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The Suicide of Claire Bishop

A novel, Dzanc, 2015

Greenwich Village, 1959. Claire Bishop sits for a portrait—only to discover that what the artist has depicted is Claire’s suicide. Haunted by the painting, Claire is forced to redefine herself within a failing marriage and a family history of madness. Shifting ahead to 2004, we meet West, a young man with schizophrenia obsessed with a painting he encounters in a gallery: a mysterious image of a woman’s suicide. West enters a world involving time-travel, Hasidism, art-theft, and the terrifying power of representation. When the two characters finally meet in the present, delusions are shattered and lives are forever changed.

“A memorable, intricate, and inventive debut....both an intellectual tour de force and a moving reflection on the ways we try to save ourselves and others.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Variety

Writers Who Were Energized by the Strike Should Take on Climate Change Next
(Guest Column, 2023)

Excerpt: Labor and climate justice have historically been framed in opposition, but the exploitation of our environment and the exploitation of workers are inextricably linked by the extractive practices of the same companies. Hollywood is not only facing down studios — we’re facing down a system that prioritizes profit over people. We’re all fighting the same bad guys...

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Good Energy (nonprofit climate story consultancy)

Head Writer; Editor-in-Chief (2021-present)

Led the writing, editing, creation, development, and publication of the “Playbook for Screenwriting in the Age of Climate Change,” a digital, open-source resource to promote narrative change in Hollywood by helping writers portray the climate crisis on-screen. The Playbook includes inspiration and information from character profiles to climate psychology to the latest science, with a focus on protopian worldbuilding.

 

Co-wrote the website and report “The Climate Reality Check: A Bechdel Test for a World on Fire” collaborating across institutions. 

 

Created and led workshops for writers and executives on how to apply a “climate lens” to any story, in any genre.

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Written By Magazine

The Climate Future is in Our Hands — No Pressure (2023)

Excerpt: The crisis is—forgive me for saying—terrible for the world, but great for story. It’s only going to get more hellish and weirder from here, but hellish and weird is never boring. Climate is a lens through which writers can view any story: How would the character you’re writing now respond to climate anxiety? What climate impacts or solutions might show up organically in the setting? How is climate affecting the industries your characters work in?

Selected Publications:

 
Excerpts from The Suicide of Claire Bishop:

American Short Fiction

Lit Hub

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

The Collagist

The SlowDown

 

...Behind the body odor and foot-powder of the thick-footed men and the laundered sheets my mother made me bleach—under all that, you could smell the tree. The smell of green.

A Flash of Silver-Green: Stories of the Nature of Cities, 2019

Death Belongs to Women (novel-in-progress excerpt)

LA Review of Books (2017)

 

A Post-Apocalyptic Town (article)

LA Weekly (2017)

Casements

Because of your name, and mine. Because we were seated in the A’s in class, until your mother changed your name back to W when she found out what your father did. Because of your shoulders.

LA Review of Books, Fall 2016

 
Rink

Children do not think of memory. What use do they have for nostalgia?

Prairie Schooner, Winter 2015

 
The Late Music of Morton Howell

 

Dad always said that it was all about the standard. He thought that purely free jazz was like building the ground you’re standing on at the same time as jumping off it. There’s too much to think about, and thinking gets muddy. The standard does the thinking for you, he said. You’ve got to have common ground in order to fly. You’ve got to have something to return to.

 

Slice Magazine, Issue #15

 

Witch

 

She said this was for my own good—if I was kept in the dark, I would never be afraid of it.

 

An excerpt from my novella-in-progress, The Spirit Photographer in the Guernica / PEN America Flash Series.

Plum Baby

 

There isn't enough time in this world to grow your own tree. 

 

NPR 3-minute fiction finalist. You can read and listen here.

 

Save

 

The family store went down like a sinking stump in the swamp. Mama and Little Key and Daddy Key walked the entire four miles to the store together, Daddy shrieking like a chicken all the way. Then Mama and Daddy made Little Key walk the four miles home while they cleaned up the body. Down that dirt road Little Key kicked his feet, all alone. The flat, fat, swamp road walk. Fields on either side. In the Mississippi Delta, the earth is water-line flat. The earth is no egg. Horizon so far off you have to imagine it’s there to keep your heart steady.

 

Glimmer Train, Issue #86

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