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The Art of the Short Story

The Center for Fiction and Harper's Magazine Present the Art of the Short Story: Jai Chakrabarti, Hernan Diaz, and Gunnhild Øyehaug with Joanna Biggs

February 22, 2023

Acclaimed authors Jai Chakrabarti (A Play for the End of the World), Gunnhild Øyehaug (Knots), and Hernan Diaz (Trust) joined us for a discussion of the ever-versatile and wildly divergent short story form and its craft. Their featured new works include Evil Flowers—Norwegian author Øyehaug’s playfully surreal, madcap collection about love, death, and metamorphosis—and A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness—Chakrabarti’s masterful collection exploring what it means to cultivate a family today, across borders, religions, and race. Joanna Biggs—senior editor at our presenting partner, Harper’s Magazine, and author of A Life of One’s Own—moderated this insightful conversation.

Presented in partnership with Harper’s Magazine.

In Conversation

  • Chakrabarti, Jai - Claire Fennell

    Jai Chakrabarti

    Jai Chakrabarti

    Jai Chakrabarti is the author of the novel A Play for the End of the World (Knopf), which won the National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction, was the Association of Jewish Libraries Honor Book, and was long-listed for the PEN/Faulkner Award. He is also the author of the forthcoming story collection A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness (Knopf, 2023). His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and has been anthologized in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, and awarded a Pushcart Prize and also performed on Selected Shorts by Symphony Space. His nonfiction has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Writer’s Digest, Berfrois, and LitHub. He was an Emerging Writer Fellow with A Public Space and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and is a trained computer scientist. Born in Kolkata, India, he now lives in New York with his family.

    Photo Credit: Peter Dressel

  • Hernan Diaz - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Hernan Diaz

    Hernan Diaz

    Hernan Diaz is the author of two novels translated into thirty-four languages. His first novel, In the Distance, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and it was the winner of the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the New American Voices Award, among other distinctions. It was also a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of the Year and one of Lit Hub’s 20 Best Novels of the Decade. Trust, his second novel, was the winner of the Kirkus Prize and longlisted for the Booker Prize. It was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Time magazine, and it was also one of the New Yorker’s 12 Essential Reads of the Year. Trust is currently being developed as a limited series for HBO. His stories and essays have appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s, the Atlantic, Granta, the Yale Review, Playboy, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Ingmar Bergman Estate. He holds a PhD from NYU, edits an academic journal at Columbia University, and is also the author of Borges, between History and Eternity.

    Photo Credit: Pascal Perich

  • credit to Helge Skodvin - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Gunnhild Øyehaug

    Gunnhild Øyehaug

    Gunnhild Øyehaug is an award-winning Norwegian poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Her story collection Knots was published by FSG in 2017, followed in 2018 by Wait, Blink, which was adapted into the acclaimed film Women in Oversized Men’s Shirts, and in 2022 by Present Tense Machine. Øyehaug lives in Bergen, where she teaches creative writing.

    Photo Credit: Helge Skodvin

  • biggs-joanna

    Joanna Biggs

    Joanna Biggs

    Joanna Biggs is a senior editor at Harper’s Magazine. She is the author of A Life of One’s Own: Nine Women Writers Begin Again, which will be published by Ecco in May.

    Photo Credit: Sarah Bohn