The New and the Cool: Short Fiction of Recent Decades (10 weeks)
W 2019


. We will read contemporary stories from a wide-ranging anthology of "The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction:50 North American Stories since 1970". All the stories are eye-openers by such highly regarded and culturally diverse writers  as Junot Diaz,  Anthony Doerr, Richard Ford, George Saunders, Jamaica Kinkaid, Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Walker, Bharati Mukherjee, Tim O'Brien, and Amy Tan to name just a few.      These brilliant stories focus on the critical issues of our lifetime  This SDG will run for ten weeks; about 50 pages of reading  per week.

Weekly Topics

N.B. The 10-week design is arbitrary. It can be shifted to 7 or 14 weeks. Note also that the story selection is a sample. Others in the anthology might do just as well.

1. Russell Banks, "Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story," 18 pp., Donald Barthelme, "The School," 3 pp., 

Rick Bass, "The Hermit's Story," 11 pp.

2. Richard Bausch, "The Fireman's Wife," 19 pp., Charles Baxter, "The Disappeared," 20 pp., Amy Bloom, 

"Silver Water," 8 pp.

3. T. C. Boyle, "Caviar," 13 pp., Sandra Cisneros, "Never Marry a Mexican," 9 pp., Janet Desaulneirs, "After Rosa Parks," 15 pp.

4. Junot Díaz, "Nilda," 11 pp., Anthony Doerr, "The Caretaker," 29 pp., Deborah Eisenberg, "Twilight of the Superheroes," 24 pp.

5. Richard Ford, "Communist," 14 pp., Mary Gaitskill, "Tiny, Smiling Daddy," 11 pp., Dagoberto Gilb, "Winners on the Pass Line," 11 pp.

6. Ron Hansen, "Wickedness," 13 pp., Thom Jones, "The Pugilist at Rest," 15 pp., Jamaica Kincaid, "Girl," 3 pp. 

7. Jhumpa Lahiri, "A Temporary Matter," 14 pp., Susan Minot, "Lust," 8 pp., Bharati Mukherjee, "The Management of Grief," 14 pp.

8. Joyce Carol Oates, "The Translation," 17 pp., Tim O'Brien, "The Things They Carried," 15 pp., ZZ Packer, "Brownies," 17 pp.

9. E. Annie Proulx, "The Half-Skinned Steer," 13 pp., George Saunders, "Sea Oak," 20 pp., Joan Silber, "My Shape," 10 pp.

10. Susan Sontag, "The Way We Live Now," 14 pp., Amy Tan, "Two Kinds," 10 pp., Alice Walker, "Nineteen Fifty-Five," 12 pp. 


Lex Williford & Michael Martone, eds., The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: 50 North American Stories since 1970, 2nd edition (Touchstone, 2007).