Monday, June 26, 2017

Fictions and Words in Austin, Austin, Austin, Texas! June 30, 2017 & July 1, 2017

BookPeople (photograph from BookPeople)
This is the wonderful week that I'm travelling to Austin to take part in writing-related affairs. On Friday, June 30 at 7 PM, I'll be reading at BookPeople, followed by a discussion with Owen Egerton about writing, grief, and my new book of beautiful, strange fictions, The Whole World at Once.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, I'm joining a group of fine folk at the Agents and Editors Conference to discuss working with independent publishers. The Agents and Editors Conference is organized by The Writers' League of Texas.

Let's say goodbye to June and greet July together in the best of cities, Austin, Texas. And maybe dance and get a Texas tattoo and sing to the moon.

Friday, June 30
603 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
Facebook Event Page:
Free and open to the public

Saturday, July 1
Agents and Editors Conference
Hyatt Regency
208 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX
Facebook Event Page:
Attendees must register to participate in this three-day conference.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Austin, Texas is the coolest place in the U.S.

The Whole World at Once at BookPeople
photograph by Laura Long
While also being the hottest. So, let's meet in the sweet, sweet air-conditioning of Austin's
wonderful bookstore, BookPeople.

Friday, June 30
7 PM

I'll read one or two selections from The Whole World at Once, followed by a live Q&A with Owen Egerton about the writing of the book, fictions, and more.

Please add me to your calendar. I'll love to see your face.

603 North Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 472-5050

Event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This June Thursday: Hugo House Reading, Seattle

If you're in the Seattle area tomorrow night (Thursday, 6/15), make plans to attend a wonderful evening of words presented by The Hugo House. The Hugo House is one of Seattle's best literary resources, providing writing space, lectures, events, and resources to community members as well as hosting near and far writers to keep the words flowing to and from the region.

Thursday's reading is at 7 PM and will feature four Washington writers: two poets, two fiction writers.

Address: 1021 Columbia Street, Seattle, WA 98104
Need directions? Click here.

Event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book Magic and Win The Whole World at Once on Goodreads

"Lucky Horseshoe" by Hillary H via Flickr,
used under CC license
Because I grew up as pretty much an only child, with siblings decades older than me, I read books alone, and didn't really discuss them with anyone. And I loved to read. Loved the way the images moved through my mind, the whole experience--even going to the library itself was marvelous, and all the librarians knew me, of course. I don't remember talking with them about the books I was reading.

Maybe I stopped talking about books, or thought I shouldn't, when I checked out a teenage romance when I was in first grade, and the librarian informed me that the book didn't have any pictures.
I know, I said.
Or wanted to say.
Probably I said nothing.
But I checked it out on my mother's card or maybe, by then, my own yellow card. And I read it, and then refused to go into the "children's section" after that.

This eventually led to my belief that books were like these wonderful secrets made just for you. The idea of a book club is completely antithetical to my way of experiencing and thinking about books. Talking about books out loud somehow kills the magic. Why would anyone do it?

I am slowly understanding book clubs, but it still makes me nervous for someone to recommend a book to me or ask me what I'm reading.
Oh, you know, I'll say.
Stuff, I'll say.
Dead authors, I'll say. And Jack Kaulfus, I'll say. Which is true.

So, you probably already know about these giant, virtual book clubs, like LibraryThing or Goodreads. Goodreads is like the book-readers version of social networking. You can rate books, leave reviews, chat about books, recommend books to friends, attend Q&As with authors.

It's a terrifying place.

Unless part of your reading experience is a social one, which probably it is. And that's good, right? Because you and me, we both exist, and we both read. So, here's the deal for two lucky people, or two people who are chosen amid odds that they probably won't be chosen:

From June 7, 2017-July 4, 2017, you can visit Goodreads to enter to win one of two copies of The Whole World at Once.

To enter, follow this link:

They encourage the two book winners to review the book that they win.
But I understand if that doesn't happen.
Because magic.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Meet Me in Hollywood, Kids

The New Short Fiction Series presents the L.A. Book Launch Party for The Whole World at Once
Photo by Hans Splinter, used under CC license

June 11, 7 PM
The Federal Bar
5303 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

The Federal Bar,
North Hollywood
“Erin Pringle’s stories leave you no choice. They sing so gorgeously, break your heart so perfectly, that you’re forced to revise your understanding of loss, luck, and love.”Tom Noyes, author of Come by Here: A Novella and Stories

“Readers willing to immerse themselves in sorrow, and sometimes in narratives that twist and shimmer before taking definite shape, will find reflected in these stories the unsteady path of coming back to life—or not—after loss.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In these restless and relentless fictions, the unstoppable storyteller Erin Pringle is at it again. “It” being the most American of dramas—the endless conflict between mobility and stability."
Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and Four for a Quarter

“There’s no writer working today who excites me more than Erin Pringle. Her stories stretch like planks off a cliff, past solid ground, offering breath-stealing views of grief, love, and mystery. I love this collection.”
Owen Egerton, author of The Book of Harold and writer and director of the thriller Follow

“A strikingly original collection. This book is poetic, yet has a deep sense of storytelling.”
Laura Long, author of Out of Peel Tree and editor of Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia

Friday, June 2, 2017

Go to Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, WA

Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
(Photograph from
Last weekend, I read a few stories from The Whole World at Once at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington. I hadn't been to the bookstore before, or Lake Forest Park, and I'm so glad for the experience. I should have taken more pictures.

