Vincent Chu’s LIKE A CHAMPION is available now!


ISBN: 978-0998409269
Distributor: Ingram

In eighteen stories that shine a light on people who are far from champions, Like a Champion is an ode to underdogs and long shots, sad office parties and one-sided basketball games, disappointed worker bees and hopeful lovers. Vincent Chu’s work is funny and big-hearted, like the best short stories of Sherman Alexie, and imbued with a generosity and warmth that reminds us that moments of glory can happen when we least expect it.


“Chu finds ways to turn the everyday into the revelatory… He covers a host of relationships – familial, romantic, occupational – and, in doing so, showcases the complexities of the characters on display. Chu’s stories are solidly realistic in their scope, exploring everyday issues with charm and empathy – and occasional moments of unexpected humor”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Vincent Chu takes us on a journey through real life, with brief glimpses into the lives of diverse characters. While each character and story is different, there is something relatable about them all. You’ll find yourself among friends in these stories”
— San Francisco Book Review

Like a Champion is a lighthearted testimony to life’s unexpected turns… Chu creates a context where the lonely feel loved, connections thrive through conflicts, and private issues unfold in public spaces. Above all, each story retains a sense of hope or new beginning”
— Forth Magazine

“With gentle precision, Chu moves beyond the writerly adage of show don’t tell; he doesn’t want the reader to be shown or told anything, rather asking the reader to experience the feeling of being sucked into another person’s head… by the end of the book, we’re not just cheering for his characters, but for Chu himself”
— East Bay Review

“Chu decidedly hands us a triumphant collection of surprising, energetic stories and good, weird, sometimes sad people. It is an intimate book that made me laugh out loud more than once… I read this book thinking, oh bless their hearts, bless all of our hearts
— Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Whiskey & Ribbons

“Vincent Chu can do many things, tell a story, create indelible characters, and craft spot-on dialogue, but what he does most movingly in Like a Champion is unpack our greatest fears, hopes and desires, in other words, what makes us human”
— Ben Tanzer, author of Be Cool

“The brilliance of this collection is not only these complex portrayals but the surprising twists that make us nod in recognition at what makes us hopeful and human. A fun and deeply moving read”
— Jimin Han, author of A Small Revolution

“The characters in each story reminded me of either myself or someone I know. Cannot wait for more from Vincent Chu. At the end of Like a Champion, I felt as if each story could be a full-fledged novel on its own”
— Shamala Palanappian, author of Elephant’s Breath

“These stories surprise and delight. Vincent Chu sees into the longings, quirks, and humanity of his characters, revealing the small moments that touch their lives with gravity and, often, grace”
— Lindsey Crittenden, author of The Water Will Hold You

“How Indie Presses Are Elevating the Publishing World” – an interview with Electric Literature

“Independent presses are a lifeline in the publishing world. At a time when large publishing houses are merging into even larger conglomerates, writers may feel like finding a home for their work requires a very specific, and at times corporate, mindset. But indies show that there’s another way. Via contests, open calls for submissions (for agented and unagented writers), and targeted requests, independent presses provide an alternate arena, making publishing more of a reality for marginalized artists and those with unique voices and writing styles. Plus, they’re getting more and more recognition. This year Graywolf Press had several titles as finalists or longlisted for the National Book Award. Paul Harding’s Pulitzer winning book Tinkers was published by a university aligned press (Bellevue Literary).

Rosalie Morales Kearns, Leland Cheuk, and Laura Stanfill are indie publishers seeking to add to the publishing landscape in unique ways that speak to their own experiences and beliefs. I spoke with them about the missions of their presses, the challenges they face, and what authors and publishers should take into account about the business.

Jennifer Baker: In a world full of presses, why did you decide to create yours and what stands out about it that you saw lacking in the marketplace?”

Read the rest of the interview here.

Announcing Our 2019 List

Very excited to be announcing our 2019 books, a list that’s eclectic, diverse, and challenging, just as much so as the forthcoming 2018 list. I continue to be amazed at the quality of submissions (300+ in our first year). There are so many talented writers out there doing important work. I wish we could publish more of them.

If your submission is still in the queue, we’re now considering it for the 2020 list.



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BESOTTED, a novel by Melissa Duclos

BESOTTED is the ballad of Sasha and Liz, American expats in Shanghai. Both have moved abroad to escape—Sasha from her family, Liz from a broken engagement. When they move in together, Sasha finds herself considering a future with Liz, who is far less certain. For fans of PRAGUE by Arthur Phillips and THE EXPATRIATES by Janice Y.K. Lee, BESOTTED is an expat novel that explores what it means to love someone while running away from yourself.

Melissa Duclos’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, Electric Literature, Fiction Advocate, Cleaver Magazine, Full Grown People, BookTrib, Mommyish, Bustle, and English Kills Review, and her essay in Salon was named Best Personal Essay of 2015. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she was awarded the Guston Fellowship. She lives in Portland, OR with her two children and is at work on her second novel. You can follow her on Twitter (@melissaduclos) and at



NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL, stories by Josh Denslow

A teen who can teleport just wants to make his mom happy. A midget working as an elf in a year-round Christmas-themed amusement park battles his archrival: a condescending Santa. You’ve heard of Fight Club, but have you been to the Underground Punch Market? Like the work of George Saunders crossed with Richard Linklater, NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL is a collection of slacker fabulist stories that are at once speculative, hilarious, and poignant.

