Creative Writing MFA Alumni Spotlight: Jace Brittain ('15)

Author: Paul Cunningham

Jace Brittain Author Photo

"Brittain's novel is a dazzling, dexterous one, expertly fusing dark humor, slapstick comedy, and laugh-out-loud puns, while simultaneously pulsing with a tenderness and a sincerity that make its twisty, slimy corridors feel unexpectedly cozy. For all its subversions and disorientations, it's a text you somehow want to curl up inside of, like a snail into its shell."

— Alyssa Quinn, DIAGRAM

Jace Brittain's debut novel Sorcererer was released in 2022 by Schism Press. Joyelle McSweeney (author of Toxicon and Arachne) calls Brittain's debut a "feverish yarn set in the cartilaginous environs of the ear." Lance Olsen (author of My Red Heaven) writes, “Brittain’s un-novel announces the arrival of an important new voice in the post-genre wilderness.” Joanna Ruocco (author of Field Glass) describes the novel as a "an unbecoming book, a book of slime-enciphered messages, language fluxing from the sentences' cracked shells." Mike Corrao (author of Gut Text) likens Sorcerer to a "network of interconnected prose poems." In a review published in online journal DIAGRAM, Alyssa Quinn calls Sorcererer a "love story," providing close reading of the novel's focal character Felix (a patient at the Menlo Tuberculosis Sanitorium).

As revealed in the most recent episode of Joe Bielecki's Writing the Rapids podcast, Brittain communicates that they are open to the varying critical interpretations of their (un)novel. With Bielecki, they also discuss their experience as a student in Notre Dame's MFA in Creative Writing program, citing time to write as a major benefit. "For me, I had some ideas about writing, but I needed time. I needed space. And I needed collaboration." Brittain also discusses translation and their co-editorial role (with fellow MFA alum Rachel Zavecz) at Carrion Bloom Books. "We want to enjoy the feeling of the paper," says Brittain. "We like sewing. We have affection for the physical object. We want [the chapbooks] to be as widely available as possible as well."

Since Carrion Bloom Books' inception in 2020, Brttain and Zavecz have published six chapbooks from poets and translators including Paul Cunningham (The Inmost); Natalia Rubanova, Rachel Daum (Letters to Robot Werther); Hannah V Warren (Southern Gothic Corpse Machine); leia penina wilson (call the necromancer), Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, Katherine M. Hedeen (midnight minutes); and Carleen Tibbets' dossier for the postverbal/. Digital copies of out-of-print chapbooks are also available from the press. From in-person events at the annual AWP conference to the virtual landscape of Zoom, the co-editors also continue to host a variety of poetry readings. 


Jace Brittain is the author of the novel Sorcererer (Schism 2022). Their writing, poetry, and translations have been featured in ANMLY, Dream Pop, Ballast, Snail Trail Press, and Deluge. As a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah, they study fiction, illegibility, and intersections between digital, animal, and ecological writing. In collaboration with the poet and book artist Rachel Zavecz, they run the small press Carrion Bloom Books.