Gordon Haber

Writer, editor, mediocre guitarist

Literary Selfie, 2018

South Korea, October 2018.

When you work in the arts, you’re always second-guessing yourself, wishing you produced more, earned more, etc. That’s why at the end of the year I like to look back at what I accomplished. Because while usually it’s less than what I wanted, it’s often more than I had thought.

I realize that for many this practice smacks of attention-seeking or bragging, to which I say, “You’re goddamn right.”

Fiction. This year, I was lucky enough to receive a Queens Arts Fund grant, which helped me move forward on my novel-in-progress about the Korean War. I was very lucky indeed to have a residency at South Korea’s Toji Cultural Center (pic above), where I met some wonderful people and ate copious quantities of kimchi and tiny anchovies.

Religion Writing. I interviewed Arthur Jones, the Nazi candidate for Congress, for the Jewish Chronicle. I tried to wrap my head around Christian support for Trump for Religion Dispatches. I wrote about the dangers of ethno-nationalism and the Shared Sacred Sites exhibit for the Forward. I reviewed Hulu’s Waco miniseries for Religion & Politics.

Teaching. Still having a blast teaching at the School of the New York Times.

Dutch Kills Press. This year we published a print version of Jason Antoon’s wonderful collection of short fiction, The Cursed Frog and Other Stories.

If you’re still reading this post, wishing you all the best for 2019. Heck, I wish you all the best even if you’re not still reading. If there is anything you want to share about your own accomplishments in 2018, I’m all ears.

Five Questions for the Crazy Rich Asians

Look at these crazy kids
  1. Freedom House rates Singapore as “partly free” and its press as “not free.” Given that Nick’s family enjoys a leading role in Singaporean business affairs, is it reasonable to assume that the Young family is complicit with an authoritarian government?
  2. Given the conspicuous overconsumption of fossils fuels—via multiple helicopters, an Audi R8, a shipping vessel, and the like—is it fair to say that Crazy Rich Asians are not concerned about the dangers of global warming to the island nation of Singapore?
  3. About 10% of the population of Singapore is of South Asian origin. And yet the only South Asians in the movie seem to be either valets are bodyguards. Is this because they are not “crazy rich?”
  4. “Rainbow sheep” cousin Oliver is gay. And yet same-sex sexual activity in Singapore is illegal, even between consenting adults. Is Oliver’s effusiveness merely a cover for his sadness and fear?
  5. Thousands of foreign workers in Singapore have been paid less than promised, or not paid at all. Why does this not seem to be an issue for Rachel, an economist?

Happy birthday, Polska

My family on both sides came to America from Poland. But American Jews often don’t have a sense of the countries of their forebears. I grew curious about Poland, and after reading a few books I realized that it was (and is) a fascinating place—and that I really wanted to go there.

I was lucky enough to earn a Fulbright fellowship to Poland. I spent a year traveling, meeting people, and eating truckloads of pierogi. I wrote a book about it too. My agent at the time couldn’t sell it—according to one editor, it was “too Jewish for the Poles and too Polish for the Jews.” 

I thought about the manuscript when I remembered that today marks 100 years of Polish independence. So if you want to read it, I can send you an e-book, gratis. Just email me: gordonhaber at g mail.

It’s a portrait of a different time. Poland in the early 2000s had just entered NATO and was joining the EU; there was a sense of openness and optimism. It makes me sad to consider that’s gone now—but also feel grateful that I got to experience it.

Anyway hit me up if you’re interested.

The Honest Resume (updated for 2018)

 

Gordon Haber
Writer, Editor, Mediocre Guitarist

Education

2002: MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction, from Columbia University if you must know, which I am still paying off.

1990: BA in English and Fine Arts (double major!) from a state school (Albany). My friends and I had fun.

Writing Stuff

Religion Writer for outlets like Religion Dispatches, Religion & Politics, Forward, Tablet, and Killing the Buddha. This is really interesting work: lately I’ve been looking at the intersection of conservatism, religion, and politics (clips here, here, and here; more clips here).

Fiction Writer of UGGS for Gaza, a collection of short stories and novellas about young (and not-so-young) people in varying stages of distress, which is a very funny and moving book that you should buy immediately. Currently working on stories about the Korean War. I also wrote a novel that a publisher tried to destroy, and if you buy me a drink I’ll tell you the whole painful story.

Business Writer of native content for the nice people at City Point and Rockefeller Center and German tourism. Also editing for an IT company, and a white paper on credit risk for a financial info company, among (many) other clients.