Josh Denslow’s stories have appeared in Barrelhouse, Third Coast, Cutbank, Wigleaf, and Black Clock, among others. In addition to constructing elaborate Lego sets with his three boys, he plays the drums in the band Borrisokane and edits at SmokeLong Quarterly. You can follow him on Twitter (@joshdenslow) and at



PORTRAIT OF SEBASTIAN KHAN, a novel by Aatif Rashid

Sebastian Khan is 380 days away from the end of college. An art history major who’s as much a connoisseur of members of the opposite sex as he is of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Sebastian starts dating Fatima, a Muslim American determined to transition smoothly from campus life to a stable white-collar professional career. Sebastian’s membership in Model United Nations, though, takes him to college campuses all around North America, testing his commitment to Fatima and his readiness for adulthood. PORTRAIT OF SEBASTIAN KHAN is a humorous coming-of-age novel about a charismatic but emotionally stunted Muslim American Don Draper, who wins as many hearts as he breaks.

Aatif Rashid is a writer living in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in, among other places, The Massachusetts Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Metaphorosis, as well as online on Medium. You can follow him on Twitter (@Aatif_Rashid) and at



KANSASTAN, a novel by Farooq Ahmed

Inspired by the American Civil War, KANSASTAN takes place in a dystopic Kansas that is besieged by its neighboring state, Missouri. Close to the state line, an orphaned Muslim boy lives atop a minaret and is relegated to custodial work by the mosque’s imam while the threat of occupation looms. The boy plots to take over the mosque and then lead the parishioners into war against Missouri, but his plans are upstaged by the arrival of his aunt and cousin. When his cousin is hailed as a new prophet and given command of the mosque, the narrator executes his power grab, for which he is imprisoned by his cousin’s followers as the faithful march on Missouri. Like Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, but inspired by Islamic folklore and Quranic verses, KANSASTAN is a grim and harrowing look at the role of faith in America that is leavened by Ahmed’s singular lyricism.

Raised in the great state of Kansas, Farooq Ahmed is a graduate of the Columbia University Creative Writing Program and of Brown University, where he studied biochemistry. His writing has appeared in the Financial Times, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been lauded by the South Asian Journalists Association. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two children, and a fear of earthquakes. You can follow him on Twitter (@mcfruke).


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THE LIGHT SOURCE, a novel by Kim Magowan

When Heather finds out her best friend Julie is engaged, she becomes enraged. She’s watched Julie cycle through one boyfriend after another since they were boarding school roommates, always refusing to acknowledge Heather’s feelings for her. On the eve of Julie’s wedding, Heather makes sure the marriage doesn’t happen. That’s just the beginning of their two-decade-long on-and-off relationship. Narrated by seven characters, including Heather’s and Julie’s friends, THE LIGHT SOURCE is reminiscent of Meg Wolitzer’s THE POSITION and shows that what’s meant-to-be becomes increasingly complicated with age.

Kim Magowan’s debut short story collection, UNDOING, won the 2017 Moon City Press Short Fiction Award and is forthcoming in March 2018. Her fiction has appeared in Atticus Review, Bird’s Thumb, Cleaver, The Gettysburg Review, Hobart, New World Writing, Word Riot, and other journals. She is the Fiction Editor for Corium Magazine. She lives in San Francisco and teaches in the Department of Literatures and Languages at Mills College. You can follow her on Twitter (@kimmagowan).

The Lit Pub calls PLANET GRIM “an affecting debut that should remind us how we’re all fighting a tough battle.”

“These are characters who are identifiable misfits—maybe our own family members or even ourselves. They are struggling, but they are still fighting. There are issues with drugs, parenthood, childhood, divorce, and death. Even in their most desperate situations, they are still relatable.”

Read the rest of the review here.

Today is PLANET GRIM Day!

Today is the birthday of 7.13’s 2nd book PLANET GRIM, stories by Alex Behr. I could say a lot about it, but I wouldn’t be saying anything that Tom Bissell, Lidia Yuknavitch and others haven’t already said. Her book launch is in Portland tonight at the legendary Powell’s Books in conversation with author Mary Rechner.

Check out the rest of the buzz around PLANET GRIM here. 

Buy the book here!

Buy the book at Amazon!

Barnes & Noble Reads lists Paul Cohen’s novel THE GLAMSHACK in “10 Debut Novels for Your Autumn Reading List”

B&N Reads lists Paul Cohen’s novel THE GLAMSHACK as one of its “10 Debut Novels for your Autumn Reading List” in the company of Rachel Khong, Ayobami Adebayo, and Megan Hunter. About THE GLAMSHACK, B&N Reads writes “…the story fits together like a beautiful puzzle without losing any sense of urgent personal anguish.”