The storefront is in a stripmall, which is visually deceiving because the inside is like this wonderful community building in which the bookstore takes up one side, and on the other is a food-court with a coffee-shop/bakery, BBQ place, and more. There are tables strewn about for eaters, readers, and a man who was drinking coffee while winding and unwinding yarn with clear intention and expertise. A children's play area is both close to the children's section of books and by the eating area, fortressed by tables where parents can eat while overseeing their children's imaginative play. In short, the bookstore is like an air-conditioned city center.

My son experiencing chess for the first time
Also, there exists a very large chess set perfect for anyone, and now that I've witnessed it, seems very necessary for teaching the moves of each of piece to an inquiring child.

The reading area itself was hidden in an intimate, cozy way amid the shelves, although the speaker system piped my voice throughout the store as I read. All the people working at the bookstore were kind and welcoming, and as I tend toward public shyness, I appreciated this very much.

And. So many books. So many. In only a brief amount of time, my offspring brought me a how-to guide on juggling, a book of Faulkner's letters, a John Wayne compendium, and a giftbox of what looked like anime graphic novels. Had there been more time, we could have easily spent a full morning here. After the reading, in the communal area outside the bookstore, a local band was playing dance music for a number of dancing couples and many more listeners.

If you're near Lake Forest Park, or near Seattle, go find yourself in Third Place Books. If you're a writer, this is a wonderful place to share your work. And if anyone needs help, ask for Lizzie.

The Whole World at Once (and my face)
at Third Place Books

Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE, #A101
Lake Forest Park WA 98155
On Facebook:
(Third Place Books has several other locations in the Seattle area, so check those out, too.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The End of Short Story Month: Read Eudora Welty's Collected Stories

Photograph from this article in the Library Journal
I live down the hill from a Free Little Library, and before I went to Texas for two weeks to save my flooded house, I stopped by the library to find a book. Usually, the books we choose from the library are children's books for our son, but on that particular day, The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty sat there behind the small door.

That is not a pocket-book, my partner said, nodding at the book when she picked me up from the airport.

She was right. I guess people take light reading on the airplane. My light reading weighed a couple pounds, and might have counted as carry-on luggage had airport security felt like making an argument.

The copy of the book is large. Not just thick, but with large pages about two-hands tall. It was published a year near my birth year. Were I my mother, I would find this significant in a telling way. Because I'm a writer. Eudora Welty was a writer. We are women. We write stories. Continue the similarities necessary for symbolism, as you see fit.

But I'm not my mother, though I do share her tendency toward symbolism, so as I looked at the copyright page, I just imagined what my mother would say. Were Eudora born in 1913 like my grandmother, rather than in 1909, it would be easier to believe, rather than simply imagine, implications between numbers and lives.

Book cover in full black with red lettering for the title and gold lettering for the author's name. All letters in full capital letters.
Cover of The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
The copy is also water-damaged. Not so bad to interfere with the words, but clearly the book is
rippled. Perhaps left in a basement box. Perhaps a bottom shelf over so many years by a window that tended to be left open.

Inside the copy is the New York Times obituary of Eudora Welty, cut carefully out. It ran from one page to another, and both pages are here. In the margins of only a few stories is blue-ink cursive in a woman's hand, or at least the cursive is small and careful and reminds me of the cursive from the weekly letters my grandmother wrote to my mother.

It's a copy, then, that was not only bought, but also saved. A copy read through. A copy owned by a person who took time while she read. A teacher? Maybe. A student, surely at one time, to have a habit of writing in the margins.

All of this is important to me. I'm one of the history of people that believes the book is a sacred object, one in a line of people who has inherited the memory of when books were incredibly expensive, always rare, for only the wealthy, kept from the hands of the class of people that encircle the trunk of my family tree and reach out.

I can't help but feel romantic about the physicality of a book, this place where someone's thoughts wait to enter the thoughts of another, all without speaking. So intimate, this.

Well, not every book does this to me. Not every binding. I started examining the book after I started reading the stories and realizing how wonderful they are.

What took me so long to find her? I think I read an excerpt of her talking about writing, on growing up as a reader. I might have even taught it to a class of 101 students, years ago. I've read a few of her commonly anthologized stories, "A Worn Path," for example, but the anthology stories didn't strike me like these have. 

Regardless. This is an excellent book of stories. I'm five stories in, 50 pages out of over 600 pages. If I wait to suggest this book to you, several years will have passed. That's how I read now. When I find a collection that is awesome, I force it to last. For example, when I read Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, I waited a year before reading the very last story.

