37 episodes

We love short stories. Join authors Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies) and Dawnie Walton (The Final Revival of Opal & Nev) for author interviews, book club discussions, and immersive short stories. We celebrate storytelling from some of today's most thrilling writers, with an emphasis on spotlighting underrepresented voices. (Photo credits: Vanessa German / Rayon Richards)
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://ursastory.com/join

Ursa Short Fiction Ursa Story Company

    • Arts
    • 3.7 • 209 Ratings

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We love short stories. Join authors Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies) and Dawnie Walton (The Final Revival of Opal & Nev) for author interviews, book club discussions, and immersive short stories. We celebrate storytelling from some of today's most thrilling writers, with an emphasis on spotlighting underrepresented voices. (Photo credits: Vanessa German / Rayon Richards)
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://ursastory.com/join

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    That's a Wrap on Season Two! A Special Message from Deesha and Dawnie

    That's a Wrap on Season Two! A Special Message from Deesha and Dawnie

    Thanks to our guests, contributors, and listeners for a wonderful second season!
    Help us fund Season Three of Ursa Short Fiction by becoming an Ursa Member: 
    https://ursastory.com/join/
    You can also make a one-time contribution to help fund future episodes. 
    We’ll be back very soon — get email updates by signing up for our newsletter: https://ursastory.com/newsletter/
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    Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://ursastory.com/join

    • 2 min
    What Denne Michele Norris Learned as a Writer and Editor

    What Denne Michele Norris Learned as a Writer and Editor

    Deesha and Dawnie chat with Denne Michele Norris, editor-in-chief of Electric Literature and author of the forthcoming debut novel, When The Harvest Comes (Random House). She is also the first Black, openly trans woman to helm a major literary publication.
    Norris discusses her approaches to both writing and editing, sharing insights for writers on working with editors. She also talks about the ways different genres — from fiction to essay to memoir — all require their own approaches. Norris asks questions of herself and of the work, aiming to edit “ethically and responsibly and [tell] a beautiful story.”
    Support our show by becoming an Ursa Member: ursastory.com/join

    Reading List: Stories and Writers Mentioned

    Denne Michele Norris

    McSweeney's 62: The Queer Fiction Issue

    Food 4 Thot Podcast


    "An Almanac of Bones" (Dantiel W. Moniz)


    The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison)


    Everyday People: The Color of Life Anthology (edited by Jennifer Baker) 


    "Daddy's Boy" (Denne Michele Norris)

    Jade Jones


    Going To Meet The Man (James Baldwin)


    Friday Black (Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah)


    Milk Blood Heat (Dantiel W. Moniz)


    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw)


    What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky (Lesley Nneka Arimah)


    Difficult Women (Roxane Gay)


    About the Author 
    Denne Michele Norris is the editor-in-chief of Electric Literature, winner of the 2022 Whiting Digital Literary Magazine Prize, where she is the first Black, openly trans woman to helm a major literary publication. A 2021 Out100 Honoree, her writing has been supported by MacDowell, Tin House, VCCA, and the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction, and appears in McSweeney's, American Short Fiction, and ZORA. She co-hosts the critically acclaimed podcast Food 4 Thot, and mentors emerging writers of color with The Periplus Collective. Her debut novel, When The Harvest Comes, is forthcoming from Random House. 

    More from Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton:


    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw)


    The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (Dawnie Walton)


    ***
    Associate producer: Marina Leigh
    Episode editor: Kelly Araja
    Executive producers: Dawnie Walton & Mark Armstrong
    Author photo: Hilary Leichter
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    Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://ursastory.com/join

    • 57 min
    [Free teaser] Member Exclusive: Deesha’s 7-Figure Book Deal, Listener Questions

    [Free teaser] Member Exclusive: Deesha’s 7-Figure Book Deal, Listener Questions

    This week we’re excited to share a very special episode of Ursa Short Fiction — a Member Exclusive where Dawnie Walton chats with Deesha Philyaw about this week’s big news: Deesha has just signed a seven-figure book deal with Mariner Books for a new novel, THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF FIRST LADY FREEMAN, and short story collection, GIRL, LOOK. The novel is due out in 2025. 
    Enjoy this free teaser from our Member Exclusive episode. To access the full episode, become an Ursa Member: ursastory.com/join.  

    Links


    Author Deesha Philyaw has a 7-figure deal for her next two books (Associated Press) 


    “Back Then” (Mike Jones)


    Peach Pit: Sixteen Stories of Unsavory Women (anthology edited by Molly Llewellyn and Kristel Buckley)

    Mariner Books

    Rakia Clark


    Punch Me Up to the Gods (Brian Broome) 


    More from Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton:


    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw)


    The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (Dawnie Walton)


    Produced & edited by Mark Armstrong
    Associate producer: Marina Leigh
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
    Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://ursastory.com/join

    • 23 min
    Member Exclusive: Deesha’s 7-Figure Book Deal, Listener Questions

    Member Exclusive: Deesha’s 7-Figure Book Deal, Listener Questions

    Thank you Ursa Members for your support!

