Tag Archives: fiction

NEW STORY: “TELL SOMEONE” in the STINGING FLY (plus a little good HAWK MOUNTAIN news)

16 Nov

Hey there friends,
Just a heads up that my story, “Tell Someone”, is in the latest issue of the Stinging Fly, which you can order here.

“Tell Someone” is the story of two brothers – Luke and Adam – and a terrible family secret which haunts every corner of their lives. It’s a very very dark story. Darker than Hawk Mountain, even. If that’s possible.

Speaking of Hawk Mountain, the audio book was just named one of Audible’s Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2022! If you haven’t yet read it or listened to it, you can buy it here (and if you sign up for Audible, you get a free download). I narrate it, so you can enjoy my sweet soothing voice in your ears, telling you a story that massively messes up your mind. Enjoy!


11 Aug

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The only way Against Everyone With Conner Habib exists is through its relationship with its listeners.

Do you enjoy the show? Does it inspire new thoughts and conversations in your life?


This is the last fiction writing episode for a bit, so I needed someone to talk with me about mediating the creation of dark art. So I asked another writer who’s been there to talk about violence, murder, and forgiveness in fiction: My Sister the Serial Killerauthor, Oyinkan Braithwaite


One of my very favorite novels is also a sort-of-sort-of-not crime novel: Narrow Rooms by James Purdy. It’s absolutely ruthless, and bizarre. Imagine if John Waters wrote a serious novel. This would be it. It’s a nice blend of the tonally challenging aspects of both my and Oyinkan’s novels.

I talked about crime fiction in depth with another writer – and a master of the genre – Liz Nugent, back on AEWCH 104. Bonus: It was recorded just before the pandemic, and we talk about it with hope and trepidation.

There’s plenty to explore, including illustrations and short works, on Oyinkan’s website. My favorite story there is “One Choice“, which has illustrations including the one below, made out of the words of the text.

See you soon, friends.

Why (horror) fiction matters with Caitlin Doughty and Mark O’Connell on the latest Against Everyone With Conner Habib!

2 Aug

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The only way Against Everyone With Conner Habib exists is through its relationship with its listeners.
Do you enjoy the show? Does it inspire new thoughts and conversations in your life?

So happy to share an extended contemplation about fiction and this podcast, and then one of my very favorite book tour events with you: a live conversation about horror, transhumanism, and Hawk Mountain in Dublin with your fav death expert Caitlin Doughty and nonfiction writer/cultural critic Mark O’Connell.

It was a sold out event and one of my favorite on the tour, which will continue in the UK in September. (I’ll also post one of the other tour dates as exclusive content for patreon patrons only.)


One of the greatest horror novels – which, like Hawk Mountain is also not really a horror novel – is Disgrace by JM Coetzee. Don’t read anything about it, just get it and read it. It’s incredible.4

I talked about the horrors of technologies – as well as its occult promise and beauty – with anthroposophist writer Andrew Linnell on AEWCH 183.

If you follow the links to their respective AEWCH episodes you’ll find lots there -here’s Caitlin Doughty on AEWCH 174 and Mark O’Connell on AEWCH 105.

More soon, friends,

I talk with Memorial author Bryan Washington about process, identity, curation, and fiction on AEWCH 190!

17 Jun

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As I get ready for the release of Hawk Mountain, I find myself wanting to talk to writers more and more. For advice, for good company, and honestly just because I’m so excited.

So for this episode, I talk to the much-celebrated author of the novel Memorialand story collection Lot, Bryan Washington! Memorial is a sort of negative universe version of Hawk Mountain – it uses time in a similar way (but different!) and examines the unsaid in a similar way (but different!) and the outcomes for the characters are very, very different (but similar!). After reading it, I felt enlivened and heartbroken at once. So then I read his story collection, Lot. Then, right away, I invited him onto the show. 

Bryan and I talk about desire, identity in fiction, the way writers are asked about process all the time, the productiveness of marginalization, movies, and more. This is one of my very favorite episodes.

What a great conversation.


