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Book Launch Party!

November 16, 2016 — Leave a comment

for The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová! There will be Czech beer, snacks provided by Evil Czech Brewery, and trippy video footage of Prague. Thursday, 11/17/16 at 7pm at Langlab in South Bend, Indiana.


“Parker Ervick has transported me to Prague and shown the blending of fairy tales, history, and cultures laying the groundwork for Kafka’s surrealism (and exported far away, magic realism). With a touch of her magic, Parker Ervick plays with the shrouds of mystery surrounding Božena’s life and origins.”

– Josip Novakovich
author of April Fool’s Day, finalist Man Booker International 2013

I got to spend a few days at West Liberty University last week, giving a reading and lecture, visiting classes, and chatting with students. Thanks especially to Steve Criniti, who invited me, and who organized everything, and who let me sit in on his British Modernism seminar, which happened to be about Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and which happened to be the anniversary of her death (though we didn’t figure that out till later). Also thanks to Peter Staffel and his wife, who toured me around Wheeling, and to WLU’s graphic design student Corrine Martin, who created this awesome flyer with Fallingwater perched on a book:


I met all sorts of great faculty and students, but unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of people. Instead, here are a few views from the road. A strange combo of urban and rural along the Ohio River. I kept singing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”: Almost heaven, West Virginia…

I received this email today. Yay! My book Liliane’s Balcony is now available in e-book and regular-book form. All the details are in the message below, including my crazy tour schedule that I have to juggle with my teaching schedule. (Are you in Iowa, Chicago, Baltimore, DC, or Pittsburgh? Can we meet for a drink?)

I love that Rose Metal Press chose to donate 5% of sales in the first two weeks to the preservation of Fallingwater.
Dear Friends, Subscribers, and Supporters of Rose Metal Press:
It’s here! Our fall release, Liliane’s Balcony: A Novella of Fallingwater by Kelcey Parker, is now available for order! Information and all details about the book can be found here. Preorders are on their way! We are so pleased to bring you this innovative novella-in-flash that, among other things, highlights the beauty and complexity of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater and the family who built it.
In honor of the Fallingwater setting, between October 1 and October 15, we are donating 5% of all sales through our website to the preservation of Fallingwater. Order here to contribute to this unique American treasure.
Liliane’s Balcony is already garnering positive reviews and attention. Look for upcoming reviews in Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly as well as coverage in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Rumpus. You can read a new excerpt of the book up on Talking Writing today!
Liliane’s Balcony is also available in e-book format for Kindle and Nook. Bookstore and library orders for print copies can be made through Small Press Distribution.
Caitlin Horrocks writes of the novella: “Liliane’s Balcony is as layered and audacious as the house at the center of the novella. Parker dances effortlessly between present and past, fact and fiction, nature and interior, lovers and out-of-lovers. The story that emerges is moving and precariously beautiful: a book that in lesser hands might have come toppling down. In Parker’s, it’s a triumph.” 
Liliane’s Balcony also features Fran Forman’s artwork on the cover and Heather Butterfield’s cover and book design.
Rose Metal Press Subscribers at the $100 level or more will be receiving their copies of Liliane’s Balcony the week of the launch. There’s still time to SUBSCRIBE to Rose Metal Press for 2013 and support our mission and the work we do while also receiving your copies of our books first. If you subscribe now, you’ll get a copy of our first two 2013 books, as well as Liliane’s Balcony.
Kelcey will be reading from Liliane’s Balcony at events around the Midwest and East Coast this fall. Be sure to come out to events near you to hear Kelcey read and get your copy of the book signed! Events are listed on our News page and also below:
Tuesday, October 15
Kelcey Parker reading from Liliane’s Balcony at Prairie Lights at 7:00 pm
Free and open to the publicPrairie Lights
15 South Dubuque St.
Iowa City, Iowa
Wednesday, October 16
Kelcey Parker reading from Liliane’s Balcony for the Local Author Night Series at 7:00 pm
Free and open to the publicThe Book Cellar
4736 North Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, Illinois
Friday, October 18
Kelcey Parker reading from Liliane’s Balcony at the Black Squirrel at 7:00 pm. Event co-hosted by Rose Metal Press and Barrelhouse Books. With Dan Brady, Lee Klein, and Caryn Lazzuri
Free and open to the publicThe Black Squirrel
2427 18th St. NW
Washington, D.C.
Saturday, October 19
Kelcey Parker reading from Liliane’s Balcony in the 510 Reading Series at 5:00 pm
Free and open to the public510 Reading Series
Minás Gallery
815 W. 36th St.
Baltimore, Maryland
Thursday, November 21
Kelcey Parker reading from Liliane’s Balcony in The New Yinzer Reading Series at 7:00 pm
Free and open to the publicThe New Yinzer Reading Series
Modern Formations
4019 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Saturday, November 23
Kelcey Parker reading from Liliane’s Balcony at East End Book Exchange at 7:00 pm
Free and open to the publicEast End Book Exchange
4754 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1. Let’s get straight to it. The number one highlight of the Southern Kentucky Book Fest was this:


That’s right, I got to hang out with two of my favorite people and authors: Molly McCaffrey (left) and David Bell (right).

