December 6, 2004

Howard Hunt

For reasons too complicated to go into right now, Howard Hunt must write ten short stories back-to-back from October 2004 until August 2005 so that his posh New York agent will have something to sell when she returns fashionably tanned from Biarritz or Tuscany or Provance or wherever the American literati will be vacationing next year. Ten stories. Back to back.

A veritable marathon of short story writing for Mr Hunt, who dreams of tennis courts and lobster bisque, but contents himself instead with watery goulash and knedlicky from "Na Konci Sveta," an authentic but kind of terrible Czech hospoda conveniently located within staggering distance from his writing headquarters in glamorous Vrsovice, Prague.

Mr Hunt, a quiet, unassuming Australian gentleman is a minor player in New York literary circles and the author of two novels, The Bishop (Random House, 1999) and Young Men On Fire (Scribner, 2003), and while he is not exactly thrilled by what basically amounts to a ten-month goulash-and-deadline-driven monster jam o’ fiction writing, he can feel the cold steel of invisible gun pressed firmly against his temple and has vowed to quietly and uncomplainingly write and - this just in - read extracts of his stories at Alchemy on the first Monday of every month until the story collection is completed and sold.

Prague-based fiction fans familiar with the excellent English language bookstore, Shakespeare and Son (in Krymska Street, perpendicular to Donska), will be delighted to know that that Mr Hunt's local hospoda and defacto living room, 'Na Konci Sveta' is just around the corner, and in the unlikely event of the whisper-quiet and bravely stoic writer crapping out on one of these monthly Alchemy deadlines in any way, shape of form, the beers will be flowing on Mr Hunt's tab at NKS until the offending short story is put out of its misery.