Bryan and I are both deeply influenced by film. One filmmaker I bring up on the show is Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the notorious and deeply driven melodramatic auteur. I love his work, and I love this book of interviews with him, The Anarchy of the Imagination.

There are some deep parallels on this episode with themes touched on on AEWCH 149 featuring Carmen Maria Machado, although Carmen and I go at it in an entirely different way!

I talked with Samuel Delaney about fiction, sexual identity, and philosophy years ago, before I had a podcast. Here’s the whole conversation! 

Bryan’s website has a ton of links to his essays, including one we discuss on the episode, about the Montrose neighborhood in Houston. Memorial is being made into a TV show, and here’s a podcast featuring Bryan talking about it with poet and novelist Ocean Vuong. And here’s a video (one of several) of Bryan cooking and talking about food. Finally, here’s his essay on going to gay bars.

Until next time, friends, I suggest reading Memorial in the park on a sunny day like I did!

PRE-ORDER my debut novel HAWK MOUNTAIN today!

19 Nov

Friends, my debut novel of murder, desire, and high tension, Hawk Mountain, is out from W.W. Norton in the US and Penguin/Doubleday in Ireland and the UK next July, but if you pre-order it now, you get it delivered straight to your door the day it comes out (or maybe even earlier, since Amazon sometimes surprises you with early delivery!). I can’t wait to share this novel with the world. I’ll be posting some videos, podcasts, and interviews about the book and writing it in the days to come. But be one of the first people to read the book by clicking one of the following links and ordering it!

Indie bookstore-supported bookshop.org
From Amazon

Here’s the description:

An English teacher is gaslit by his charismatic high school bully in this tense story of deception, manipulation, and murder.

Single father Todd is relaxing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of a man approaching from the water’s edge. As the man draws closer, Todd recognizes him as Jack, who bullied Todd relentlessly in their teenage years, but now seems overjoyed to have “run into” his old friend. Jack suggests a meal to catch up. And can he spend the night?
What follows is a fast-paced story of obsession and cunning. As Jack invades Todd’s life, pain and intimidation from the past unearth knife-edge suspense in the present. Set in a small town on the New England coast, Conner Habib’s debut introduces characters trapped in isolation by the expansive woods and the encroaching ocean, their violence an expression of repressed desire and the damage it can inflict. Both gruesome and tender, Hawk Mountain offers a compelling look at how love and hate are indissoluble, intertwined until the last breath.

Can’t wait for you to read it, friends!

Happy Halloween from legendary horror author Ramsey Campbell and me on AEWCH 168!

27 Oct

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FRIENDS:Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon! Thank you so, so much.

Buy Ramsey’s books and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 168 on bookshop.org! The site sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!


Happy Halloween. I don’t really need to introduce legendary horror author Ramsey Campbell, but I will just say it was an honor to have him on the show. Very few people have done as much as Ramsey to deepen horror narratives, and very few have shown – with dozens of books penned – such a commitment to the genre.


• For more on Ramsey, go to his website. Some books not available on bookshop.org, but that are Ramsey Campbell essentials include The Darkest Part of the Woods, The Doll Who Ate Its Mother, The Searching Dead, his excellent story collection Strange Things and Stranger Places, and my favorite, The Face That Must Die. Also, here’s Ramsey’s essay collection (which includes the essay we mention on the episode, “Granted by Granta”), Certainly. Here’s another good (short) interview with Ramsey.

• Early on, Ramsey mentions the 1944 1953 sci fi/horror movie The Lady and the Monster and a later incarnation of a similar theme in Donovan’s Brain.

• Here’s that scene from War of the Worlds where the priest gets disintegrated.

• Other horror-themed episodes of AEWCH include:

  • AEWCH 166 with Phil Ford and JF Martel of Weird Studies.
  • AEWCH 158 with Paul Tremblay
  • AEWCH 93 with Sara Maria Griffin (and also, I was on Sara’s podcast, Juvenalia, talking about Clive Barker)
  • AEWCH 61 with mystery and horror author Sara Gran
  • AEWCH 58 on horror films with screenwriter (of The Invitation and Destroyer, among other things) Phil Hay
  • AEWCH 40 about horror and poetry with Zachary Schomburg
  • AEWCH 44 on the vampire as a theory with Kelly Link and Jordy Rosenberg
  • AEWCH 23 on postmodern horror with Brian Evenson

• Here’s HP Lovecraft’s “vampire” story, “The Shunned House” (I also think that “The Picture in the House” is a sort of vampire story!)

