With The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead Yet Again Proves His Brilliance

With The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead Yet Again Proves His Brilliance

by Zack Graham


One of the most talented American novelists of his generation, Colson Whitehead’s nine books constitute about as diverse a body of work as any living writer’s. His settings include a post-apocalyptic zombie attack, an American slave plantation in the 1700s, the mid-’80s Hampton’s, and the modern World Poker Tour. He is the recipient of nearly every serious literary award and/or honor known to mankind, and his essays and stories have appeared in every leading English-language newspaper and magazine. The man is a national treasure.

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We Had a Fête & O What a Glorious Fête It Was

We had our annual Summer Fête on Thursday, June 6th, 2019, at The William Vale, with honoree Gary Shteyngart and guest editor of the 15th anniversary issue Alex Gilvarry. Our sincere thanks to all who made it out in support of the journal; it was our most successful benefit to date.

Epiphany lives.

A necessarily hopscotch survey of the revelry follows, with comments from our intrepid interns below. All photos by Tim Draper.

Before June 6, I had never before attended a fête, much less worked at one. But it was such a pleasure to help organize and set up for the open-air event in the company of fellow literature-lovers and a beautiful New York City view. From setting up the auction items to manning the donations table, I interacted with so many kind and interesting people, invested in words and the work of Epiphany. I also really enjoyed hearing the various readings and the comments of Gary Shteyngart! Overall, I would say the evening was a combination of delectable hors d'oeuvres and great conversation—what more could one ask for? — Anita Sheih

My first Epiphany fête was a night of food and drink and mingling and great views of Manhattan. But the most striking aspect of the celebration was the fact that every person there seemed to be united in appreciation for the mission of Epiphany and the work of its writers. Every attendee, from the Epiphany staff and board to the guests to the readers, and even our honoree Gary Shteyngart, mentioned their love of Epiphany, whether to me in conversation or in a speech to the crowd. This, it seems to me, is the essence of the journal— an undoubtedly great party, fueled by love of literature. — Eleanor Stern

It was a perfect New York night for a rooftop celebration — gentle breeze, warm weather, and stacks of books everywhere. Pulling off such a successful event was not easy, but it was only possible because of our wonderful guests. Even though my internship has just recently begun, the amount of effort that every team member contributed to make the fête happen was evident in the pinpoint focus leading up to it and the abundant smiles of the guests long into the night. The fête was a perfect ode to literature-lovers everywhere. In the words of our featured writer Gary Shteyngart, "Here's to another fifteen years of Epiphany!" — Chiara Kaufman

Brian Evenson's Staggering Ventriloquism

Brian Evenson's Staggering Ventriloquism

by Zack Graham

The author of over two dozen books of fiction, criticism, and work in translation, Brian Evenson is a master of many languages, tones, voices, and forms. His work renders the distinction between“literary” and “genre" fiction trivial. 

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The Popularity of Negativity

The Popularity of Negativity

by Zack Graham

Christian loves culture. It’s how he spends all of his time. He champions good books (with the exception of graphic novels), reading the books he likes twice, even three times in a row. He listens to podcasts. He spends entire days “at the movies,” going to double and even triple features at a single theater. Culture is Christian’s life, and writing about culture is his life’s work.

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What Is and What Will Ever Be

What Is and What Will Ever Be

by Zack Graham

What is a ghost? Is it an apparition that appears at night to frighten us? Is it a spirit at unrest, refusing to pass on to the next life until it settles a score with our world? Are ghosts corporeal or bodiless? Real or imagined? Alive or dead? Nell Freudenberger tackles these questions in her third novel Lost and Wanted, which centers around Helen Clapp, a brilliant physicist and single mother coping with the sudden death of Charlie, a black Hollywood screenwriter and Helen’s best friend from college.

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Why You Love New York

Why You Love New York

by Zack Graham

“You, Very Young in New York,” a poem by Hannah Sullivan, will remind you of why you live in New York. It will remind you why you struggle through winter after winter, why you wait underground for a train that may never come, why sometimes, despite living in the biggest city in America, you feel so alone. In short, “You, Very Young in New York” is the perfect remedy for a brutal New York February.

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The Magician

The Magician

by Zack Graham

There is a preternatural precision to Hernán Diaz’s every syllable, word, phrase and sentence.  No room to spare.  He doesn’t let you breathe.  What’s more, he is a writer capable of conceptual translation.  He can turn the banal into the fascinating.  He can reduce the complex into the basic.  He can even make the gruesome majestic.

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Introducing the Epiphanic

We’re pleased to announce a new monthly feature showcasing four critically minded writers: Zack Graham, Tess Crain, Robb Todd, and Siena Oristaglio. The Epiphanic, so-called, will publish at least one piece each month about an artistic enthusiasm, whether literary, visual, or performative in nature… The intention here is to provide an extended space for critically minded writers to develop their perspectives. If literary culture is to survive well into this new century, the vital role of critics cannot be ignored. Algorithms do not speak with an individual voice; it is the individual voice, finally, or several in conversation, that consecrate literary endeavor. If the perception of value is left to the marketplace alone, well, then, it’s safe to say we all stand to miss a great deal.

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