Bennett Sims was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is the author of the novel A Questionable Shape, which received the Bard Fiction Prize and was a finalist for The Believer Book Award, and the short story collection White Dialogues which was named one of the Best Books of the Year by Bookforum. His stories have appeared in A Public Space, Conjunctions, Electric Literature, Tin House, Zoetrope: All-Story, and the 2015 Pushcart Prize Anthology. He has taught fiction at Bard College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is a winner of the Rome Prize for Literature 2018-19.
* Winner of the Rome Prize for Literature 2018-19
* Named one of the Best Books of the Year --Bookforum"A brilliant... story collection by possibly the smartest and most inventive writer of his... generation.
--Tony Tulathimutte, Bookforum, "Best Books of the Year""One of the most genuinely terrifying, brilliant short story collections of the past decade. These stories are so smart and so unsettling; every sentence will unnerve you. He's kind of like if Alfred Hitchcock and Brian Evenson raised a baby with David Foster Wallace and Nicholson Baker. Sims should be a household name in horror."
--Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House, Lit Hub "26 Books From the Last Decade that More People Should Read""Sims's debut story collection elegantly explores the ordinary and fantastic terrors lurking in the deepest recesses of the psyche... This is a cerebral collection for fans of smart, philosophical fiction that is not afraid to follow thought experiments to their most chilling conclusions."
--Publishers Weekly"Anyone who admires such pyrotechnics of language will find 21st-century echoes of Edgar Allan Poe in Sims's portraits of paranoia and delusion, with their zodiacal narrowing and the maddening tungsten spin of their narratives."
--New York Times Book Review"These 11 cerebral, uncanny stories marry horror, pop culture, metafiction, and cinema, and the result is a collection unlike any other in recent memory. If you like David Foster Wallace, Godzilla, or both, you need this book."
--The Week"There are some clever literary stunts scattered throughout this collection, but there's no doubting the inventiveness of the author's prose, pacing, and ability to build tension and occasionally dispel it with laughter... A deft collection of spooky fables that pivots from classic stylings to postmodern irony."
--Kirkus"Showcasing an ingenious and darkly subversive mind, White Dialogues is a head-trip worth taking."
--Shelf Awareness"In this wise, witty and often deeply moving collection of stories Bennett Sims proves himself to be a master of many forms. He can find sinister obsession in a lawn mower or a scrabble board, he can find life and death in a lizard. He takes his reader to the moon--"Not even death is an outside for the dead"--and back. He is the heir to the Nabokov of Pale Fire even as his voice is entirely his own. The title story, "White Dialogues," serves as an emblem for the book as a whole. Here is a writer who is always directing our attention to what we have failed to see, giving voice, beautifully, unnervingly to the unsaid."
--Margot Livesey "White Dialogues is fantastic, and the story "Destroy All Monsters" is a masterpiece. Bennett Sims's work shows us--through the intricate decay of his characters, the intricate assembly of his monsters--why horror has become the most philosophical genre. He shows us the occult link between imagination and death."
--Michael Clune "The brilliant, austere stories of White Dialogues are, in their marrow, horror stories: the terrible anxiety of thought loops, the certainty of fate, the specter of death, the inescapability of one's own mind, the monstrosity of human impulses. With the uncanny perception of Nicholson Baker, the formal playfulness of David Foster Wallace, and the domestic terror of Shirley Jackson, Bennett Sims wrangles fictional forms, pop culture, and philosophy to his own dark ends. Incantatory, cerebral, and profoundly unnerving, White Dialogues is pure, perverse pleasure. Sims is one of our best early-career fiction writers, and this is a collection worth celebrating."
--Carmen Maria Machado"In White Dialogues, Bennett Sims unleashes more of the dazzling intellectual firepower I loved in his debut, A Questionable Shape. Sims' vision of what is horrifying is both engaged with the long and varied history of that genre and unique within it. His work is deeply philosophical and human, turning the known and familiar so that we can see it from new angles and find ourselves refracted in the strangeness of others' minds. Is Sims writing about monsters, or thoughts, or the monsters of our thoughts? This question--and this dark, uncanny collection of stories--feels vital, especially right now. A brutally smart book."
--V.V. Ganeshananthan "The Zen poet Ikkyu used to run through town holding a human skull aloft like a lantern. These stories are that lantern, a collection of memento mori chilling, timeless, and deeply satisfying to read. There is no escape from the awareness of death here; in these stories, the hidden picture is always the monster in plain sight, the call is coming from inside the house, and the house is that circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. The voices Sims summons are so persuasive that you, the reader, become implicated in their frantic logic, trapped with the narrators in their interpretative cages. This relentlessness is mitigated by the Melvillean heft of Sims' prose: the depth of his attention to the world and to the making of sentences, the monumentalness. He is an anatomist of horror, but an anatomist of great beauty and wit."
--Amy ParkerPraise for Bennett Sims's award-winning debut novel, A Questionable Shape
* Bard Fiction Prize 2014
* The Believer Book Award Finalist
* One of the Best Books of 2013 --Complex Magazine, Book Riot, Slate, The L Magazine, NPR's 'On Point', Salon"Equal parts David Foster Wallace and Richard Matheson [...] A Questionable Shape is certainly the first Proustian zombie novel, but hopefully not the last horror novel of ideas."
--Slate"[An] extraordinary novel."
--Los Angeles Review of Books"A Questionable Shape is a rewriting of the genre in rather literal sense. Sims's zombie novel perhaps contains the highest proportion of great descriptions of light per page since Proust. The zombie installs at the heart of the novel a perspective from which the polymorphous dynamics of the human experience of light disappear."
--Los Angeles Review of Books"Sims allows us at least a glimpse of the monstrous weight we all lug on our individual trudges through daily life."
--The Collagist"Ambitious [and] thoughtfully rendered. Sims's debut is essential reading."