.  No Bibliocracy for the rest of December.  Instead, Fund Drive and a couple of holidays.  Back in January.  Listen live on the radio or online, and as a free download from the station’s audio archives, free for 90 days from broadcast. Thanks to engineer Stan Misraje.  Friend me and KPFK 90.7 FM on Facebook.