See the rest of the list here.

Lidia Yuknavitch says Alex Behr’s PLANET GRIM is “carved from the guts of us.” Read the full blurb here.

“Alex Behr’s Planet Grim turned me inside out. No, really, these stories of eros and ids getting loose, inner contradictions and desires crashing into each other like marbles, brutal instances of violence up against a moment of tender beauty, the people and lovers and mothers and families in this book are carved from the guts of us. What sits dead center at this hybrid of self and other is, mercifully, an unbeaten heart.”

–Lidia Yuknavitch, the author of THE SMALL BACKS OF CHILDREN and THE BOOK OF JOAN

“Wet,” an excerpt from Alex Behr’s PLANET GRIM is up at Nailed Magazine

“My husband breaks a slat of the bed I grew up in. It’s a mahogany sleigh bed from the 1800s. The headboard is stained with handprint ghosts from our son’s dreams.

My husband sets up our son’s new bed and mattress. He let our son use a box cutter to slice through the shipping cardboard, and it slips into the fake black leather. A small gouge.

Say nothing.

I say something to the boy, the almost-teen, couched as an insult to the husband. He glares at me.

This is uncomfortable.

I go to my office, the third bedroom of the sad house. I have books and fabric scraps. I have dead friendships and active stomach bacteria. Famous people never email back anymore. Was I boring? Don’t answer. Don’t answer.


I have stained teeth and an undeniable love of cheese.

If everything is out in the open I can see it, until there is nothing to see after all. Rectangular shapes and colors. Is it moldy? A closet full of secrets—but why?”

Read the rest at Nailed Magazine.

The Editors at The Rumpus Can’t Wait to Read to PLANET GRIM

“The news, broadly speaking, hasn’t been good since November 8, 2016, and it wasn’t a picnic in the park prior to that fateful Election Day. This week, we’ve decided to eschew current events in favor of giving you some exciting literature to look forward to. (If you want a list for when everyone is talking about healthcare, find last week’s here.)

If a title is marked as a Rumpus Book Club or Poetry Book Club selection, you can receive this book before its release date and participate in an exclusive conversation with its author! Just head to our store and become a member today—and, through August 15, purchase a 6-month Book Club subscription and receive your own signed copy of Roxane Gay’s newest book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body!

What follows is a list of books Rumpus editors can’t wait to read, forthcoming in the next six months. Take a quick break from the apocalyptic news and end your week with this list of books to eagerly anticipate (assuming the world doesn’t end) instead! If you’re feeling especially optimistic, go ahead and preorder yourself a few books, too!”

Read the rest of the list here, which includes Jesmyn Ward, Celeste Ng, Josh Weil, Jennifer Egan, Carmen Maria Machado and our Alex Behr!

Paul Cohen’s The Glamshack Now Available

Our first novel, Paul Cohen’s The Glamshack, is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a bookstore near you. If you prefer to shop indie, call up your local bookstore today and ask them to order a copy.

A few important folks in the book world have been saying some very nice things about Paul’s book. Things like:

“There is a powerful, innate tension in his writing which comes not only from his voice but from his particular way of looking at things, an unusual way, and in art in fiction the only real worlds are likely to be the unusual.”

James Salter

“There is so much to admire in Paul Cohen’s beauty of a first book. It is smart, sexy, wonder-filled, haunting and oh so marvelously, so humanly strange. Here even meat (venison) can be graceful. Here the heart grows hot, the soul burns dark and Desire blows a thousand horns.”

Laird Hunt, author of The Evening Road

“Funny, intense and brilliant, this is a book about love but also about the self’s ability to withstand love. Every sentence is poetic, magnetized, in love with life. The language in this book cuts so close to the heart of experience that it feels very much like life itself–sacred, invincible, beautiful, full of meaning.”

–Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat and Other Stories

“Poignant, sharp writing infused with flashes of brutal humor. Paul Cohen’s The Glamshack cuts to the quandary we all endure: the burden of desire. With a voice distinct and resonating, Cohen casts a sober eye on life and longing, love and failure. He personalizes a universal plight and casts a searing spotlight on the fact that we are all uniquely un-unique that, in the end, we all share the same fate.”

Douglas Light, author of The Trouble with Bliss and Where Night Stops

The Glamshack is that exceptionally rare, uncategorizable novel that not only finds its greatest achievements in its singularity, but also serves as a reminder of how very familiar and commonly un-daring contemporary fiction is in general.”

Josh Kendall, Executive Editor, Little Brown, in letter nominating The Glamshack for a Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award

“In his debut novel, Cohen manages the impressive feat of memorably documenting obsession without surrendering to it.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Cohen is creating new language, finding surprising combinations that are both familiar and wonder-inducing.”

Heavy Feather Review

“With sparse, languorous sentences that nonetheless hold a masterful deep-seated tension throughout,The Glamshack is a look into the interior landscape of a man on the edge of self-discovery, and, even larger, it chronicles the ubiquitous nature of us all.”

Go out and get The Glamshack today!