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
NationalityAmerican
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
University of Colorado
Period2003–present
GenreAutobiographical fiction
Experimental fiction
Notable worksVintage Attraction (2013)
Spouse
Alpana Singh
(m. 2006; div. 2014)
Website
www.charlesblackstone.com

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]

Career[edit]

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]

Honors[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Fiction[edit]

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

Nonfiction[edit]

Collections[edit]

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

References[edit]

  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," citylitbooks.com. 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," thenervousbreakdown.com, April 13, 2012.
  19. ^ "Bio". CharlesBlackstone.com. 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]