T.E.D. Klein’s list of 25 most popular horror themes is in The Book of Lists: Horror

• “I’d rather have an enigma than an explanation…they last longer.” – Ramsey Campbell

• Have you seen Last Year in Marienbad yet?

• The calm moments in David Lynch films are the half smile on the government agent’s face thing I mention brought to you by Jon Ronson, who I spoke with on AEWCH 163.

• Here’s a bit on when horror comics were banned in Britain by the communist party, or if you want to really go deeper into the story, read Martin Barker’s A Haunt of Fears: The Strange History of the British Horror Comics Campaign.

• Watch the trailer for Dario Argento’s horror classic, Deep Red + Roy Ward Baker’s Quartemass and the Pit + And watch Fritz Lang’s Cloak and Dagger.

Until next time, friends,

New (free!) event! ULYSSES FOR THE REST OF US – read James Joyce’s Ulysses with Conner from June to September for free. Hosted by MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland!

3 Jun

I’m so excited to share with you the new free event series featuring me guiding you through James Joyce’s Ulysses, hosted by MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland here in Dublin.


Here’s the description:

Always wanted to read Ulysses but were too afraid to start? Ulysses may be one of the most famous and influential novels ever published, but how many have actually read it? Ulysses – for the Rest of Us! is a new free public book club at MoLI that will demystify this extraordinary 100 year-old novel, and offer fresh and easy routes into James Joyce’s vast, elaborate and often hilarious masterpiece for every reader. This summer, join your guide –author, activist and podcast host Conner Habib – as he unlocks Ulysses, episode by episode, from Stephen Dedalus’s breakfast in Sandycove through to Molly Bloom’s famous closing monologue.

This is the year that you finish Ulysses!
Starting with an online interview with Conner at 1PM (Dublin time) this Bloomsday, 16 June, Ulysses for the Rest of Us will continue fortnightly on Thursday evenings over Zoom until September. In addition to Conner Habib’s fun and accessible introductions to each episode, book club members will be able to discuss the book whilst having access to a wealth of additional resources and recommended reading lists. Sign up for free now!”

Obviously, it’s a dream to be hosting a Ulysses event in Ireland. But more than that, this is the event for Ulysses in Ireland this year. It’s being promoted by the Irish tourism board, featuring great Irish guests, and on offer to the entire nation.

You can watch the little preview video here, and sign up! It’s free for everyone!

Desires, dark and light. Carmen Maria Machado on AEWCH 149!

21 Apr

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FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.
Buy Carmen’s books and the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 149 on Bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!


The French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan once said, “there is no other good than the one that can pay the price of the access to desire.”

There’s a lot about this statement, which is, like a lot of what Lacan said, a riddle – but one thing in it – paying the price of access – so our desires are not accessible? So we must lose something, give something to meet them? To see them? To talk about them?

To discuss all of this, I spoke with Carmen Maria Machado, author of the memoir In The Dream House, the collection of strange tales Her Body And Other Parties, and the graphic novel The Low, Low Woods.

I think what’s really interesting to both of us, and this comes up quite a bit – is how desire functions, how it is somehow always ahead of us, appearing and disappearing like a friend or an enemy on the path in a fairy tale. Sometimes it gives something to us that is useful later on. A key, a sacred object, a weapon. Sometimes it gives us a gift that leads us to being stuck. Like the fairy market where someone accepts the gift of an apple from the goblin, eats it, and wakes up 100 years later, if they wake up at all. Sometimes it has a strange shape, it frightens us.

Why should desires be like this? How do they know us, in a way, before we know ourselves?

