NEWS & PRESS

April 2015
HIGHLIGHTS: Noted in the New Yorker
“By his count, he has sent more than thirty students to graduate schools, including Julia Fierro, whose first novel, ‘Cutting Teeth,’ came out last year, and Josh Rolnick, whose debut short-story collection, ‘Pulp and Paper,’ won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award in 2011.”

May 2013
INTERVIEW: Glimmer Train
“At dinner with my wife that night before the show, I wrote the names of the stories on a paper napkin, four under New Jersey, four under New York, and, for the first time, I thought: this is it; I have a structure. Of course, it didn’t hurt that my wife, who is my best reader and most trusted critic–she sometimes seems to know me and my work better than I do–thought so too.”

April 12, 2013
NEWS: Rolnick a Featured Panelist at Ohio Author Day
“Reference librarian Kathy Jones, who organizes the event with Jody Delamatre, said more authors sought to be a part of the growing event but the library reached its physical limit, with the authors filling meeting spaces and the rotunda.”

March 4, 2013
NEWS: Audible Highlights P&P Audiobook
“It’s hard to believe my short story collection, ‘Pulp and Paper,’ has been out for more than a year — and even harder to believe the audiobook has just been released! Those of you who like to listen to books when you drive, or jog, or workout, or build fences … please consider downloading the audio recording.”

March 1, 2013
INTERVIEW: Bloom
“The biggest thing I had to learn as a writer is that characters can change—adversaries can come together—but it has to be subtle. It almost has to be sensed by the reader as a possibility. You can write about hope, but not by writing about someone hopeful. The best way to get at renewal is obliquely. Unless you’re Bruce Springsteen, you can’t spoon-feed redemption.”

Feb. 25, 2013
Bloom: “Connections in Space and Time: The Stories of Josh Rolnick”
“It is sometimes said of ‘regional’ schools of writing that setting is its own character in the work. Think of the South of Ron Rash, or the West of Annie Proulx. Rolnick has a different approach. Setting is not a character; it is something revealed by his characters. Place—that powerful source for the author—takes its contours through the eyes of the people in his stories. We see the horizon as they see it, the country they walk only matters because they walk it.”

Feb. 14, 2013
NEWS: “Pulp and Paper” Audiobook Released
“I was thrilled to note that my narration of Josh Rolnick’s gorgeous, prize-winning collection of short stories, Pulp and Paper, has been featured as staff pick on the Audible home page for the last couple of weeks. In celebration of this honor, and to help spread the word about this wonderful, independently-produced audiobook, I am giving away two copies in digital download format from Audible.”

November, 2012
INTERVIEW: The Rubbertop Review
“It’s great to be mad at a character. That’s a good thing. It’s great to be rooting for or against a character, but it’s bad to be feeling like, Oh, this author’s trying to hit me over the head with a cudgel.”

August 24, 2012
WRITING: ‘What a Day For an Auto-Da-Fe’
There are hooks, and then there is the first sentence of Theodore Ross’s new book, “Am I a Jew?” which grabs you by the lapels and makes you instantly uncomfortable and intensely curious, all at once.
“I was nine years old,” Ross writes, “when my mother forced me to convert to Christianity.”

July 13, 2012
NEWS: Writer-in-residence to speak on how fiction inspires
“Writers don’t write to see themselves in print,” Rolnick said. “They write, ultimately, to commit an effect on people, to move them, to reach them.”

March, 2012
INTERVIEW: The Review Review
“You have to believe that the work, the daily writing, has value in and of itself – that being true to your imagination and giving yourself the space to write is meaningful on its own, no matter what ever happens. Writing is not just a means to an end.”

March 7, 2012
WRITING: ‘Sweating in the Cleveland Schvitz’
“You’re a writer. A journalist by training. You like questions! Questions are how you know, in any given situation, not to panic. This, you want to say, is exactly the time for questions. We all should be asking them!”

March 7, 2012
Cleveland Jewish News: ‘Pulp and Paper’ reveals ‘grace and dignity’ of everyday life
“The stories – four set in New Jersey and four in New York – demonstrate the interconnectedness of both the neighboring states and the residents who inhabit them.”

March, 2012
Tzer Island: ‘These stories are award-worthy’
“Josh Rolnick writes with clarity and grace and gentleness. His characters are decent people living quiet lives, confronting life’s difficult choices and coping with adversity as best they can. Some are adults, some are kids, but all are authentic.”

January, 2012
New Pages: Pulp and Paper is ‘a remarkable double quartet’
“Josh Rolnick writes like a storyteller. He places his characters in the middle of complex situations, but doesn’t leave them stranded. Instead, he inhabits their psyches and builds compelling scenes for them to respond to trouble in the best way they know how, by lunging headlong into it. Meanwhile he creates scenes that rivet you to a sliver of time and the gloom of place, sweeping you up in the first sentences of his eight tales and setting you down at the end of each one with greater faith in the human race. ”

January, 2012
Cleveland Magazine: ‘Masterfully’ rendered voices
“Throughout the debut collection of short stories, Rolnick uses his New Jersey upbringing to evoke a vivid sense of place and gives us dialogue and characters we can relate to.”

