Jaclyn Watterson and Michael Shou-Yung Shum: Debut Author Tour

Jaclyn Watterson, Ventriloquisms

Jaclyn Watterson is left-handed, vegetarian, and of choleric temperament. She gardens in fair weather on a small balcony and makes her home with the novelist Michael Shou-Yung Shum and several feline companions. Her first book, a collection of fictions entitled Ventriloquisms, is forthcoming from Willow Springs Books in October 2017. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Spectacle, New Delta Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, Birkensnake, The Collagist, and several other venues. Jaclyn holds a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah. 

“Using the conventional language of blurbs to describe Jaclyn Watterson’s collection of stories, Ventriloquisms, is like trying to describe an elephant or giraffe to someone who has only seen cows and horses. So here is the conventional language: beautifully written, unsettling, hilarious, breath-taking, dark, strange. In these short narratives that go off like the diverse finale of a fireworks show, Watterson transmutes pain and loss into bursts of lyricism and surrealism. She uses absurdity to get to the realistic core of violence, family, sexuality, rivalry, oppression, and possessiveness. Watterson is completely unafraid of the visceral, of decay, of violation, of transgressive laughter and of the profane, and with her mastery of diction and seemingly unlimited register, she makes all of those things weirdly sing. The writing and forms are frequently startling, but they are always getting at something profound. This collection takes everything it contains—no matter how thematically familiar—and makes it brand new. If these stories are ventriloquisms, then the voice behind them is masterful.” —Tim Parrish, author of Fear and What Follows and The Jumper





Michael Shou-Yung Shum, Queen of Spades

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Michael Shou-Yung Shum eventually found himself dealing poker in a dead-end casino in Lake Stevens, Washington. Two doctorates bookend this strange turn of events: the first in Psychology from Northwestern, and the second in English from the University of Tennessee. Along the way, Michael spent a dozen years in Chicago, touring the country as a rave DJ, and three years in Corvallis, Oregon, where he received his MFA in Fiction Writing. He currently resides in Astoria, New York, with Jaclyn Watterson and three cats. Queen of Spades is his first novel.

“A magical debut—literally. This tale is both spare and sprawling, gritty and otherworldly, both an homage to the complex psychology of gambling and a cautionary tale for those watching from the rail. A ridiculously satisfying read.” —Jamie Ford, New York Times-bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“Michael Shou-Yung Shum’s Queen of Spades is a remarkable debut by an enormously talented young writer who has produced a literary delight that circles the dead center of a very dangerous pleasure—casino gambling. The novel is a perfectly rendered view of gambling from the inside, the dealers and their overseers in the casinos, hard at work but with vastly different objectives. Some are company men and women, others—and some here in Queen of Spades —not so much. The novel is a lovely and complex gambling fairy tale that twists and turns in intriguing ways on its way to a most satisfying conclusion.” —Frederick Barthelme, author of Bob the Gambler



Please join us in welcoming Jaclyn and Michael for a reading and signing!

Event date: 
Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
5629 Summitview Ave