Sibella & Sibella

Release Date: August 14, 2018

Enlisted by megalomaniac publisher Myron Beam, Sibella―junior editor extraordinaire―recounts the trials and tribulations of the San Francisco-based literary darling Hard Rain Publishing all the way from its improbable rise through its seemingly inevitable freefall. The whip smart, wise-cracking, and surprisingly well-read Sibella navigates the mounting eccentricities of the house’s award-winning authors, slices up her oh-so-pretentious colleagues with her razor-sharp wit, and even manages to fish her publisher out of the pub long enough to keep the whole ship afloat, all the while battling her ex-boyfriend’s meteoric success and the feintless infinity of the blank page.

But when her boss acquires the artless and arduous 900-page debut The Adventures of Calypso O’Kelly, their star author Figgy Fontana―possibly, maybe, kinda sorta―dies, and a team of con artists take aim at Myron Beam, it’s up to Sibella, her endlessly outmatched editor in chief, and a former female pornstar―no, really―to return Hard Rain and its hard-boozing, hapless publisher to their former glory.

Part tell all, part mystery, and part coming-of-age novel, Sibella & Sibella is a biting look at the world of publishing from a reluctant witness who pulls no punches with anyone. Least of all herself.


Listen to the podcast Talking to Sibella & Sibella here: https://soundcloud.com/rarebirdlit/regan-mcmahon-in-conversation-with-joseph-di-prisco


Praise for Sibella & Sibella

“In the rarified realm of A Confederacy of Dunces and David Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Sibella & Sibella is surely the new picaresque--set in the mysterious world of independent publishing, the singular voice of a junior editor is roundly inhabited by Mr. Di Prisco who nimbly plays with form and language, and an industry he clearly both loves and scorns. A remarkable reading experience.”
-- David Francis, author of Stray Dog Winter and Wedding Bush Road

“Joseph Di Prisco’s fearlessness always impresses me, and his latest novel is no exception. Invoking satire and silliness, bad puns and good ones, hijinks and hilarity, Sibella & Sibella takes on the absurdity of publishing, narrated through the lens of a young woman working as a junior editor at a San Francisco publishing house. Fortunately for readers, Di Prisco embraces the absurdity, and the result is this wonderfully crafted and bitingly funny critique that never fails to entertain.”
-- Lori Ostlund, award-winning author of After the Parade


Simpsonistas Vol. 1 Cover for Joe.jpg

Tales from the Simpson Family Literary Project (Vol. 1)

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Simpsonistas: Tales from the Simpson Family Literary Project, Vol. 1 highlights brilliant work by associates of the Simpson Project: Joyce Carol Oates, Anthony Marra, T. Geronimo Johnson, Samantha Hunt, Lori Ostlund, Martin Pousson, Ben Fountain, and many others, including Simpson Fellows as well as young writers appearing for the first time in print. Johnson and Marra were Simpson Prize Winners; Fountain, Hunt, Ostlund, and Pousson were Prize Finalists.

Excerpt from the Introduction by Joseph Di Prisco

What would our lives be like without storytelling?

That’s not a rhetorical question. Without stories, our lives would be, quite literally, unimaginable.

Storytelling may not be everything, but sometimes, when you catch yourself being swept up in a story, transported by the narrative, it can feel in the moment close to being everything, whatever everything might provisionally stand for besides everything. Crazy overstated? Maybe. Nevertheless, that is something like the case that T. Geronimo Johnson, 2017 Simpson Prize Recipient, makes about the importance of stories in his supercharged and allusive Berkeley commencement address, found here in these pages. To quote Johnson, “Humans cannot survive without story any more than they can survive without sunlight.”

Consider Joyce Carol Oates, Simpson Project Writer-in-Residence. She fashions a tantalizing, related argument in her illuminating, wide-ranging essay, “A Wounded Deer—Leaps Highest’: Motives for Metaphor,” included here as well, about writers artfully, urgently “bearing witness” in their stories, novels, and poems. In Oates’s words, “‘Bearing witness’ means giving voice to those whose voices have been muted, or destroyed; those who have been victims; those whose stories require a larger audience than they have received.”

Insights such as these resonate intensely for the Simpson Family Literary Project. Storytelling fosters empathy. Stories elicit passions and refine reflections. They bind us together in the language, and languages, of our shared humanity. It may seem distressingly self-evident that meaningful connections between people can sometimes provide elusive in our radically contentious Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / AI epoch. As far as the Simpson Project is concerned, however, it’s worth each ounce of our energy, each investment of the imagination, expended in the efforts to forge such life-affirming linkages—in and through stories. We believe that storytelling, when it kicks in, when it is internalized, when it is taught, creates and enriches communities. And if we frame storytelling that way, perhaps we just might be oonching closer and closer to the nongentrified, unboundaried worldwide neighborhood where, well, everything might indeed be very much on the table.

We applaud these innovations and encourage more. More risky undertakings in the name of speaking truth to power—or in the name of sheer comic excess. More experimentations with genre. More publishing projects that introduce readers to writers both emerging and established, from cultures distant from our own. Especially we crave radical and subversive art from the margins of society, that challenges the authority of the center. More quirky, stubborn, rebellious voices to counteract the ubiquitous drone of social-media culture. More public support for all the arts—visual, musical, theatrical, dance, print—and not just the arts that reflect our own convictions.

If our art sometimes provokes unexpected reactions this is the price we must pay for our commitment to bearing witness in a turbulent world.
— JOYCE CAROL OATES, IN SIMPSONISTAS, 'A WOUNDED DEER--LEAPS HIGHEST': MOTIVES FOR METAPHOR