Content Tagged ‘tin house’

The Starving Artist: A Thanksgiving Meditation on Food and Literary Fuel

by Anna Montgomery Patton

There is a strange ache that comes with hunger.  One must take inventory of one’s body, locate the source of the hunger. Stomach? Brain? In fact, the feeling of hunger is not a message delivered to the brain from the stomach. It turns out that Neuropeptide not only communicates a desire for food to the brain, it also reduces pain, stress, anxiety, and blood pressure. Sometimes when I feel hungry I automatically assume my body is telling me it wants food. Perhaps it is simply wanting some sort of nourishment. And what I, and many others, find satiating is reading. Words are delicious.

It is no surprise, then, that an incredible amount of restaurants all over the world share names with well-regarded literary magazines and journals. During a meeting of the Ecotone practicum last semester, we discovered Prairie Schooner. No, not the noted literary journal of the University of Nebraska, which has been in circulation since 1926. This was Prairie Schooner of Ogden, Utah, a Wild West–themed restaurant where one can “dine in a covered wagon next to an open prairie fire while enjoying our delicious hand cut steaks, fresh seafood, and signature desserts.” I have not had the opportunity to dine at Prairie Schooner, but my experience reading an issue of Prairie Schooner was similar to enjoying a satisfying meal. And should that not be the goal of successful writing? If nothing else, a writer strives to leave a reader full, if not a little uncomfortable.

The discovery of Prairie Schooner (the restaurant) led me down a rabbit hole of dining opportunities linked to the literary, some more “fine” than others. Ploughshare Brewing Company in Lincoln, Nebraska (“Share the Bounty! Get Behind the Plough!”) was named best new restaurant in 2014, and boasts original brews and brats among its vittles. Wellington, England, is home to Tin House, a Cantonese restaurant with an overpriced (in my humble opinion) chow mein takeaway. McSweeney’s serves up twenty-one pieces of shrimp for a reasonable $4.50 in Pittsburgh. They are better known for their $1.95 red hots: hot dogs in steamed buns with McSweeney’s meat sauce and onions. The website warns, “onions buried, may cause sauce to fall off hot dog due to bun crisis of 2002.” I am uncertain about what this means, but it seems of a piece with the quirkiness and “daily laffs” of McSweeney’s.

Threepenny Cafe in Charlottesville, Virginia, not only won the OpenTable 2015 Diner’s Choice Award, and serves a $33 three-course prix fixe menu that sounds delectable (think charred romaine salad, pan roasted rockfish with champagne sauce, pecan bread budding with bourbon creme anglaise), but they have a lovely outdoor patio and live music. Back in the United Kingdom, the Granta has a mouthwatering menu of modern spins on British pub classics. Every Sunday they have a home-cooked roast along with seasonal vegetables, and Yorkies, also home-cooked. The literary Granta is similarly classic and attuned to long-time traditions.

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News Roundup

This week, as you all know by now, was publication week for Honey from the Lion! We’ve been shipping books, publicizing, and getting ready for Matt’s book tour. Big thanks to a grant from South Arts for helping us make these workshops and panels, as well as a special visit to Hawbridge School, possible. You can find all event dates and details for the tour here, but if you’re in North or South Carolina, you can find him whirlwinding over the next couple of weeks in these cities:

Friday, September 11, 7 p.m., Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC
Saturday, September 12, 2:30 p.m., Bookmarks Festival, Winston-Salem, NC
Saturday, September 12, 7 p.m., Malaprop’s, Asheville, NC
Sunday, September 13, 3 p.m., University of North Carolina Asheville, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Monday, September 14, 5:30 p.m. panel, 7 p.m. reading, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
Tuesday, September 15, 6 p.m. workshop and book signing, Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, Southern Pines, NC
Tuesday, September 15, 6 p.m., Fiction Addiction Southern Storytellers event (ticketed), Greenville, SC
Wednesday, September 16, 3 p.m., Hub City Bookshop, Spartanburg, SC
Thursday, September 17, 7 p.m., Main Street Books, Davidson, NC
Friday–Saturday, September 18–19, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Discovery Show, Raleigh, NC

In case you missed any of the goings-on around the book this week, here’s a quick recap: find excerpts of the novel at At Length and American Short Fiction, and find interviews from Kirkus and Tin House’s the Open Bar. And tune in on Thursday, September 17 at noon to hear Matt on the State of Things from WUNC.

We’ve been working long hours to get all preorders mailed. If you’re one of our lucky customers, the books are on the way thanks to the hard work on the Lookout staff (Megan and Morgan seen here; overhead ladder shot courtesy of Liz).


In other news, Ecotone contributors are all over the web this week. Claire Vaye Watkins and Lauren Groff talk about their new books on Salon with Alexandra Kleeman, Helen Phillips, Matthew Salesses, and Steve Toltz. One of the most fun interviews we’ve read in a while. Kazim Ali wrote this open letter to contributor Aimee Nezhukumatathil in response to this week’s Best American Poetry scandal. And Toni Tipton Martin got some attention from the New York Times for her book The Jemima Code.

That’s the news for the week! On this September 11 we hope you are surrounded by those you love and words that bring you comfort and connection.


Smith Henderson interviews Matthew Neill Null for Tin House blog

Smith headshot and cover

Smith Henderson and Matthew Neill Null are having a great time over on the Tin House blog, the Open Bar, today. They discuss everything from writerly self-suspicions to tobacco-worker unions, what fiction can do to sheep jokes. “First-rate fiction,” Matt says, “is always about third-rate people.” To which Smith replies, “Hot damn.”

See the whole interview here, and thanks so much to Smith and Tin House for the great conversation!

Null headshot and cover