Comments about the website? Or about my work? Interested in having me visit your library, college class, or book club (in person or by Skype or conference call)? Please send me an email, or leave a message below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Clifford Garstang (NOTE: this address will NOT accept attachments)


17 Replies to “Contact”

  1. New Yorker fiction reviews.

    I enjoy reading your reviews very much. About half the time, I broadly agree with your take on the story. [I think it’s conventional to complete a sentence like the former by saying something like “and half the time I disagree..” but don’t you think it’s kind of redundant?]

    What puzzles me somewhat, though, is that the authors of the New Yorker pieces never seem to enter the discussions.

    Why is this? Do they not know about your blog?
    It would make the discussions even more interesting for everyone, both readers and writers, and the audience for your blog is probably quite large.

    Thank you,

    Paul Epstein

  2. Thanks, Paul. I have occasionally heard from authors of NYer stories, but it’s rare. And I never hear from the “big name” authors. I imagine that most think it’s unseemly to participate in discussions like this, where they might be put in a position of having to explain themselves or, worse, defend their work. Authors generally avoid both. If there’s ever a story by someone I know personally, I’ll invite him/her to participate.

    1. Thanks for your answer.

      They don’t want to explain themselves or defend their work, but they’re happy to demand that their creative-writing students do so!

      I often email authors with feedback on their stories, and I nearly always get nice replies.


  3. Change in New Yorker blog.

    I noticed a somewhat recent change to your blog. It used to be the case (perhaps 1-2 years ago) that when readers gave their critiques of the New Yorker fiction, you would give your own critique of the reader’s critique of the fiction.

    However, you’ve changed this policy, I think; it seems that you rarely respond when readers add to your blog by critiquing the fiction. Is this because you’re busier than you used to be, or because you now believe readers’ voices should now stand more independently, or did this change happen without you consciously intending it, or is there some other reason I’m missing?


    Paul Epstein

    1. Combination, maybe. Unconsciously, but I’m busy, and I haven’t seen much to disagree with, I guess. People are entitled to their own opinions. Plus I’ve been engaged in political arguing all year; it’s possible I’m tired of arguing!

  4. I disagree with your critique of the story by William Trevor….THE WOMEN….I enjoyed it and I have read many stories about unwed mothers and wed mothers who are involved in the adoption process…I too was involved in the process in a different way….a wonderful way….the story brought many aspects to light in a very interesting way…..

  5. Thank you so much for your insight. I usually enjoy William Trevor but I completely agree with you. This story somehow missed the mark. I honestly couldn’t understand it. The emotions or lack therof seemed totally “off.” Odd.

  6. Loved your two books and your presentations at the HRW conference in Virginia Beach this past September.

    My writer’s group has a question in regards to the 53 word
    contest for October. Do contractions of words, such as they’re, we’re count as one or two words?

    Thanks much!

    1. Hi! I think a contraction counts as one word. If you use the handy app (see the submission page) that will count the words for you. I hope you all enter!

  7. Thanks much. Will pass the word along about your answer.
    I know of two who will be submitting. Will do my best to get
    more to enter. However, as you know, this is a busy season.

    Best regards,

  8. I went out and bought your book What the Zhang Boys Know after I heard you speak in Richmond at the James River Writers’ Conference Luncheon in Oct. I loved your book and enjoyed getting to know all the characters living in the condo.
    I have written a novel in stories. The protagonist, Robert, is in every story, his the girlfriends change from story to story. I am not sure if I should send one story at a time to a publication or try sending a query letter to an agent about the whole collection. Any suggestions you have to give me will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Carolyn, thanks so much for reading the book! You can take both approaches simultaneously. When Zhang Boys was picked up by an agent, I had placed a couple of the stories in magazines. Byh the time it was published, 9 of the 12 had appeared in magazines. Best of luck!

  9. I edited the non-fiction content of the Pushcart Prize for eighteen years and also edited the collection of the best of the Pushcart essays from the first 25 years; that came out in 2002. I’ve been away from Pushcart for a while but am fascinated by your ranking. We annually had submissions of about 3-400 essays from all kinds of sources and I always looked for something fresh from someplace different, but they were hard to find. It amazed me every year how much of it was just plain bad. Anyway, your list includes a lot more journals than I remembered that weren’t well-known, or among the top twenty, and I’m pleased to see that I found more work in obscure places than I thought I had. So: my thanks for that.

  10. Thanks for your reply. The two stories I have ready to send to magazines are both humous love stories. Any suggestions as to which magazine I should approach for publication? I plan to include 12 stories in a book with the title LOVE STORIES, a novel in stories. Thanks again for your imput, Carolyn

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