Ben Parzybok

will forget your name, and feel very badly about it

September 24, 2012
by Benjamin Parzybok


I’ve got a whole ton of writing news to trickle out over the next month or two, including a couple of pending short stories, an audio version of an old story, a big project announcement and an event. But in the meantime, I’m really happy to announce that I’ve signed with Eddie Schneider of the JABberwocky Literary Agency!

I sold my first book to Small Beer Press without an agent. In fact I was their first (and only?) book ever snagged from the  slush pile, dripping wet with ice-slurry, surely. It worked great — but I’ve been interested in obtaining an agent for the long-arc of a writing career, and that came to a head with the completion of Sherwood Nation.

But strangely, getting an agent was more difficult than getting a book accepted. (look at Eddie’s acceptance stats) I had agents make polite overtones, but otherwise indicate that while they liked my writing, they just weren’t sure where books like mine (Couch) would go. Where would it even get shelved? In this day and age though, books of bent genre are everywhere — and Small Beer Press is one of the ground-breakers there (with Kelly Link, of course, but most recently Maureen McHugh’s new collection). And it’s clear from reading his bio that Eddie and I see eye to eye on the matter.

Now, to get a book ship-shape!

May 8, 2012
by Benjamin Parzybok

Street Books wins National Book Award’s Innovations in Reading award

The title pretty much says it all – I’m super psyched for Laura and the Street Books people

Here’s a link to the news at the National Book Foundation: 2012 Innovations in Reading Award Winners.

Now I just need to start mentioning how useful my presence might be at the awards ceremony in NYC this fall (bag carrier, message taker, clothes presser?)…



December 19, 2011
by Benjamin Parzybok

The Voyage gets Funded by RACC!

As I believe I’ve mentioned here before, my friend David Naimon and I are co-writing a book called The Voyage (currently) .  I hope it will be my third published book (after Sherwood Nation makes its way into the world – no specific news I can talk about there yet…).

We’re substantially into the long process and have done some incredible world-building on a world I’m really excited about.

This weekend I learned that RACC (The Regional Arts and Culture Council) said yes to our grant proposal. We’re funded! Toot toot!

I’m sure you will hear more about this as we go — part of the grant requires that we host a public performance from the piece. Likely we’ll also chat about the pleasures and difficulties of doing together what is traditionally a very isolated, solo art. Fortunately for us, David and I know how to argue productively. Though by the end, who knows, Kung Fu may become necessary.

If you wish to see a short summary of our work (or how much $$ we got), you can see all awarded grants here. Do an in-document search for my name.

And writers: As I begun the grant process, I didn’t even realize that RACC supported literary projects. I can’t recommend highly enough how accessible RACC was during this time, and how much they seemed invested in my success. Here’s a quote from Ingrid Carlson, a Grants Officer at RACC, who wrote me the following:

“First, let me say that we offer the same percentage of Project Grants in the literary discipline as we offer in every other discipline.  The challenge is that we only receive a very small handful of applications from literary artists, as opposed to a discipline like visual arts.  We fund about 40% of the literary arts applications – the same as in other categories.  The problem is that we average about 7 literary project grants and only a couple from individuals each year.  It would be great to get more!”

Subtle hint…

Thanks Ingrid & RACC!

October 22, 2011
by Benjamin Parzybok

Spoiler: better than Rwanda, worse than Cambodia

I love David McCandless’s information visualizations at Information is Beautiful.

Today’s project is a re-visualization of Business Insider’s charts for their post ‘What the Wall Street Protestors are so Angry about…

McCandless has a gift for making data instantly grok-able.

Information is Beautiful - what are Wall St. protestors angry about


Sweden at 23x still seems pretty damn high. The poverty line for a 4 person family in the US is $22,050 and I started to play with the numbers above before I realized that they’re based on the Gini Coefficient…which is above my math level.

Though sometimes narrative can be much more powerful. This one has been making the rounds.