This is a conversation that finds proximity to creation, to danger, to repetition, to the abuse that Carmen writes about in her memoir In The Dream House,and to the abuse I wrote about in my essay ,”If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love“.

How do we talk about the desire and the horror in abusive relationships while still holding the abuser accountable. How do we make the necessary move of accountability while not reducing the complicatedness of the encounter and the relationship?

Again and again, Carmen and I touch on desires and on storytelling – almost like we’re knocking on wood to allow ourselves to go forward in difficult conversation.

What do we sacrifice to know our desires?
What are the prices of following our desires
Of not giving way to them?
Of not giving ground to them?

If all that sounds dark and complex, well, it is. but this is also such a warm and friendly episode. With lots of laughter and curiosity and affinity. 

I’m so happy to share this episode with you.


  • The way desire  knows itself before you know what it is
  • Why is the fox from Robin Hood so hot
  • Evading the temptation of metaphor when we read
  • The response to the subconscious is determines the genre of writing
  • Horror as spiritual narrative
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s mission of mercy
  • Sexuality as a genre
  • The imagination of the abusive partner after you’ve left them
  • The missing language of understanding for the person who has been abused
  • Why we need to talk about resilience 
  • The importance of meta-devices and melodrama
  • The Law & Order SVU-niverse


• For more on Carmen go to her website (which has a badass picture of her in a chair). Here’s an interview with Carmen that goes horrifically wrong on Electric Lit. Here’s Carmen talking about haunted houses and horror movies on the American Hysteria podcast. And if you’d like to read one of her stories, here’s the early version one we reference the most, “The Husband Stitch“.

• My essay from 2010 “Looking at Men” describes the clouded shower glass incident.

• McArthur Award-winning writer Kelly Link comes up a lot on this episode. Have you listened to AEWCH 44 with Kelly, Jordy Rosenberg, and me? It’s awesome. Also, here’s Kelly’s essay about the “silent partner.

• Here’s an interview with the great Argentine writer, César Aira.

• It looks like Grant Morrison’s Seaguy is not available on bookshop.org, so here it is from that, uh, other place. 

• If you haven’t read Susan Sontag’s essay, “Against Interpretation,” read it, friends. And if you have read it, read it again. Same goes for H.P. Lovecraft’s essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature“.

• And the Lovecraft quote is, ““The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

• Here’s my essay “If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love” about the boyfriend who beat me up, which is mentioned at the end of Carmen’s memoir (and through which Carmen and I first communicated).

• I love author Sara Maria Griffin’s appearance on AEWCH 93. It remains one of my very favorite episodes.

• I have not yet read Jeannie Vanasco’s Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was A Girl but I definitely will now. I also (forgive me, Father!) have not yet seen Fleabag. I will, I will, I will!

• Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movie The Bitter Tears of Petra Van Kantis one of the best films ever made. And also watch Lars Von Trier’s Dogville for another sort of disorientation.

Until next time friends, follow your desires!

