The Berlin Writing Prize included “Been Fighting Since” on their 2017 longlist. Read the full list here.


Here is the blog post announcing “Milk and Cookies on the Other Side” as the winner of Midwestern Gothic’s 2015 Lake Prize. The story was chosen by fiction judge Charles McLeod, who had these kind words to say:

“’Milk and Cookies on the Other Side’ left me breathless. Brave, honest, and devoid of bourgeois pretension, the story—in a manner both graceful and unflinching—tackles systemic cultural patriarchy in the two modes through which said patriarchy manifests most resoundingly in America: religion, and rape. The story is also a tale of exodus: of departing the smaller place to move to the big city, and what one brings with them, and what one can’t leave behind. The narrative’s politics never waver, nor do they ever usurp. As one of the story’s characters, Rocky, pronounces, ‘you have to dedicate your suffering,’ and Chess makes that suffering beautiful and terrible and irrevocable on every haunting, marvelous page of this work.”


My Contributor Spotlight was featured on Midwestern Gothic’s website. Here’s an excerpt:

There’s an appealing sense of lonesomeness around the Great Lakes. You can walk for miles alone across desolate sand dunes or along the shore; deer flit across the two-tracks, momentarily illuminated by your headlights, and kids party around isolated bonfires in the dark woods. It’s like the end of the world up there.


This is the Press Release listing “To Dismantle A Cake” as a runner-up for the Chicago Tribune’s 2015 Nelson Algren Award. (K Brattin was my name back then).