Kendra Fortmeyer

2017: a retrospective

Wiser people than me have spoken out about the value of self-promotion and celebrating your work. In the midst of a year where many of us felt less like we were writing than like we were simply surviving one page to the next, this feels especially important. We made it through. We lost heroes. We did not experience this year so much as endured it. But we found a way, still, to make art – to rise every day in an atmosphere of ugliness and terror and keep hammering away at the painful things that matter. Continue reading.

Deal announcement: HITM coming to America in fall 2018

I’m absolutely thrilled to share that HOLE IN THE MIDDLE has found a US/Canada home with Soho Teen! I’m delighted to be working with editor Dan Ehrenhaft to bring this weird, wonderful little book to my home shores. Coming to America in hardcover and audiobook in fall 2018.

Author profile:

In addition to surprising me with a hole-foods-themed book launch party (doughnuts! fudge rings! gummy “book” worms!), my heart-explodingly wonderful coworkers put together this story about my childhood determination to be an author, the truly weird origin story of HOLE IN THE MIDDLE and the process of writing a novel. Biggest and brightest thanks to writer Taryn Franklin and photographer/designer Ruth Silva, who are better than this world deserves. Read the story here.

What to read when you are a girl in this garbage fire world

On the eve of my book release, Lyz Lenz at The Rumpus was kind enough to let firecracker teen librarian Gretchen Alice and me put together a reading list of books for/by young women who are using their voices to fight back in a pussy-grabbing world. Girls, your voice matters – now speak (and read!) out. Check out the list here.

From short story to novel: the HOLE story

My debut novel is here! I shared an essay on UK blog Krafti Reads about its journey from short story to novel, and the challenge that comes – for art and humans – with occupying an uncategorizable space. Read the essay here, and check out the book on Amazon.

Smashing the patriarchy with YA literature: an interview with the Jewish Women's Archive

The JWA’s Emily Cataneo and I dug into the potential of YA literature to smash the patriarchy! Also discussed: the power of minority representation, tips for young feminists, and the ways we teach girls their bodies are flawed and all the ways that’s damaging. Read the interview here, and check out Emily’s beautiful, dark and dreamy stories here.

How writing a novel is like trying to carry an armload of spaghetti up the stairs: an interview with FLAPPERHOUSE

In advance of the publication of my debut novel, I talked with FLAPPERHOUSE’s Maria Pinto about discovering characters, wanting to back-up dance for Of Montreal, and how writing a novel is like trying to carry an armload of spaghetti up the stairs. Read the interview here, and preorder the novel here.

Fiction can destroy rape culture: an interview with Lightspeed

This summer I published a gender horror story called “Octopus vs. Bear” with Lightspeed Magazine. This was the first story I wrote at Clarion. Elements of it had been bouncing around in my head for a while—the strange, sticky trap of the patriarchal bargain that makes being female-bodied in public a dual pleasure and liability; frustrating conversations with well-meaning but misunderstanding male friends; a growing fatigue with rape culture and street harassment—problems that I wanted to solve, and in doing so, rid them of their ability to trouble me.

HOLE IN THE MIDDLE now available to preorder

This is getting real: my first novel is now available to preorder on Amazon. Buy a copy for someone you love! Or for someone you hate, if they are unnerved by fierce girls and body positivity and metaphors disguised as doughnuts.

Leaping across the genre divide: work forthcoming in Lightspeed, Apex, PodCastle

Clarion was a whirlwind and has opened my mind in one million directions. I’ve always haunted best the strange middle spaces between magic and reality, and after six weeks of intensive speculative fiction reading and writing with some of the world’s greatest minds, I’m delighted to start sending weirder pieces out into the world. This spring, look for new original fiction in Lightspeed and Apex, and a reprint of “Asymmetry” in PodCastle.

Update: HOLE IN THE MIDDLE cover and release date!

Wondrous news: my debut novel has a cover, and I love it. It feels free-wheeling, as contemporary and strange and indie and somehow collapsing-in-on-itself as the novel and its protagonist. These are the things, dear ones, that keep us up at night: a deep and thrilling joy.

See the full cover and (kindly) add it to your to-read list on Goodreads.

HOLE IN THE MIDDLE will be released on July 7, 2017. Preorder information forthcoming!

Emotional truth with the volume turned up -- guest editor interview at Smokelong Quarterly

I had the opportunity to guest-edit Smokelong Quarterly this fall. In addition to publishing Emily Cataneo’s gorgeous flash story “The Enchantment”, I spoke with editor Megan Giddings about mythology, the power of magical realism, and my upcoming novel. Read the interview here.

Debut novel, HOLE IN THE MIDDLE, forthcoming from Little, Brown

In the midst of the sleepless and wondrous lifestorm that is the Clarion SFF workshop, I’m elated to share that my debut novel has found a home with Atom Books, an fabulous imprint of Little, Brown UK! Look for it in summer of 2017. A short pitch of the book can be found here.

'Things I Know To Be True' selected for Best American Nonrequired Reading

Published by One Story in the summer of 2015, this Pushcart Prize-winning story explores the life and mind of a Vietnam veteran whose PTSD and complex relationship with language mire him in a world of uncertain fictions. The piece will be reprinted in the 2016 Best American Nonrequired Reading, at which point the author will spontaneously combust from happiness.

'Things I Know To Be True' Wins 2017 Pushcart Prize

Published by One Story in the summer of 2015, this story explores the life and mind of a Vietnam veteran whose PTSD and complex relationship with language mire him in a world of uncertain fictions.

Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop

I’m immensely excited to share that I’ve been invited to attend the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop in San Diego, where I’ll learn about the art of genre-writing from masters of the form Kelly Link, Ted Chiang, Andy Duncan, Victor LaValle, Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner.

School Library Practicum: a Semester as a Student Librarian at Casis Elementary

My capstone project at the School of Information was a 160-hour, semester-long practicum in an elementary school library. All of my past work had been with teenagers–I had never done a storytime, didn’t know the names of any picture book illustrators, and felt (frankly) embarrassed singing in public. I was unbelievably lucky to land under the wise wing of Barbara Nichols at Casis Elementary, who took me by the hand and immersed me in the wonderful world of children’s librarianship.

Austin Public Library: Connected Youth

During my final year of graduate school, I worked as a Connected Youth intern with the Austin Public Library, facilitating technology and craft programs for users aged 8-18 in libraries across the city. This year granted me an appreciation of the real-world experience of being a public youth librarian as I helped kids with homework and Minecraft, made friendship bracelets and perler beads and shrinky dinks, ran Lego labs and video game freeplay events, performed readers’ advisory, and more.

Focus on Fiction: Editorial Interview

An interview with writing blogger Nancy Christie and Broad’s founding editor Heather Lefebvre about the woes and wonders of writing short fiction, and what it means to run a magazine that exclusively publishes women, trans* and genderqueer writers.

Something Cute: a Database of Cute Animal Videos

The final project for my Database Management was to create, in a group, a functioning database on a subject of our choice. Deciding to select a topic that would keep us engaged, our group chose to create a database of cute animal videos that users could search by animal and video length.

Smoke and Mirrors: an Interview with Smokelong Quarterly

A conversation with Smokelong Quarterly’s Ariana Calvo about the quiet desperation of hipsterdom, iPhone culture, and the tenuous “you” of second-person short fiction.

Video: SXSW I Scream Social Reading at Malvern Books

I had the opportunity to read in the I Scream Social series at the wonderful, independent shop Malvern Books in Austin, Texas during South by Southwest. It was ominously stormy and gorgeous, and there was free ice cream, and the hosts shot this video of me reading a fabulist flash fiction about breasts and “Leonardo or Lenin or Princess Diana,” a short story about dead pets, social anxiety, and the strange, small homes of miracles.

Podcast: Unknown Words with Matthew Anderson

An interview and story hour with the deeply talented Matthew Anderson, who reads “The Week of Small Apocalypses,” “Three and Half Billion Chances,” and “Things We Believed When We Were Small,” and graciously lets me ramble about writing, magical realism, and the regional rivalry between North and South Carolina.

Volunteer Archivism: the Freddie Dixon Collection at the Austin History Center

In the fall of 2015 I processed, with a partner, an archival collection about Dr. Freddie B. Dixon, an east Austin civil rights leader and influential African American reverend in the Methodist church from the late 1960s to the present. Over the course of several months, we inventoried Dr. Dixon’s personal papers, applied preservation intervention when needed, and created a curated, arranged collection that made Reverend Dixon’s life and work available to researchers and community members.

Chapbook Review: West to West

A gorgeous review by writer Tabitha Blankenbiller of The Girl Who Could Only Say ‘sex, drugs, and rock & roll’: “Open me up, the hand-sewn ivory cover beckoned. You’ll only be a minute.”

Mr. Bear's Violet Hour Saloon

The lovely and talented poet-human Georgia Bellas (with the help of her famous stuffed bear) reads aloud a handful of my stranger, sadder love stories: Things We Believed When We Were Small, The Monster Under Your Bed, Asymmetry, and Three and a Half Billion Chances.

Chapbook Launch: The Girl Who Could Only Say 'sex, drugs and rock & roll'

I have a wee magical realist chapbook and it is now in the world. “The Girl Who Could Only Say ‘sex, drugs, and rock & roll’” is a queer, magical love story about the hazy dreamworld of adolescence and the ways language reveals–and constrains–us. Palm-sized and beautifully handbound by independent Austin-based publisher Awst Press.

Interview with Awst Press

In which I talk with the wonderfully named Liz Blood about my new chapbook, The Girl Who Could Only Say ‘sex, drugs, and rock & roll’; strange fiction; and the creepiness of being in love.

The Skybrary: A School Library on a Shoestring Budget

In the summer of 2015, I created a school library at Skybridge Academy, a private school in Austin. With some donated shelves, an ambitious spreadsheet and a $500 budget, I undertook collection development, thrify acquisition, and processing for an up-to-date, relevant library for students grades 6-12.

Interview with The Butter

A conversation with the brilliant, dynamic writer Lesley Arimah about magical realism, mothers and mermaids.

Interview with One Story

A Q&A about Things I Know To Be True, a story about mental illness and a veteran finding solace in books.

Chatting with Broad!

An incredibly fun interview I conducted(!) for Broad! with talented writers Heather Lefebvre, Elise R., Kate Jonuska, and Julia Evans about sexbots.

Real Girls, Real Bodies: a Library Program for Teen and Preteen Girls

As a teacher, a youth librarian, and the editor of a magazine founded to promote the work of female and genderqueer writers, the empowerment of young women is a matter of vital importance to me. In the spring of 2014, I developed a program called REAL GIRLS, REAL BODIES for a Young Adult Materials class at the University of Texas’ School of Information.