Fiction Consultations with Jenny Irish

Jenny Irish is the author of the hybrid poetry collections Common Ancestor (Black Lawrence, 2017) and Tooth Box (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021),  the short story collection I Am Faithful  (Black Lawrence, 2019), the chapbook Lupine (Black Lawrence, 2023) and most recently Hatch (Northwestern University Press, 2024). She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University and facilitates free community workshops every summer.

Jenny will provide detailed comments on your manuscript as well as a cover letter. After receiving these files, participants who submit chapbooks and full-length manuscripts may also book phone/video conferences with Jenny at no additional charge.

Jenny is accepting everything from flash fiction to novels for critique. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Flash fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  • Short stories, up to 20 pages in length, $55
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $275
  • Novellas, up to 100 pages in length, $425
  • Short story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $550
  • Novels, up to 300 pages in length, $795

All manuscripts should be double spaced and formatted in 12-point font. The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is June 30. Jenny will complete her work and respond to all participants by July 31.

Consultations

Fiction Consultations with Jenny Irish

Click Here to Submit Deadline: June 30 How to submit ›

Statement of Purpose

Foundational to my engagement with any manuscript is the understanding that it is a work-in-progress: a space of possibility. Rather than approach a manuscript as a flawed object needing to be fixed, my first priority is to understand the goals of the writing, how those goals are currently being achieved, and then determine how my feedback can help to more fully realize them.

Writing isn’t formulaic, so it’s vital to treat every piece as unique and meet it on its own terms. For example, a non-linear, fragmentary novella is very different than a linear sequence of micro prose pieces. Each unique piece will receive the most benefit from feedback that encourages that particular manuscript to be the strongest version of itself. Working together, our objective is to strengthen, not to “correct” your work.

I don’t seek to primarily draw an author’s attention to what is “flawed,” so much as I read to identify areas where the writing could benefit from moreless, or differentMoreless, and different are macro concepts that can help generate useful questions about a piece. Where would the writing benefit from more? This could involve the foreshadowing that makes a revelation feel like a discovery for the reader, as opposed to a manipulation, or, could be about the groundwork for thematic concerns a piece of writing wants to engage, or, an absence of clear motivation. Asking where more is needed can help with cohesion and clarity. Asking where less is needed, can help point to areas where authorial strategies are perhaps being overused, or, a recurring image that appears more than is needed, diluting its effect, or, a situation where an author has written their way into a narrative that actually begins on the third page. Different, can help a writer think about an element that isn’t achieving what it intends, and encourage the consideration of alternatives. This might apply to the relationship between content and form, or the ordering of a sequence.

As well as engaging with a manuscript on a macro level, I will be reading and responding to it on a micro level: at the level of the line—not line editing—but speaking to language and image, the texture and flow created by diction and syntax.

As a writer, I am interested in the vast possibilities for movement and the accumulation of meaning in different structures. My work is narrative, often moves associatively, and draws on a range of genre influences including fiction, poetry, and the essay. I do love a striking sensory detail. I love sound and texture on the page. As a reader, I am often drawn to works that challenge easy genre classification. I enjoy a wide range of aesthetics and read broadly. Some of my recent favorites are The White Book by Han Kang, Spectacle by Susan Steinberg, Many Restless Concerns by Gayle Brandeis, and Not Merely Because of the Unknown that was Stalking Toward Them by Jenny Boully.

Jenny Irish

Jenny Irish is the author of the hybrid poetry collections Common Ancestor (Black Lawrence, 2017) and Tooth Box (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021),  the short story collection I Am Faithful  (Black Lawrence, 2019), the chapbook Lupine (Black Lawrence, 2023) and most recently Hatch (Northwestern University Press, 2024). She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University and facilitates free community workshops every summer.

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How to Submit

Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions and payment of the entry fee exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

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