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SHORTIES: Scott Alexander Hess & Joe Okonkwo on the Allure of Short Fiction

September 16 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Scott Alexander Hess and Joe Okonkwo discuss their latest books. Hess has a volume containing two novellas—The Root of Everything and Lightning. Okonkwo has published a collection of short stories called Kiss the Scars on the Back of My Neck. After reading selections from their books, the authors will engage in a spirited conversation: How does writing short(er) fiction compare to composing full-length novels?

Patrick E. Horrigan, author of Pennsylvania Station, calls Hess’s novellas “Historical fiction at its cutting-edge best,” while noted author William J. Mann has lauded Okonkwo’s collection as “A remarkable examination of the human condition.”


Safety protocol:

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are limiting the number of attendees to 30. Registration on Eventbrite is required in order to attend.

Click here to register

If you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 in the days leading up to the event, we ask you to please cancel your reservation so that others can attend. If all 30 reservations have been claimed and you would like to be placed on a wait list, please write to us at

Please note that masks are required at all times inside The LGBT Community Center, where the Bureau is located.




Both Scott Alexander Hess’s The Root of Everything and Lightning: Two Novellas as well as Joe Okonkwo’s Kiss the Scars on the Back of My Neck are available for purchase from the Bureau. Click on either title above to purchase on our online store where you have the option to have books shipped to you or to pick up at our physical store. Books will also be available for purchase at the event.

Thank you for supporting the Bureau by purchasing books from us!


Suggested donation of $5 to benefit the Bureau’s work. We will pass a bag at the start of the event.

All are welcome to join, with or without a donation.


Scott Alexander Hess is the author of five novels, including Skyscraper, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, and The Butcher’s Sons, which was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015. His writing has appeared in HuffPost, Genre Magazine, The Fix, Thema Literary Review, and elsewhere. Hess co-wrote “Tom in America,” an award-winning short film, starring Sally Kirkland and Burt Young. He teaches fiction writing at Gotham Writers Workshop and curates Hot Lit, an LGBTQ+ themed monthly newsletter. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Hess lives in New York City with his husband.


Joe Okonkwo’s debut novel Jazz Moon won the Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His short stories have appeared in Global City Review, The Piltdown Review, The New Engagement, Storychord, Love Stories from Africa, and Strength. His story “Cleo” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Joe served as Prose Editor for Newtown Literary and he edited Best Gay Stories 2017. He is represented by the Baldi Literary Agency.



Bureau of General Services—Queer Division


Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
208 West 13th Street, Room 210
New York, NY 10011 United States
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