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We champion the weird, the unwieldy, and the unclassifiable.
We Were Flying to Chicago
By Kevin Clouther
"Kevin Clouther's collection of wry, funny, big-hearted stories is utterly satisfying and unexpected, like scratching an itch you didn't know you had." — Rebecca Johns, author of The Countess

Hypnotizing us with the deceptively simple rhythm of the ordinary, We Were Flying to Chicago offers a moment of change: the view over the cliff, the intake of breath before a decision, a sidelong glance of impending news. Award-winning writer Kevin Clouther skillfully slows time to note the visceral, emotional impact of an everyday moment.

A man drives to the wrong mountain, a hubcap cleaner moonlights as a karaoke star, and a woman trusts a stranger on the bus. Each of the ten stories in We Were Flying to Chicago is contemporary without being ironic or glib, offering a glimpse of stark vulnerability, faith, and shared experience.

Click here to download the We Were Flying to Chicago press kit and author Q&A.

Kevin Clouther

Kevin Clouther was born in Boston and grew up on Cape Cod and in South Florida. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he completed his thesis under Marilynne Robinson and won the Richard Yates Fiction Award for best short story. He has worked at The Iowa Review, Meridian and The Virginia Literary Review, where he served as Fiction Editor. He teaches creative writing at Stony Brook University, where he coordinates the Program in Writing Reading Series, and John Hopkins. He has previously taught at Bridgewater College in Virginia, the University of Michigan Dearborn, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Floral Park, New York with his wife and two children.

Press Highlights
  • "Kevin Clouther’s remarkable collection illustrates, page by page, the unique joys of reading short fiction. By turns subversive and poignant, darkly humorous and deeply moving, these ten stories show us the author’s expansive range and the heart that drives his imagination. Clouther’s beautifully rendered characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book—you’ll see them on the street, in the office, in your mirror." — Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi: Stories
  • "The 10 entries in Clouther’s debut collection all display a sure-handed grasp of craft. The first and last stories are the best. In the former, the title story, deft and subtle shifts of perspective among a group of young women lead to a well-earned concluding insight. Better still is the emotionally complex final selection, 'Puritan Hotel, Barnstable,' about two brothers, Michael and Connor, dealing with Connor’s cancer treatment." — Publishers Weekly
  • "At their strongest, the stories develop an intimate voice and the reader can feel characters’ hopes and despair. The title story is a particular standout. A group of airplane passengers are stuck on a layover; the story is told from their collective perspective ("For no good reason, we were flying to Chicago," it begins). The first-person plural point of view is inviting and fresh." — Kirkus Reviews

  • "Kevin Clouther's collection of short stories is further evidence that some of the most interesting literary fiction is coming out of small presses like Black Balloon Publishing...I can confidently report that this is writing that's unmistakably alive and feral." — The Quivering Pen
  • "I'm attracted to Clouther's writing by its blunt, simple style... Dare I say that I hear Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway echoing in my head?" — David Abrams
  • "Thoughtful and elegant" — Airbone Aspidistra
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