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Unusual Debut Fiction

Join us Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers for a night of celebrating highly unusual debut fiction!

Of Juan Martinez’s story collection Best Worst American, Booklist calls it “idiosyncratic” and “bluntly funny.” Etgar Keret says more simply: “I loved it,” while Kelly Link praises Martinez as “the master of the absurd.” Kirkus Reviews calls Jimin Han’s novel A Small Revolution “intriguing,” “suspenseful,” and “eerily timeless.” The late James Salter says Paul Cohen’s novel The Glamshack is “powerful” and “unusual.”

From spooky Japanese girl ghosts to a hostage crisis that erupts from a love triangle to an a doomed affair that evokes the tragedy of the Plains Indian Wars, each of these debuts take unconventional approaches to universal stories. Martinez, Han, and Cohen will talk about their long journeys toward authorhood, their artistic choices, and what they’re working on now. 

JUAN MARTINEZ'S stories have been published in McSweeney’s, Glimmer Train, Conjunctions, Huizache, Ecotone, TriQuarterly, and broadcast on Selected Shorts. He lives in Chicago with his family and is an assistant professor of English at Northwestern University. His website

JIMIN HAN received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and her BA from Cornell University. Her work appears in NPR’s Weekend America, Entropy, the Rumpus, HTMLGiant, The Good Men Project, Kartika Review, The NuyorAsian Anthology, and, among others. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute and lives outside New York City with her husband and children.

PAUL COHEN'S fiction has been published in Tin House, Five Chapters and Eleven Eleven. His new novel, THE SLEEPING INDIAN, was recently named a finalist for the 2016 Big Moose Prize from Black Lawrence Press. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Village Voice, Details, the Christian Science Monitor and others. Cohen earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a teaching scholarship as well as the Prairie Lights Prize for Fiction (judged by Ethan Canin). He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

LELAND CHEUK authored the story collection LETTERS FROM DINOSAURS (Thought Catalog Books, 2016) and the novel THE MISADVENTURES OF SULLIVER PONG (CCLaP Publishing, 2015). Cheuk’s work has been covered in VICE, The Millions, The Rumpus, Asian American Writers Workshop, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, among other outlets. He has been awarded fellowships and artist residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, I-Park Foundation, and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. He is the founder of the indie press 7.13 Books. He lives in Brooklyn.

Later Event: August 10
Lucy Ives & Jen George