2. And I might have gotten to meet this guy:

(He’s standing next to the tall girl in red above. The tall girl makes everyone look shorter than they are. The tall girl apologizes to The Fonz.)

Seriously, Henry Winkler was super friendly and charming. He hugged my friend Molly and told her how much he loves her personality. We bonded over New York / New Jersey connections.

3. I met three overeducated country boys who brew some damn fine IPA over at Country Boy Brewing:


(Seriously, these guys make great beer, and they majored in things like English and History. They have Master’s Degrees! Yes.)

4. I was assigned an awesome boothmate: Sharon Short

downloadSharon’s new book is My One Square Inch of Alaska, and I’m excited to read my new copy! She also agreed to participate in my interview series, so more about Sharon to come…


5. Dinner and gossip with the amazing Eric Goodman and Lee Martin, authors of these awesome books that I just bought:


I sold some books! My attention has been on my forthcoming book, Liliane’s Balcony, due out in the fall, so it was great to talk to people about For Sale By Owner again.

As I drove home I passed a trucker who honked at me. This has not happened to me for years, so I looked in my rearview mirror and saw that he was holding up a sign in his front window that said, “M O M.” I thought, “Geez, how did you know? Is it that obvious?” But when I glanced back again, he had turned the sign over. It now said: “W O W.”
(Oh my!)

As 11,000 U.S. writers (including me!) head to Boston for the annual AWP Conference,
here’s an excellent reminder of what’s going on in the rest of the world.
Many thanks to Cila Warncke for this guest post.

sign outside the festival

Guest post by Cila Warncke

Sometimes you have to go halfway around the world to appreciate what you have at home. Attending the Irrawaddy Literary Festival in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Burma) reminded me that literature demands not just inspiration but also political, psychological and economic freedom.

Myanmar has endured almost 50 years of repressive dictatorship, complete with pre-publication censorship. Foreign journalists were barred and native writers faced prison if they angered the military regime. The country has opened up considerably since democratic elections in 2010 and in late 2012 the government ended censorship. It officially disbanded the censor board in January 2013, just a week before the festival began.

Among the many international and Myanmar writers gathered to enjoy this new political freedom was Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans, a memoir of three generations of women’s lives in China. It is hard to imagine the formidable, charming Chang an exiled teenager doing peasant labour, but that was her fate after her parents, ranking members of the Communist party, fell out of favour.

In crisp sentences she spoke of her father being forced to burn his beloved library and her mother suffering public denunciations. She told of flushing her first poem down the toilet during a police raid on their house, and joked about the hazards of working as a self-taught electrician.

Despite her tormented adolescence Chang’s story has a happy ending. She was intelligent, young, and strong enough to hope. When the revolutionary fervor cooled and universities reopened Chang was able to study English. Eventually she won a scholarship to Britain, earned a PhD, married, and made a life there.

None of that would have been possible without the easing of Mao’s terrible repression, but political freedom was only the beginning. For many years Chang told people she was from South Korea because her memories of China were too painful to discuss. It was more than a decade before she began the conversations with her mother that became the basis of Wild Swans.

Giles Fitzherbert and Jung Chang

The success of Wild Swans, which has sold over 13 million copies, gave her the means to spend 10 years on her next book, a biography of Mao co-authored with her husband Jon Halliday. Financial freedom is as critical today as when Virginia Woolf made her pithy argument about a room of one’s own in 1929. Money can be a major obstacle creative work and, as with political and psychological freedom, there is no simple solution. It would be lovely if we could all write international bestsellers but the reality is that writers often work two shifts or learn to live with less.

As writers we may never enjoy perfect freedom but, as the Irrawaddy Literary Festival showed, we can always learn from each other’s experiences and find inspiration in our struggles.

Cila Warncke is a freelance writer and editor. You can contact her on or via her website

View more about the Irrawaddy Literary Festival by Cila Warncke here:

I went to Des Moines, Iowa last week to give a reading at Drake University for the Writer’s Harvest Writers + Critics + Artists Event, at the Wesley House Gallery. I think it was my first time actually going to the state of Iowa. I know I’ve been through it (how else would I have made it from Cincinnati to Nebraska or Minnesota for my teenage soccer tournaments?), but I don’t think I’ve ever actually stopped and looked around.

