Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Give the gift of Philly Fiction this holiday season

Know someone who likes to read and likes Philadelphia? What better gift than Philly Fiction and Philly Fiction 2, collections of short stories written by Philadelphians and set in Philadelphia. Order from our website by 17th for delivery by Christmas Eve (if there's still a postal service by then) or click below to purchase through Amazon.
Whatever a person's interests, a book makes a great gift. Check out this list of local bookstores who carried the Philly Fiction books upon release (and may still have the odd copy on their shelves) or use this Amazon link to shop and have a portion of your purchase support the printing of our next book, the soon-to-be-released (honest!) South Philly Fiction.

For ideas if you already have all the Philly Fiction books, read our article about other fiction related to Philadelphia.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chester County Fiction

The Philly Fiction series has shown how Philadelphia is blessed with talented writers and interesting stories, but the blessings don't end at the city's borders. Last month, start-up publishing company Oermead Press released an edited compilation of sixteen short stories by authors who live and work in suburban Chester County. According to the publicity text, Chester County Fiction "includes stories about people in transition, struggling to find their place and peace in the community they live in. They are tales about love and loss, violence and heartbreak. The collection features brand new stories by: Virginia Beards, Jim Breslin, Robb Cadigan, Wayne Anthony Conaway, Peter Cunniffe, Michael Dolan, Ronald D. Giles, Terry Heyman, Joan Hill, Nicole Valentine, Jacob Asher Michael, Eli Silberman and Christine Yurick."

Oermead press is headed by writer and editor Jim Breslin, author of Elephant: Short Stories and Flash Fiction. Thanks to Jim and the other editors for bringing out more of the region's great short story offerings. They've even made a cool video about it, check it out:


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Help a Philly Fiction author travel to Africa to finish his novel

David Sanders's story "Nothing Matters" was one of the highlights of the first Philly Fiction collection, a thoughtful piece with blended internal insights with big-picture thoughts. David is working on novel, Busara Road, which draws upon his experiences growing up on a Quaker mission in Kenya in the years after that country's independence (that's him at right in his days on the mission). He's finished a rough first draft, but to flesh it out he's travelling to Kenya next month as part of his research for the book. David has set up an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund this trip. With twenty-odd day remaining he's still a few hundred dollars short of his goal. Consider giving today. Head to the campaign page or his Busara Road blog for more information. Any amount is appreciated, but for $1,000 he'll even name a character in the book after you!

Best of luck to David on his trip; we look forward to reading the novel.

Watch a video about the project:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Philly Fiction author publishes new story collection

Random House has released the first collection of short stories by author Sandra Novack, whose piece "Memphis" appeared in Philly Fiction 2 and also features in her new anthology. Everyone but You: Stories comes on the heels of Novack's first novel, Precious, published by Random House in February 2009 and in paperback in August 2010.

"Vividly tactile, funny, irreverent, and incisive, these stories of imperiled relationships are also richly plotted," says Booklist about Everybody but You, a description which certainly fits Novack's PF2 offering. "Memphis" tells the story of a couple on the outskirts of the City of Brotherly Love struggling to live with a schizophrenic brother-in-law who a irrational desire to drive to Memphis without hitting any pebbles.

Find out more about Sandra Novack and her writing at

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Anthology examines the state of arts and arts education

For months, New Yorker Edward P. Clapp traveled to and from Philadelphia to visit a girlfriend. The relationship ended, but he mined that experience to great effect in his story "Shanghai Ship to Love," published in the first Philly Fiction anthology. He's since moved on Massachusetts, where he completed a Ed.D. at Harvard University in Educational Policy Leadership and Institutional Practice.

Blending his writing and studies, Clapp has compiled, edited, and written an introduction to an anthology of critical discourse that addresses the impending generational shift in arts leadership. 20UNDER40: Re-Inventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century contains twenty essays about the future of the arts and arts education, written by young and emerging arts professionals under the age of forty. In a time of education cuts, the anthology brings the voices of young arts leaders out of the margins and into the forefront of our cultural dialogue. Find out more at

“If Philadelphia had a soundtrack it wasn’t a Smiths song. There were no double-decker buses, no lights that never went out. Philadelphia was one long violent film in a foreign language with subtitles that didn’t make sense — and the hum of the bus, the thump and thud of that noxious: thud thud
....thud-thud thud-thud
....That was my lullaby, all twelve dollars worth — rock-shaking me to sleep.”
—Edward P. Clapp, “The Shanghai Ship to Love”

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Catch a play this weekend by Philly Fiction author Walt Vail

Walt Vail, author of "The Red Truck" in the original Philly Fiction anthology, is a well-produced local playwright. Catch one of his plays, "Neighbors," at the Walking Fish Theatre in Fishtown/Kensington. Running through June 19, the play is part of A Jeffrey James Repertory Production, Funny/Dangerous, presented by B. Someday Productions.