Why we need the dark imagination. Me + Sarah Maria Griffin on AEWCH 93

10 Dec

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
Let’s enter the mystery together: You, me, and dark science fiction writer Sarah Maria Griffin. Let’s talk about violence and evil and owls. Let’s think about David Lynch’s uncanny power, and how magic works, how horror works. Let’s approach the paranormal, the dreadful, the uncommon.
Sarah is the author of multiple books, most recently the excellent novel, Other Words For Smoke, about a brother and sister encounter the sinister and strange forces in their aunt’s house. The book just won the Eason Teen/Young Adult Book of the Year 2019 here in Ireland. Her previous novel, Spare And Found Parts chronicles a post-apocalyptic world with a hopeful girl at its center, trying to move humanity forward while her machine heart ticks away.
Sarah and I had a profound and potent conversation, and after we finished the episode, we continued to talk about the entire world, and love, and fortune. And then all the lights on my block switched off. Now that’s a powerful connection!
This is one of my favorite episodes of AEWCH ever. As Sarah says at the end, we “move immediately past…small talk.” Couldn’t ask for anything more.
So excited to share it with you!
We discuss:
  • Magic, the paranormal and why they’re so troubling for people
  • Twin Peaks as evil and threat and occult power
  • Horror is No-One-Believes-You, Fantasy is We-All-Knew-This-Was-Real-Even-Though-You’re-Just-Learning-About-It
  • Why investigating mystery can fuck you up
  • Not-knowing as an act of compassion
  • Sarah’s leap in style and vulnerability in writing
  • Following desire and characters
  • The unendingness of Hell
  • Why questions are always appropriate tools
  • The tarot as anatomy (and why it gives us unsolicited dick pics sometimes)
  • What a world of caring about subjectivity looks like (and why Freud got that right)
  • Why there is no metric for violation or resilience
  • Fiction as a generator of compassion and empathy
  • The importance of speaking poetically
• For more on Sarah, read her entertaining and thoughtful one-year memoir, Not Lost: A Story About Leaving Home. Here are here contributions to the legendary Irish lit magazine, The Stinging Fly. And here’s Sarah talking about empathy.
TP• I’m sure you’ve all seen Twin Peaks, but have you seen the newest season? It’s utterly terrifying and completely challenging. It is a true act of occult intensity. The episode we talk a lot about it Part 8. 
• Sarah mentions the eclectic and wonder-filled story collection Her Body And Other Parties by the great Carmen Maria Machado. She also gives a shout out to Leslie Jamison’s poignant collection of essays, The Empathy Exams.
James Tate was a Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning poet. He was an infrequent but happy friend of mine, as well. He died in 2015.
• If you’re American, you’ve probably heard of the spooky immersive theater experience, Sleep No More. If not, check it out.
• I really love the episode I did with experimental punk musician and author Tim Kinsella – AEWCH 43. He’s a hero of mine, and I feel blessed to have had the conversation. I posted a playlist on spotify of Tim’s music to go along with that episodes. It demonstrates his breadth and strangeness and inventiveness as an artist.
KD• A couple of first lines come quick on each other’s heels. First, I mention the first line of Sarah’s novel, Spare And Found Parts: “Just under the surface of the waves where the ocean met the land, a hand without a body reached for someone to grab it.” And then I mention the chilling first line of Kathryn Davis’s novel, Hell. “Something is wrong in the house.”
• Want to read Alejandro Jodorowsky on the tarot? Read his book on it, co-authored with Marianne Costa.
• I mention, briefly, a man who was harassing Sarah and other women in Ireland, and how she was compassionate in her response. For a quick summary of what happened, here’s an article in the Irish Times about it.
• There’s a great book by anthroposophist and inkling Owen Barfield on the move away from poetics and towards flat literalism. It’s titled Poetic Diction: A Study In Meaning.
Until next time,

Witches, Fairies, Violence, Ireland: Fiction Writer Kevin Barry on AEWCH 86!

8 Oct

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What an honor to talk to one of the greatest living fiction writers, Kevin Barry. And to talk with him not about “how do you get your ideas?” or “what’s your writing practice like”? But instead about witches, healers, fairies, violence,  the radical history of Ireland, and more.

Kevin’s latest novel, The Night Boat To Tangier , was longlisted for the Booker Prize. His novel before that, Beatlbone follows John Lennon on a mystical vision quest to find an island off the Irish coast. It’s a novel so strange and moving that you wouldn’t have to even like The Beatles to be caught up in its weird web.

Also, Kevin reads his absolutely brutal story, “A Cruelty” in his excellent, sinister Christian Bale-esque reading voice.

Apologies – the episode gets cut off just as we start discussing Twin Peaks. But we only spoke for about five more minutes after that. And besides, I’ll have Kevin back on. This is a great conversation and I absolutely want to continue it.

We talk:

  • Kevin’s superstitions
  • Animism and fiction
  • Irish writers and writers of the American South
  • how accents change fiction
  • How we add to the landscape as we walk through it
  • Kevin’s encounters with
  • Writing and dreams
  • The fairies and The Pixies
  • When Kevin was healed by witchcraft before playing video games
  • The non-linearity of time
  • Primal scream therapy in Ireland
  • Evil’s home in art