Alexander Weinstein
Award-Winning Author & Director of The Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing


Alexander Weinstein is the Director of The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and the author of the short story collection Children of the New World (Picador 2016). He is a dynamic and passionate reader, speaker, and educator, who has presented at venues form big stage to more intimate conferences, including The PEN World Voices Festival, Google, NPR, The Copenhagen Writer’s School, and universities throughout the United States. His fiction and presentations explore topics including speculative fiction and storytelling, the role of literature and creative writing in the 21 st Century, and how our ever-growing dependence on new technologies (such as social networking, robotics, and virtual reality) is changing the shape of our society.

 

Alexander Weinstein’s debut collection, Children of the New World, was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, NPR, Google, Electric Literature, and was featured by Entertainment Weekly as a Must-Read Book of 2016. Barbara Seaman, in her Booklist review, calls Weinstein’s book “Mind-blowing…In the vein of George Saunders, Rick Bass, and Alex Shakar, Weinstein writes with unfailing sensitivity and supercharged imagination, creating nuanced stories harboring a molten core of astutely satirical inquiries. Sparking disquieting thoughts about how vulnerable our brains are to electronic manipulation . . .Weinstein’s brilliantly original and provocative tales explore the malleability of memory and self, the fragility of intimacy and nature, forging a ravishingly powerful, cautionary vision.”

 

Alexander Weinstein’s writing and interviews have appeared in Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, World Literature Today, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2017, and Best American Experimental Writing 2017. He is a recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and his fiction has been awarded the Lamar York, Gail Crump, Hamlin Garland, and New Millennium Prizes. He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and a freelance editor.

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Picador

An extraordinarily resonant and prophetic collection of speculative short fiction for our tech-savvy era by debut author Alexander Weinstein. Children of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarmingly intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopian future of instant connection and technological gratification that belies an unbridgeable human distance, while others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster, which they must work to rebuild as we once did millennia ago.

21st Century Technology Following a book reading, Weinstein discusses how our modern society is coming to grips with an ever-growing dependence on technology. From Facebook to Instagram, Snap Chat to Tinder, the world is finding itself deeply immersed in a cybernetic future which was once the fodder for science fiction. Alexander’s talks focus on topics including social media addiction, online dating, technology’s effects on the family, interpersonal communication in an age of emojis, and much more.
Speculative Fiction & Fantasy In this talk, Weinstein leads the audience into an exploration of the genres of Speculative Fiction & Fantasy and their impact on contemporary fiction. Using examples from his own work and the work of contemporary writers, he charts a path from creation stories of indigenous cultures to the futuristic realms dreamt up by modern authors, covering the central elements of fictional craft needed to produce powerful speculative fiction.
Politics & Fiction: Writing in the Age of Trump Ever since the election, there has been an increased fascination with dystopian literature. George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, became a sudden bestseller in the weeks that followed the recent election, and a proliferation of apocalyptic and dystopian novels, television shows, and films have become increasingly popular in recent years. In this talk, Weinstein explores how politics and fiction intersect, and how dystopian fiction can help make sense of modern-day politics.
Spirituality and Writing Across history, in creation tales, world mythology, and the mystical poets of both ancient and modern times, there exists a rich connection between storytelling and spirituality. Alexander discusses the ways we can use spiritual traditions to influence the process of creative writing. In his talk, he focuses specifically on the intersection of Judaism, Buddhism, and Shamanism, to discuss faith and religion’s relationship to storytelling, fiction writing, and fantasy/magical realism.
Dystopian & Utopian Visions of the Future After a book reading, Alexander Weinstein leads a discussion of dystopian fiction and how literature can work to impact the larger society. He explores the narrative structures we have used to make sense of our world, examining in particular how dystopian tales have become popular in the late 20th and early 21st Century. He then delves into the emerging genre of Utopian fiction, or narratives based on hope/awe/joy, and the challenges of creating these new narratives.


Check out Alexander Weinstein’s in-depth interview with Rain Taxi.  Learn more in Alexander Weinstein’s interview with The Rolling Stone Visit Alexander Weinstein’s website here Read reviews of Alexander Weinstein’s Children of the New World on the NY Times and The Seattle Times. Check out two more fantastic reviews of Children of the New World in The Atlantic and BOMB Magazine.

"The University of Central Missouri used Alexander Weinstein's book Children of the New World for its common reader text in the Fall of 2017, culminating in Alexander's visit. His presentation was attended by 500+ students, faculty, and community members, and he gave an impassioned talk about the presence of digital technology in our lives, with attendees describing Weinstein's talk as "illuminating," "surprising" and "engaging." I would invite Mr. Weinstein to campus again without hesitation."
- Phong Nguyen, One Campus/One Book University of Central Missouri

"Alexander Weinstein was a dynamic and insightful guest speaker at the 2017 PEN World Voices Festival in New York City. I first heard him speak on NPR and was immediately impressed by his compelling answers which correlated his collection of dystopian short stories with contemporary issues and the influence of technology on society. When I invited him to participate on a panel at the festival, I knew he could challenge audiences with his work and ideas — which he certainly did and more."
- Ram Devineni, Pen World Voices Festival

"Alexander Weinstein gave a reading sponsored by the Graduate Writers Association of the University of Missouri - St. Louis. The chosen venue was filled to capacity, and Alexander read one of the longer stories from his award-winning collection, Children of the New World. He then graciously answered questions in regards to his creative and editorial methods, his experiences with the publishing process, and his inspirations such as technology and science. He kept the room enraptured throughout the event, and the audience was left with a lasting impression of having been both entertained and provoked to deep reflection."
- Bridget McDonald, University of Missouri-St Louis.

"Alexander Weinstein captivated over 75 students, faculty, and staff when he read from his collection Children of the New World during a visit to the University of Central Arkansas. His reading style engaged the audience on multiple levels as he used both voice and body to share his work."
- Sandy Longhorn, University of Central Arkansas

"Alexander was an extremely dynamic and generous visiting writer. He thoroughly engaged our students and the university community with his fiction and his thoughtful answers to their many questions. Everyone raved about his visit for a long time afterward."
- Michael Kardos and Catherine Pierce, co-directors of creative writing, Mississippi State University

Reviews for Children of the New World
“Touching on virtual families, climate change, implanted memories, and more, Weinstein’s debut collection of digital-age sci-fi stories is scary, recognizable, heartbreaking, witty, and absolutely human…. This is mind-bending stuff. Weinstein’s collection is full of spot-on prose, wicked humor, and heart.”
Publisher's Weekly
 
“Mind-blowing… In the vein of George Saunders, Rick Bass, and Alex Shakar, Weinstein writes with stirring particularity, unfailing sensitivity, and supercharged imagination, creating nuanced stories harboring a molten core of astutely satirical inquiries. Sparking disquieting thoughts about how vulnerable our brains are to electronic manipulation and how eventually consciousness itself might be colonized by corporate and governmental entities, Weinstein’s brilliantly original, witty, and provocative tales explore the malleability of memory and self, the fragility of intimacy and nature, forging a ravishingly powerful, cautionary vision.”
Booklist