Directed by Kenneth McGregor, Funny/Dangerous features two one-act plays, Vail's piece and another, “Within the Skins of Saints” by Mark Borkowski. In “Neighbors," a couple with a new baby is having marital problems. Their neighbors have been watching through the curtains.

Walking Fish Theatre is a small neighborhood theater located on the Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor at 2509 Frankford Avenue. Shows run Tuesday through Saturday at 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm, now through June 19. Tickets are $9-$18. Visit for more information.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Read Benjamin Matvey's "Piece of Mind" on Fictionaut

The story "Piece of Mind," a version of which appeared in Philly Fiction 2, is one of the top reads of the year at online community magazine Fictionaut. In Benjamin Matvey's touching and intriguing piece, set in Philly's Mutter Museum, two brilliantly dysfunctional young people are wondering that age-old question, "Is (s)he thinking what I'm thinking?" A couple people told us it was their favorite piece in the collection (but, then, we heard that about quite a number of the stories... Philly Fiction rocks!). We've had the privilege of reading some of Matvey's other fiction, and it's uniformly excellent. He recently finished his first novel; it is much anticipated. Check out "Piece of Mind." You'll like it.

Calling itself "a literary community for adventurous readers and writers," Fictionaut is an invite-only social media site for fiction authors. Reader responses make this a self-selecting magazine "highlighting the most exciting short stories, poetry, flash fiction, and novel excerpts".

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Brief History of Baseball in Philadelphia

On Saturday, the Phillies wore the uniforms of the Philadelphia Stars, a successful team from the Negro Leagues (as the segregated all–African American baseball competitions were known). Read Philly Fiction editor Christopher Munden's story about the history of baseball in Philadelphia, which touches upon the Stars and other now-defunct Philly baseball teams.

The article includes links to some good books about baseball in the city, including Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, by Daniel Biddle and Murray Dubin. Tasting Freedom is the first full-length biography of Octavius Catto, a star short-stop and baseball manager who was better known as a pioneering activist for voting rights and equal rights for African Americans in the years after the Civil War. Catto's struggles, which ended in his assassination on election day in 1871, closely mirror those which occurred in the American South a century later (Indeed, despite Pennsylvania's fight on the right side of the Civil War to end slavery, the racial climate in the state in the 1860s closely mirrors, and in many ways was worse than, that in the South 100 years later.) Catto is probably the only person who has been compared to both George Steinbrenner and Malcolm X. His is a great story and one which deserves to be more widely known.

A version of  "A Brief History of Baseball in Philadelphia" previously appeared in the Where Guestbook Philadelphia 2010/2011 as "In the Swing". Rights reverted to the author in May 2011.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lit Reading featuring PF2 author Kelly McQuain

Kelly McQuain
Local lit mag Painted Bride Quarterly is hosting a reading Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 7:30pm – 9:00pm at the Black Sheep Pub in Center City Philadelphia. The reading will feature writing by Kelly McQuain, author of the story "Erasing Sonny" in Philly Fiction 2 and the piece "Blue Boy," recently selected for inclusion in the forthcoming South Philly Fiction.

Kelly McQuain  holds an MA from Temple University and an MFA from the University of New Orleans. He is a two-time recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship and a winner of Philadelphia City Paper Writing Awards in both fiction and poetry. His work has appeared locally in the Fringe Festival and Writing Aloud. Recently he juried the Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. He co-coordinates the Poets & Writers Festival at the Community College of Philadelphia.

The event will also feature work by local poet Jeff Markovitz.

Lit Reading -- Boo Ya
Featuring Jeff Markovitz and Kelly McQuain
Black Sheep Pub
247 South 17th Street, Philadelphia 19103
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shad Fest and Bad Poetry Slam, April 23

It's an exciting weekend for the folks at Don Ron Books. After a long winter lay-off, we will be back on the sales path this Saturday at the 2011 Fishtown Shad Fest. Held at Penn Treaty Park along the Delaware from 11 am to 6 pm, the festival features live music, local arts & crafts vendors, environment education kiosks, kids activities, food, beer, the Kenzinger Challenge Run, shad sandwiches, and much more! Proceeds go the Friends of Penn Treaty Park. Last year was a blast; come out on Saturday and see us.

Stick around that area in the evening for some brilliantly bad poetry at the Highwire Gallery at 2040 Frankford Avenue (Between E. Norris & E. Susquehanna). Philly Fiction editors Josh McIlvain and Christopher Munden are hosting a special Bad Poetry Slam. Write some bad verse or find some from your favorite celebrity and read it in-front of a captive audience. The night will also feature music by Josh and his band the Generals of SEXCOP and by Chris Munden, as well as a interactive choreography by Annie Wilson, whose story "Hoagie" was included in Philly Fiction 2. The Bad Poetry Slam is a free event, with free beverages/byob; socializing at 7:30pm, starts at 8pm, April 23, 2011. Visit for more details.