January, 2012
INTERVIEW: The Coachella Review
“This is exactly why I love short stories. It’s emotion achieved through compression. It’s almost as if the author is saying to the reader: See these five pages? This is all there is. This is all you need to know .”

January 23, 2012
PANK: Pulp and Paper is ‘wonderfully refreshing’ and ‘timeless’
“His stories beat with full, sturdy hearts, unapologetic in their Munro-like length and body.”

January/February, 2012
WRITING: Decreasing our ‘sense of isolation’
At some point, when I was a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop five years ago, my classmates started referring to me as “the writer who ends his stories with a hug.”

December, 2011
Corduroy Books Blog: ‘Great stories experetly done’
“Well-crafted, gorgeous [book] in which characters take center stage and you close the thing feeling as if you’ve fully entered, smelled, touched certain lives other than your own. ”

Monday, Dec. 30, 2011
Chasing Empty Pavements: ‘Tightly woven plots’ and ‘characters with depth’
“This collection of stories however are at times so well written, I am actually angry when I come to the end.”

Monday, Dec. 26, 2011
Seattle Post Intelligencer: Eight ‘tales that are hard to forget’
“The common thread between the eight masterfully-crafted stories is loss …
These are people we know and care about. Friends and family whose burden we want to lift, or at least to share.”

Monday, Dec. 26, 2011
NEWS: Akron Beacon Journal names ‘Pulp and Paper’ a ‘best book’ of 2011
“This impressive collection of eight stories, set in New York and New Jersey, shows great insight and diversity.”

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2011
EXCERPT: ‘The Herald’
“There’s just something about her,” he said. “She makes every customer feel like a life-long friend. Jess could sell open-toed pumps to an Eskimo.”

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2011
Jewish Book Council: A ‘sterling debut collection of stories’
“The Jersey shore is powerfully evoked: mussel beds, dried black seaweed, land eels, weakfish stew. The dialogue is pitch-perfect and hilarious.”

Monday, Dec. 13, 2011
NJ Press Media: ‘The Write Stuff’
“According to Rolnick, his children’s reaction is ‘one of the coolest things about now having a book out.’ ”

Sunday, Dec. 12, 2011
INTERVIEW: The New Jersey Jewish News
“I’m sure many people think idyllically about their hometowns, but there was something about this place and the safety it provided me to explore and branch out — without being too sheltered. We lived close enough to New York City that we could go in on the weekends in high school; we made trips to Philly and the Jersey Shore. Highland Park always said to me: You can do what you want to do and be what you want to be. I’ll be here.”

Friday, Dec. 9, 2011
WRITING: My pick in Salon.com for the best book of 2011
“When I read Michael Ondaatje’s short story ‘The Cat’s Table’ in The New Yorker in May, I secretly hoped it was not part of a larger novel. The story felt perfect, a complete movement. And I’ve been let down at times when such stories, small treasures, later unspool into less powerful novels. Or else, also a risk: The novel overpowers the story, rendering it a mere excerpt.”

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011
Boston Globe: Rolnick’s stories ponder ‘what it takes to go on’
“There’s something old-fashioned about Rolnick’s stories (and indeed, about their characters, who seem less tethered to time than to place). A lot happens in them, for one thing – the story ‘The Herald,’ in which reporter Dale Tapper investigates the discovery of a drowned Jane Doe, sketches a world as complete as most novels – and Rolnick infuses humor into even the most pathetic situations. The result is a collection that feels expansive, bigger than its eight stories, and one that bestows upon its reader a lingering satisfaction.”

Friday, Dec. 1, 2011
ON AIR: Josh Rolnick and Anna Solomon
Listen to ART on AIR, Art International Radio recording of our book reading at 192 Books in New York City.

Friday, Dec. 1, 2011
The Rumpus: “The themes he touches carry a universality that binds readers to a book”
“Across personal loss and environmental catastrophe, irreparable rage and distant ennui, Rolnick’s focus consistently grazes pivotal events and trains instead on the aching, everyday detail lining their perimeters. The result is an immersive look at the paths taken, decisions made, and habits formed in the wake of tragedy.”

Friday, Nov. 18, 2011
Zyzzyva: “Living with the inevitable: Josh Rolnick’s ‘Pulp and Paper’ “
“With each and every story Rolnick brilliantly crafts characters that are effortlessly sympathetic, if not likable, despite their flaws … Rolnick’s writing is genuinely compassionate … If anything, his story collection is a reassuring reminder of how we can survive the inherent suffering of life.”

Monday, Nov. 14, 2011
NEWS: ‘Unstuck’ is the right journal for the times
“‘Unstuck’ has the potential to be a serious part of this conversation.”

Friday, Nov. 4, 2011
EXCERPT: ‘Mainlanders’
“We lived on a barrier island, eighteen miles long, a mile at sea, thin as a pipefish, that slashed up the New Jersey coast on a diagonal.”

