In Conversation: Michael Carroll and Alden Jones
Wednesday June 18, 2014
Michael Carroll and Alden Jones joined us for a reading and discussion of their latest works: Little Reef and Other Stories, and Unaccompanied Minors. The event included readings from the book, a discussion, a Q&A session, and a wine reception.
About Little Reef and Other Stories (University of Wisconsin Press)
Little Reef and Other Stories announces the arrival of an original voice in literature. From Key West to Maine, Michael Carroll’s debut collection of stories depicts the lives of characters who are no longer provincial but are not yet cosmopolitan. These women and their gay male friends are “B-listers” of a new, ironic, media-soaked culture. They live in a rich but increasingly divided America, a weirdly paradoxical country increasingly accepting of gay marriage but still marked by prejudice, religious strictures, and swaths of poverty and hopelessness. Carroll shows us people stunned by the shock of the now, who have forgotten their pasts and can’t envision a future.
"The dialogue is pitch-perfect. Little Reef and Other Stories will, of course, appeal to gay readers, but it will also appeal to people who like good writing, or who have a need to read fiction which is set in that dream-space between New York and more traditional American spaces, or in that hazy area between a self in the making and a self already formed."
- Colm Tóibín, author of The Testament of Mary
About Unaccompanied Minors (New American Press)
A man on a mission to "save" people finds himself drawn to a brothel; two young women create mayhem in a homeless shelter; a group of Evangelical American teenagers descends on a quiet Costa Rican sugar cane town; a girl who grows scales no doctor can remedy finds solace in a friendship with a classmate who doesn't eat. From the wilds of Tennessee to Costa Rica's gritty capitol city and suburban America, Unaccompanied Minors explores the consequences of acting in a world that rarely provides the accompaniment we expect.
"Unaccompanied Minors is sad and thrilling and most of all true. Alden Jones knows how to make a story sing."
- Kyle Minor, judge for the 2013 New American Fiction Prize and author of Praying Drunk
Michael Carroll was born in Memphis, grew up in northern Florida and lives in New York. He’s been a Peace Corps volunteer, a waiter, a janitor, a writer’s assistant and a college instructor. His work has appeared in Boulevard, Ontario Review, Southwest Review, The Yale Review, Open City and Animal Shelter, as well as in such anthologies as The New Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories (edited by David Leavitt and Mark Mitchell). He collaborated with Edmund White on the suspense story “Excavation” for Joyce Carol Oates’ New Jersey Noir. His interviews with Ann Beattie and Wells Tower were included in the recently revamped Chattahoochee Review, where his first story was published, and where he is New York Editor. His first collection, Little Reef and Other Stories, is published in June 2014 by the University of Wisconsin Press.
Alden Jones’s first book, The Blind Masseuse: A Traveler’s Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia, was named a Top Ten Travel Book of the season by Publishers Weekly and the Best Travel Book of 2013 by the Huffington Post. Her new book of stories, Unaccompanied Minors, won the 2013 New American Fiction Prize. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Agni, Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Post Road, and the Best American Travel Writing. She lives in Boston and teaches at Emerson College.