Charles Blackstone

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Charles Blackstone
Charles Blackstone writer.jpg
Born (1977-03-21) March 21, 1977 (age 42)
Chicago, Illinois
OccupationNovelist, editor
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
University of Colorado
GenreAutobiographical fiction
Experimental fiction
Notable worksVintage Attraction (2013)
Alpana Singh
(m. 2006; div. 2014)

Charles Blackstone (born March 21, 1977)[1] is an American writer and managing editor of literary website Bookslut. His most recent novel is the semi-autobiographical Vintage Attraction (2013).

Early life[edit]

Blackstone was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.[1] He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago[2] and earned a master's degree from the University of Colorado creative writing program in 2003,[3] where he received the Barker Award for Fiction in 2001.[4]


Early work[edit]

Blackstone's first novel was the avant-garde The Week You Weren't Here (2005), set in Chicago in the spring of 2001.[5] Using experimental prose, the story follows Hunter Flanagan on his search for true love.[6] Next, he collaborated with Jill Talbot as co-editors of the experimental anthology The Art of Friction: Where (Non)Fictions Come Together (2008),[7] a collection exploring the creative differences between fiction and nonfiction.[8] His stories have been published in literary journals including Bridge, Evergreen Review and The Journal of Experimental Fiction.[5] His short story "Before" was published in Esquire in March 2008 as part of the magazine's Napkin Fiction series.[9]

Vintage Attraction[edit]

Set in Chicago and Greece, Blackstone's semi-autobiographical second novel Vintage Attraction is a depiction of the academia, celebrity and fine wine culture.[2] The novel is inspired by his courtship of Alpana Singh, a master sommelier and TV show host whom he would later marry. The character Peter Hapworth, a lonely 30-something adjunct creative writing professor, is based on Blackstone, and Isabelle "Izzy" Conway, who hosts a wine-tasting program, is based on Singh.[10][11][12] The novel took Blackstone four years to write.[13]

Writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Sabra Embry said that Vintage Attraction's fantasy vs. reality love story was poignant.[14] Reviewing for the Chicago Reader Aimee Levitt described the book as awkwardly written, and the protagonist as unsympathetic.[15] Gapers Block reviewer Ines Bellina praised the descriptions of wine, food, and local Chicago landmarks, but called the plot dull.[16] Michael Lindgren of the Washington Post called the book "a slapdash, irritating affair."[17]

Other projects[edit]

In 2010 Blackstone began serving as managing editor of Bookslut, a literary website founded by Jessa Crispin in 2002.[10][18] He has worked with writers and served as an editor for the site's monthly reviews.[10]

Blackstone teaches writing at the Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York City, where he lives.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Blackstone married sommelier and restaurant critic Alpana Singh in 2006.[8][10][20] The couple divorced in 2014.[21]




  • The Week You Weren't Here (2005, Low Fidelity Press)
  • Vintage Attraction (2013, Pegasus)



  • The & Now Awards: The Best Innovative Writing, "Before" (2009, Lake Forest College Press); originally appeared in Esquire, March 2008


  1. ^ a b Kevin Frazier, "Wine and Bellow: An Interview with Charles Blackstone," Open Letters Monthly, Fall 2013.
  2. ^ a b Kelli Christiansen, "We'll Drink to That," Chicago Book Review, October 11, 2013.
  3. ^ "Class Notes – March 2013," Archived December 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Coloradan Magazine, March 1, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Vintage Attraction with Charles Blackstone," Accessed December 20, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Jill Talbot, "An interview with Charles Blackstone," Word Riot. Accessed December 16, 2013.
  6. ^ Valerie MacEwan, "The Week You Weren't Here by Charles Blackstone," PopMatters, January 20, 2004.
  7. ^ Sabra Embury, "Expedient Pairings: On Charles Blackstone's 'Vintage Attraction'," Los Angeles Review of Books, October 30, 2013.
  8. ^ a b J. Ryan Stradal, "The Sunday Rumpus Interview: Charles Blackstone," The Rumpus, October 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Charles Blackstone, "Before," Esquire, March 13, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d Kevin Nance, "Courting Alpana Singh inspires Charles Blackstone's 'Vintage Attraction'," Chicago Tribune, November 3, 2013.
  11. ^ Kim Hubbard, "What We're Reading This Weekend: Brand New Fiction," People, October 4, 2013.
  12. ^ Michael Lindgren, "New novels by David Leavitt, Charles Blackstone and Steve Yarbrough," Washington Post, November 21, 2013.
  13. ^ Naomi Huffman, "Some Enchanted Sommelier: Pugs, Wine and Writing with 'Vintage Attraction' Author Charles Blackstone," Newcity, December 13, 2013.
  14. ^ Embury, Sabra (30 October 2013). "Expedient Pairings: On Charles Blackstone's "Vintage Attraction"". L.A. Review of Books. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  15. ^ Levitt, Aimee (21 October 2013). "In Vintage Attraction, Charles Blackstone shoots a blanc". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  16. ^ Bellina, Ines (28 January 2014). "Book Review: Vintage Attraction by Charles Blackstone". Gapers Block. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  17. ^ Lindgren, Michael (21 November 2013). "New romance novels by David Leavitt, Charles Blackstone and Steve Yarbrough". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  18. ^ Gina Frangello, "New Directions in Publishing: Charles Blackstone,", April 13, 2012.
  19. ^ "Bio". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  20. ^ Nicholas Day, "Alpana's Revenge," Chicago Reader, October 12, 2006.
  21. ^ Dan Klefstad, "In Vino Veritas? Novel About Wine And Marriage Blends Reality, Fantasy," Northern Public Radio, February 23, 2015.
  22. ^ Greg Baldino, Ella Christoph, Brian Hieggelke, Naomi Huffman and Micah McCrary, "Lit 50: Who Really Books in Chicago 2012," Newcity, June 7, 2012.
  23. ^ Brian Hieggelke and Naomi Huffman, "Lit 50: Who Really Books in Chicago 2013," Newcity, June 6, 2013.

External links[edit]