Saturday, February 17, 2007

Monica Drake

Monica Drake has an MFA from the University of Arizona and teaches at the Pacific NW College of Art. She is a contributor of reviews and articles to The Oregonian, The Stranger, and the Portland Mercury and her fiction has appeared in the Beloit Fiction Review, Threepenny Review, The Insomniac Reader, and others. She has been the recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts Award, the Alligator Juniper Prize in Fiction, and a Millay Colony Fellowship, and was a Tennessee Williams scholar at Sewanee Writers Workshop. Her debut Novel, Clown Girl, is published by Hawthorne Books.

In "Clown Girl," her darkly comic debut novel released to rave review this month, Drake has created a protagonist who lives in a neighborhood so run down and penniless that drugs, balloon animals and even rubber chickens contribute to the local currency. Against a backdrop of petty crime, Clown Girl struggles to find her place in the world of high art. But all is not art in her life: in an effort to support herself and her under-employed performance-artist boyfriend, she is drawn into the world of paying jobs, and finds herself unwittingly turned into a "corporate clown."

To learn more about Monica or "Clown Girl" visit her website at

Kassten Alonso

Kassten Alonso was born in Seattle, Washington and graduated from Willamette University in Salem. Kassten has previously published in the Portland Mercury, Portland Monthly, and The Oregonian.

Kassten Alonso's novel, Core: A Romance, released in 2005, earned an Oregon Book Award nomination, and stands as one of the most arresting and harrowing Pacific Northwest novels to emerge in years. The novel's intense tale of obsession, betrayal, unrequited love, madness, and murder will captivate readers. After the novel's narrator becomes obsessed with his best friend's girlfriend, his already precarious hold on sanity rapidly deteriorates into delusion and violence. Alonso skillfully uses language to imitate memory and psychosis so that the reader is squarely inside the narrator's head. The result is a fiction experience unlike any other in recent memory. Kassten is currently working on his next novel.