    This week we’re excited to share a very special episode of Ursa Short Fiction — a Member Exclusive where Dawnie Walton chats with Deesha Philyaw about this week’s big news: Deesha has just signed a seven-figure book deal with Mariner Books for a new novel, THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF FIRST LADY FREEMAN, and short story collection, GIRL, LOOK. The novel is due out in 2025.

    More from Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton:

    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw)
    The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (Dawnie Walton)

    Produced & edited by Mark Armstrong

    Associate producer: Marina Leigh

    Story: ‘What Got Into Us,’ by Jacob Guajardo

    Story: ‘What Got Into Us,’ by Jacob Guajardo

    Deesha and Dawnie introduce “What Got Into Us,” a short story by Jacob Guajardo, performed by Vicki Valdeon.
    The story is a candid look into queer adolescence, first loves, recklessness, and unbridled vulnerability. It was originally published in Passages North, and featured in The Best American Short Stories 2018.
    Listen to the story, then stay tuned at the end for Guajardo in his own words, sharing how the story came together, and how he approaches the writing process.
    Support our show and help fund future episodes: https://ursastory.com/join/
    Reading List: Stories and Writers Mentioned

    The Best American Short Stories 2018 (edited by Roxane Gay)


    “I Only Did What Anyone Would Have Done” (Jacob Guajardo)

    “Moonmilk” (Jacob Guajardo)

    “Widowers” (Jacob Guajardo)

    “Good News Is Coming” (Jacob Guajardo)

    “The Seminar” (Jacob Guajardo)

    “Two Queens Walk Out Of A Bar” (Jacob Guajardo)

    Amy Hempel

    Ocean Vuong

    Garth Greenwell

    About the Author Jacob Guajardo lives and writes in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His fiction appears in The Best American Short Stories 2018 and Small Odysseys: Selected Shorts Presents 35 New Stories, among other publications. He is the recipient of the 2020 Robert Maxwell Fellowship from MacDowell. He works from home as a Narrative Designer.
    More from Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton:

    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw)


    The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (Dawnie Walton)


    ***
    Performed by Vicki Valdeon
    Associate producers: Marina Leigh, Ashawnta Jackson
    Executive producers: Dawnie Walton & Mark Armstrong
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
    Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://ursastory.com/join

    • 37 min
    Rubén Degollado on Writing a Family Story, 25 Years in the Making

    Rubén Degollado on Writing a Family Story, 25 Years in the Making

    Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton go in-depth with Rubén Degollado, author of the novel The Family Izquierdo, which started out as a short story collection about a single family.
    Degollado's story “The Seven Songs” was featured on last week’s episode, and he discusses his journey to writing and publishing the book, as well as how he navigated his writing journey alongside his career as an educator. He first started writing the Izquierdo family stories in the late '90s, eventually developing the family curse and tensions, and playing with point of view to inhabit the lives of the many family members.
    Support Ursa Short Fiction! Become a Member: https://ursastory.com/join/
    Degollado aims to represent his own family, experiences, and community through The Family Izquierdo, and he quotes Toni Morrison, who said “if there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
    “A lot of the stories I read were about immigrants, and I think those are great stories. I love immigrant stories, but that’s not what I wanted to write. I wanted to write about what happens after. What happens post immigration.”If you haven't already, be sure to listen to last week's episode featuring Degollado's story, “The Seven Songs.”
    Reading List

    "The Seven Songs" by Rubén Degollado (Ursa Short Fiction, Season Two, Episode 15)


    The Family Izquierdo (W. W. Norton)


    The Family Izquierdo audiobook (Blackstone Publishing / Downpour.com)


    The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison)


    Throw (Rubén Degollado)


    "A Temporary Matter" (Jhumpa Lahiri)


    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (ZZ Packer)


    Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri)


    Sabrina & Corina: Stories (Kali Fajardo-Anstine)


    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw)


    The World Doesn't Require You (Rion Amilcar Scott)


    Brownsville (Oscar Casares)

    Maurice Carlos Ruffin

    About the Author Rubén Degollado’s work has recently appeared in Literary Hub, CRAFT, The Common, and elsewhere. His novel Throw won the Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult book for 2020. His debut literary novel The Family Izquierdo is a long list title for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award. Rubén lives and writes along the southern border, in the Río Grande Valley of Texas.
    More from Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton:

    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw)


    The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (Dawnie Walton)

    ***
    Episode editor: Kelly Araja
    Associate producer: Marina Leigh
    Producer: Mark Armstrong
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
    Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://ursastory.com/join

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5
209 Ratings

209 Ratings

beast live home ,

For the Love of Short Stories

I absolutely love this podcast and the beautiful behind the stories perspectives Ursa provides.

lingrl ,

Love this!

Absolutely! This is something that I have been looking for. I love the interviews with the writers you’ve introduced. I’ve read most of the books over the summer and thoroughly enjoyed them. Please continue the great work you are doing!!

snowstorm 09 ,

Nice and Flowy

This is honestly great to listen to while doing chores or work because it’s nice and flowy. It’s not to deep or traumatic. You get to imagine being part of the story and witnessing everything yourself. I highly recommend.

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