I can now officially say that I am a huge fan of Des Moines, of Iowa, and of Drake University and all its wonderful people!

sculpture park in downtown des moines

I’m also a major a fan of the food (I had sushi for lunch and scalloped yumminess for dinner) and the Belgian beer. I sampled pretty much all the different varieties of Belgian beer while mustachioed Shakespeare watched over me.

In between eating and drinking, I did do some reading:

I’m the tall one.

Many thanks to Jennifer Perrine, Amy Letter, Kelsey Leppard, the Belgian Beer bartender, and everyone else who made my visit so fun!

This will not be my last trip to Iowa, as it is home of my favorite Pickers:

I’m giving two readings in two states in 21 hours. Tonight I’m giving a reading hosted by the South Bend branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and tomorrow I go back to my alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, for a reading in the Elliston Poetry Room, where I have had the pleasure of attending readings by so many amazing writers.



Fiction Reading: Kelcey Parker

Friday, April 13 at 4:00 p.m.

Elliston Poetry Room, 646 Langsam Library

It’s a terrific week for literature in South Bend, Indiana. St. Mary’s College is celebrating National Library Week and had a full a week of readings by students, by their amazing professor Frances Hwang, and even by me. I gave a reading there on Wednesday, up on the top floor of the library, overlooking several floors of books and with a picture window view of the bell tower.

A few of my students, and rows and rows of St. Mary’s students were there. I read a story about Mermaid wishes. Someone asked me why I write. I stumbled my way through an answer. Something about life and its amorphous chaos, something about wanting to give shape via language. Mostly I said how cool an answer to that question could be if one could articulate it. When I left, the librarian Bob Hall gave me a potted hyacinth.

On Tuesday I visited Steve Tomasula’s class at Notre Dame, and we talked at Legends sports bar over chicken quesadillas about carving out a life of writing via academia – ph.d. programs, teaching jobs, etc. The students asked great questions and gave me ideas for future posts, things people might want to read about on a blog called phdincreativewriting.

Thanks to all of my wonderful hosts – especially Frances Hwang and Steve Tomasula – this week!


There’s even more great literarity this weekend in South Bend:

Friday 4/15:
24-hour Poetry Marathon at South Bend’s Art Post! Many IUSB writers will be reading. Check the schedule here.

Saturday 4/16:
IUSB English Department’s Student Writing Awards featuring novelist Joyce Hinnefeld
Release of the 2011 ANALECTA!
4:00-4:45 Q&A with Joyce Hinnefeld in Wiekamp Hall, Room 3001
7:00 p.m. Awards & Reading in Wiekamp Hall 1001
8:30 p.m. Reception & Book Signing, Wiekamp Hall 3001

All events are free and open to the public

Sunday 4/17:
2:30 p.m. Analecta Reading @ Fiddler’s Hearth


April 7, 2011 — 6 Comments

I wrote a story about your husband. Or, about a book about your husband. About a book called Biography of Your Husband. Which is also the title of the story. Which is told in the form of jacket copy for the book. Which doesn’t actually exist. But the story does. Does your husband exist? I don’t know. The author would say so. Not me, but Jane Smitten. Who may not exist. Does the story exist? Yes. Does the book exist? Here’s what it looks like:

It must exist, right?


Link to story at Sycamore Review.

Thanks to super-designer, Molly McCaffrey. She made 25 copies of this gorgeous broadside and gave them away at my reading at Western Kentucky University last week.

And thanks to René Magritte, whose paintings are used more or less legally.

Only in Kentucky

On Thursday I gave a reading at Western Kentucky University, where I was hosted by David Bell and Molly McCaffrey and warmly welcomed by their students and colleagues. Dave was going to introduce me as a “Lady of Culture and Grace,” per the plaque on the wall (& above), but he was too busy saying other very nice things and celebrating the 9th inning of the Reds’ Opening Day.

I met David and Molly on the very first day of our grad school orientation for teaching composition (which is as close to “the trenches” as I ever hope to come). And we’ve made our way through the ups and downs of the writing life more or less together ever since. They were kind enough to include my story “When to Hold” in their excellent edited collection, Commutability, about our journeys from here to there.

And now I’m thrilled to say that David’s novel Cemetery Girl will be published in October. It’s the first of a two-book deal with Penguin/NAL, and I got to hear all about its sale – a story that is probably almost as thrilling as the novel itself. And if that’s not enough, Molly’s story collection How to Survive Graduate School and Other Disasters will be published next month by Main Street Rag Press. (Preorder now!) I, for one, could not have survived graduate school without them.

Here are some pictures from the reading with cameos by Dale Rigby and students Megan, Brittany, Andrew, Jesse, David, and more! Thanks to everyone at WKU – I had a great time.

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Molly also made a gorgeous broadside of one of my stories, which I’ll feature in a separate post…