News · 07/26/2010

Writer In Residence, August 2010

We’re glad to announce that August’s Writer In Residence here at Necessary Fiction will be Matt Briggs. My introduction to Matt’s fiction came with his American Book Award-winning novel Shoot The Buffalo, an outdoor story that avoided the too-familiar villainizing of wild places and instead complicated the romantic, foolish attitudes that allow those places to be blamed for disasters of human making. His fiction is what Christopher Frizzelle calls, “an underhanded and brilliant snub to the way the Northwest has been marketed to us all.”

It isn’t a snub to the Northwest itself, though, because Briggs is a committed regional writer — just not one who reduces “region” to stereotype and clich√©, or pretends that one region and its literary style can stand isolated in a networked, mobile world. As Rebecca Brown writes, “it is this amorphous ‘something else’ seeping through his [fiction] that makes it seem so ‘Northwest’ to me. These are stories about different kinds of misplacement, like the sense you get after you have come west to the end of the country and know there is nowhere further left to go.” He pins down regional, historical, and personal myths like so many moths, letting us examine them slowly and from all sides. He’s called himself, “not an ‘experimental writer’,” but I disagree — his is an ongoing experiment of testing ideas and asking hard questions, if less often an experiment of language.

He’s also a regionalist in his commitment to local, independent publishers and his support of literary venues. It’s with good reason that Heidi Broadhead calls him, “a good book citizen.” He’s a good web citizen, too, and when I took over as editor here I knew right away I’d ask Matt to submit a story — “The Bay” — and I’m excited to have him back as our next Writer In Residence, and to see what he has in store.