short-story-monthDan Wickett founded the Emerging Writers Network, co-founded Dzanc Books with Steven Gillis, and edited the short story anthology Visiting Hours (Press 53).

What are some of the things Dzanc Books feels most passionate about these days?

I think our list is usually really consistent – finding the next great manuscript to bring out in book form, and then using the power of the reading and writing to help others – be it through education of children, workshops with prisoners, or cancer patients, or those for whom English is a second language, etc.

Dzanc is a wonderful champion of the short story. How did the idea for Short Story Month come about? What made it happen?

Back in 2007 I tried to celebrate National Poetry Month in April. I posted a poem from a child, I believe via the blog of Houston’s Writers in Schools group, at the EWN blog every day and discussed it briefly. As poetry is not my forte by any means, and I love short stories, when the month ended I wondered why there wasn’t a National Short Story Month and decided screw that, there should be, and so, declared it to be so.

How did Short Story Month go last year, its inaugural year?

Last year was actually very cool as more people joined in celebrating with me than ever before and it started to get noticed a bit. Larry Dark over at The Story Prize (who actually has been clamoring for this since 2003, much longer than myself) pointed it out, as did Poets & Writers, Publishers Weekly, and many blogs. Beyond those that I contacted about playing along – Matt Bell, Aaron Burch of Hobart, and Steven McDermott of Storyglossia – American Short Fiction and Ninth Letter’s blogs both participated, as did some others I was less familiar with. Dzanc Books even put out a collection of the writings done during the month for the original four sources (adding in the EWN) and send out copies to those that donate $10 or more to Dzanc via our support page.

What can we as writers and readers do to help support each other and our community of writers/publishers most effectively?

Most effectively? I’d say buy books and journals and subscriptions to journals for every one of your family and friends for their birthdays, for holidays that warrant gifts, and sometimes, just because. And keep an open conversation flowing about writing and books and journals and poems and stories and essays and, you probably get the idea.

What are your favorite literary websites?

The sites I wouldn’t be surprised to find out I visited the most in the past six months:

Matt Bell’s site (, HTMLGiant (, which runs from fascinatingly interesting on down to making me want to lob a brick at my computer screen, Big Other (, Ed Champion’s site (, and sadly, or more likely most pathetically, the Emerging Writers Network blog.

The Fictionaut Five is our ongoing series of interviews with Fictionaut authors. Every Wednesday, Meg Pokrass asks a writer five (or more) questions. Meg is an editor at Smokelong Quarterly, and her stories and poems have been published widely. She blogs at

  1. John Madera

    Thanks for the shine on Big Other, Dan!

  1. 1 SSM 2010: Recognizing Its Prince–and Its Pricelessness – American Short Fiction blog

    […] of Short Story Month, Dan Wickett (of Emerging Writers Network and Dzanc Books), waxed prosaic in Fictionaut Five about his reads, his wants, and his brainchild, SSM. (He even nods our […]

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