But I want to tell you about this book now. It is a strange book. Her writing reminds me of Flannery O'Connor, whose work I very much enjoy. And Harper Lee. Not just because she's Southern, or maybe also because of that. She also reminds me of Patricia Highsmith. And all the writers I like, do have a tendency to have lived in the South, and to gravitate toward depictions of the grotesque, the not-quite, the school of you-won't-believe-it-but-yes-life-is-like-this, with a twist of dark humor in the voice, always there, too. Writers who write about characters who live in poverty but whose lives are not the butt of jokes because of that. Characters whose lives didn't turn out as happy stories might. Characters who find themselves controlled by others who don't realize how they're controlling the lives of others. Female characters, in particular, caught in lives orchestrated by a history of gendered expectations--whether they realize this, fight this, or not. Usually, not, though the writer does.

Maybe I gravitate toward fiction written in the 1950s because my mother was born in 1939. Once, when I asked my mother about feminism, she said, Well, it was a surprise. I hadn't even considered it.

Anyway. You might enjoy Eudora Welty's stories, too. Today is the last day of National Short Story Month in the United States. A perfect way to celebrate is to find a copy of The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty and enjoy the pages between now and next year's short-story month. I won't be done with them yet, but we can check in, then.
  • Find The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty in a public library near you by using
  • Purchase The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty in your local bookstore by using IndieBound.
  • Locate the nearest Free Little Library near you, and hope that you have a neighbor who left it there; or, leave your copy there when you're done with it.
  • And, Amazon, has a copy, too.
Or begin by reading my favorite story so far, "A Piece of News." Here is one of my favorite passages from it, in which the main character Ruby imagines her death after reading an article in the newspaper about her own death, or the death of a woman with the same name, or (so many overlapping possibilities):

[…] At once she was imagining herself dying. She would have a nightgown to lie in, and a bullet in her heart. Anyone could tell, to see her lying there with that deep expression about her mouth, how strange and terrible that would be. Underneath a brand-new nightgown her heart would be hurting with every beat, many times more than her toughened skin where Clyde slapped at her. Ruby began to cry softly, the way she would be crying from the extremity of pain; tears would run down in a little stream over the quilt. Clyde would be standing there above her, as he once looked, with his wild black hair hanging to his shoulders. He used to be very handsome and strong!
He would say, “Ruby, I done this to you.”
She would say—only a whisper—“That is the truth, Clyde—you done this to me.”
Then she would die; her life would stop right there.
She lay silently for a moment, composing her face into a look that would be beautiful, desirable, and dead.

(Excerpt from the story "A Piece of News" by Eudora Welty)

June 11: The Whole World at Once in Hollywood

My new collection of stories, The Whole World at Once, has been selected by the New Short Fiction Series in L.A. This means that the book will have an official launch party in North Hollywood, at The Federal Bar. On the night of Sunday, June 11, a group of actors will perform several of the stories, glasses of water or wine will be toasted, a cake will be cut, and I'll be there, shyly signing copies of the book.

The New Short Fiction Series is "the longest running spoken word series presenting the best new West Coast fiction's best voices," and I'm honored for my stories to be part of this. If you're in the area, please come to The Federal Bar to enjoy the evening with me and support a local institution that believes in art, fiction, and the stage. 

June 11, 7 PM
5303 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Ticket information:
$12 advance purchase with dinner reservation
$10 advance purchase with dinner reservation for 5+
$15 advance purchase
$20 at the door, cash only


The Whole World at Once is a collection of strange, beautiful stories in which characters walk rural landscapes and the surreal experiences of griefLearn more at the publisher's website: West Virginia University Press.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tacoma Stories spends time with The Whole World at Once

The website banner reads Jack Cameron's Tacoma It's in all caps and centered.
Over in Tacoma, Washington there lives a man named Jack Cameron. He runs a blog called Tacoma Stories, where he tracks local news, often criminal in nature, and often tries to add layers of empathy that go missing from the sort of newspaper coverage we're used to. So, that immediately made me want to meet him. 

And that resulted in Jack asking me five questions for a feature on the site called 5 Question Friday. It was published this morning, in anticipation of my reading stories this Sunday (5/28) at King's Books in Tacoma. 7 PM. I hope to meet you there.

Read today's 5 Question Friday at Tacoma Stories (click)

The picture is taken as a corner shot of a beige building with maroon trim. A mural on the side wall reads King's Books. Rare Used New. Almost A City Block of Books.
King's Books: 218 St Helens Ave Tacoma, WA 98402 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Notes on Grief: The Whole World at Once at Necessary Fiction

I wrote a short essay on the writing of my new collection of fictions, The Whole World at Once, for the wonderful website, Necessary Fiction. Which means that I wrote an article mainly about the experience of grieving while writing fiction.

From the article . . .

Our everyday language isn’t made for talking about sadness with strangers. So, it’s hard to talk about my book to people without making them or myself feel uncomfortable. Death’s uncomfortable. Sadness is, too. At least in this culture. Which is what makes mourning so surreal. Because no one knows how to talk about it, what it means, especially if you don’t believe in god or have the language of ritual to help the conversation. The stories in The Whole World at Once try to create the language that can communicate loss, awkwardness, humor without making anyone feel wrong or strange. That’s my intention, anyway.

Keep reading "Notes on Grief While Writing Fiction" here

Rainy Windows 1 by Ă–mer Diyelim,
Used under CC license