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011
Kirkus: ‘Pulp and Paper’ a ‘book of remarkable merit’; starred review
“Every story is beautifully located in place and period, edging toward grace rather than postmodern irony, and peopled by characters coping with love and loss.”

Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
NEWS: Storyville iphone app to feature ‘Big River’ this week
Get one story a week delivered to your iphone or ipad, starting with my short story “Big River” — and discover how it started as a story about eating bugs.

Monday, Oct. 31, 2011
EXCERPT: ‘The Herald’
“What do TIR graduate student editors do when they’re not opening mail at the office? Writing, of course! Between afternoons of paper cuts and envelope licking, former occupant of TIR’s fiction desk Josh Rolnick was working on a collection of stories …”

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011
Iowa Press Citizen: ‘Rolnick’s stories are more than pulp and paper’
“In fact, there’s something charmingly immature — something unfinished and mutable — about each of the different voices populating Rolnick’s debut short story collection, “Pulp and Paper.” Even his most responsible adult characters still have a lot of growing up to do as they learn to surive large and small life changes. ‘Pulp and Paper’ is an invitingly disturbing collection …”

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011
ON AIR: The ‘Pulp and Paper’ Lit Show radio interview
“There’s this kind of satisfying velocity to all of [these stories] … [that] unfold in the moment when a pendulum has reached the outer orbit of its swing and starts to turn in the other direction.”

Monday, Oct. 24, 2011
The Lit Witch: Stories in collection are ‘absolutely believable’ and ‘utterly human’
“It’s the fact that Rolnick has captured that tenuous period between raw, new grief and full recovery eight separate times that makes this collection really striking.

Monday, Oct. 24, 2011
Deucerman: Collection is ‘searing’ and ‘ironic’
“Rolnick achieves a superb balance between vivid description of the physical world and extended expositions of the emotional. He tells us this is, again, the result of doing lots of drafts, of reworking and reworking until the balance is right for the story. The key to that, of course, is patience, so it’s not surprising that early on, when he was at Iowa, Josh had gotten a stone imprinted with the Chinese character for patience, and that this stone adorns his writing table to this day. “

Coming Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011
NEWS: Live ‘Interview with Josh Rolnick’ to air on The Lit Show
On The Lit Show, KRUI-FM in Iowa City, radio host Joe Fassler will speak with Josh Rolnick, whose story collection Pulp and Paper is the recipient of the 2011 John Simmons Award from the University of Iowa Press. Pulp and Paper was selected by Yiyun Li, author of The Vagrants. Click the link above to listen live on the web!

Oct. 18, 2011
NEWS: ‘Pulp and Paper’ now available on Kindle e-reader

Oct. 3, 2011
Akron Beacon Journal: ‘Fine Short Stories’ in Pulp and Paper
“What [the stories] do have in common is a style that is finely tuned without being delicate, and a great insight into relationships.”

Oct. 1, 2011
New York Journal of Books: ‘Pulp and Paper’ features ‘eight brilliant works of short fiction’
“That line, so powerful and gripping that it should be used in writing seminars as a standard against which others might be measured, indicates that the reader can expect extraordinary storytelling and author Rolnick delivers it. “

Oct. 1, 2011
WRITING: My Profile of Anna Solomon and her new novel, The Little Bride
“The Little Bride is a beautiful book. In some ways, a writer’s book, with intricate, deeply moving language, powerful symbolism (one my favorite scenes depicts Minna, a new bride, literally blindfolded during her wedding reception), and vivid metaphor.”

Sept 6, 2011
WRITING: Top 10 Things I’ve learned sending out short stories
“Celebrate rejection. I’m not kidding. Each rejection is a chance you gave your story to live in the minds of readers; each, an opportunity to toughen your writerly skin.”

Sept 2, 2011
NEWS: The Guardian UK Books Blog loves my essay in The Millions
They recommend it to readers as: “a fantastic essay from the winner of the 2011 John Simmons Short Fiction Award”

August 30, 2011
WRITING: My Life as a Short Story Writer
“I would have to try to get better – to improve as a writer – in the public eye. Writing stories. For better or for worse, I surrendered myself to the system’s clankings.”

August 15, 2011
Publisher’s Weekly: Pulp and Paper is a ‘satisfying debut’ with ‘charm’ and ‘picturesque prose’
“In a creditable first collection, Rolnick splits his time between New Jersey and New York. Each setting offers four tales and feature narrators who are often sensitive adolescents grappling with the pain of growing up …”

June 28, 2011
NEWS: Tickets on Sale for Iowa City Book Festival Dinner
Iowa City Press-Citizen announces tickets are on sale for Iowa City Book Festival kick-off dinner. Festival events include a reading from “Pulp and Paper,” and a panel discussion, “Setting as a character in fiction.”

Feb. 10, 2011
NEWS: ‘Pulp and Paper’ wins John Simmons Short Fiction Award
University of Iowa Press announces “Pulp and Paper” is the winner of the 2011 John Simmons Short Fiction Award.