Teaching Stuff

Instructor at the School of the New York Times. Now, this is a fantastic gig because (a) all the students want to be there and (b) I get to teach creative writing and (c) I get to do a lot of fun stuff with the students like go to restaurants! And museums! And Central Park! 2016-present.

Adjunct College Instructor at various institutions of higher education in New York City and Los Angeles, which paid starvation wages but were often quite rewarding due to the students, which is a cliché but true, and there’s not a snowball’s chance I’m doing this ever again, unless you pay me three times as much. 2000 to 2014.

Publishing Stuff

Publisher and Editor at Dutch Kills Press, a micropress I started in 2013 to help get interesting work out into the world, such as:

Skills

  • E-Books. Making e-books, selling e-books, consulting about e-books, thinking that it might lead to a nice day job, but so far it’s only led to some extra income, not that I’m complaining.
  • Writing and editing. Like every other schmuck in New York.
  • Languages: Bad French, execrable Polish.

Awards

  • Fulbright Fellowship to Poland, 2002. One glorious year of traveling, note-taking and writing, which resulted in a travelogue that was rejected by 30 of American’s finest publishers.
  • MacDowell Colony Residency, 2007. Two glorious months in New Hampshire that I hoped would herald a new phase of my career, which it did not, although I did meet my wife and now we have a son, so it wasn’t like great things didn’t come out of it, plus I totally hung out with Michael Chabon.
  • Queens Arts Council Award, 2008, 2018. They give you money! For writing!

Professional Organizations

  • International Association of Religion Journalists
  • Religion News Association

Current Medication

  • One aspirin per day to prevent heart disease
  • Red wine
  • Xanax (when flying)

Fears

  • Global warming
  • Irrelevance
  • Clowns

Five Gordon Haber Facts That Will Blow Your Mind!

Buy me!

 

  1. You can buy his book!
  2. He teaches at the School of the New York Times!
  3. He runs the micropress Dutch Kills Press!
  4. He writes about religion for various online magazines!
  5. He tweets here, and occasionally his jokes are funny!

 

Greetings New Visitors

Yusuf (Joseph) reunited with his father Ya’qub (Jacob)

 

I checked analytics for the first time in months, and to my surprise there’s been a spike in visitors. Welcome! About me:

  • I write about religion and culture for various magazines. Here’s my latest piece for the Forward on a fascinating exhibition on the strong connections between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  • I am the author of the story collection Uggs for Gaza.
  • This summer I will be teaching creative writing, among other things, at the School of the New York Times.
  • I run the micropublishing company Dutch Kills Press.
  • I am not the wolf expert Gordon Haber who died in a plane crash in Alaska.

Recent Journalism and Fictioning!

I’m the handsome one in the foreground.

 

Journalism

For the Jewish Chronicle, a UK newspaper, I wrote about:

Fictioning 

  • I was lucky enough to read and be interviewed on The Other Stories, Ilana Masad’s killer podcast,
  • I was awarded my second(!) Queens Arts Fund grant to work on my novel-in-progress,
  • and my story collection, Uggs for Gaza, is as ever available on Amazon.

 

New Writings on Religion and American Cuture

I’ve been quite busy in 2018 — working on some new fiction about the Korean War and digging up new material for Dutch Kills Press. Below I’ve collected links my most recent nonfiction on religion in my beautiful crazypants country.

  • Here is my piece dissecting evangelical support for Donald Trump. (Spoiler alert: it’s easier to understand if you accept that it’s devoid of logic.)
  • This is my response to the legal scholar who took issue with my piece about the Museum of the Bible. It’s fascinating that so many of the responses to my MOTB piece take issue with arguments that I never made.
  • This is my review of Waco, the Paramount miniseries on the violent demise of David Koresh.

This Is Nice

The nice people at Commaful have selected this very website as one of the Top Author Websites of 2017! A lovely unexpected surprise.


Some Interesting Stuff I Wrote to Read and Enjoy Before the GOP Tax Bill Reduces Us All to Foraging for Food

  1. For Religion & Politics, I interviewed the authors of Bible Nation, a new book about the Green family and their Hobby Lobby shenanigans.
  2. Then for the Forward, I went to D.C. and checked out the Greens’ new Museum of the Bible. (Spoiler alert: they got a lot wrong.)
  3. My story collection UGGS FOR GAZA is for sale here. People tell me it makes a great holiday gift.
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