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Chad Koch

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BIO/CV

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Chad Koch is co-founder of the award-winning LGBTQ press and journal, Foglifter. He was assistant editor on Lawfully Wedded Wives: Rethinking Marriage in the 21st Century. His work appeared in North American Review, The Madison Review, Midwestern Gothic, Duende, Into the Void, ElevenEleven and others. Two stories have been nominated for Pushcarts, and one story won the Leo Litwak Award from Transfer Magazine

 

He received an MFA from San Francisco State University where he was awarded the Miriam Ylvisaker Fiction Fellowship. He was a fellow at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. He has spent the pandemic years completing his novel, What You Become and has a short story collection in revision tentatively titled Lost Boys.

Editorial Positions:

Co-Founder

Foglifter Journal and Press – 2016 to Present

Winner of two Pushcart Prizes, PEN Best Debut Fiction, Finalist for Best American Essay

Lambda Literary Finalist 2019 & 2020 for Best Queer Anthology

2020 Whiting Award Recipient

 

Co-Editor-in-Chief

Fourteen Hills, 2011 – 2013

 

Assistant Editor

Lawfully Wedded Wives: Rethinking Marriage in the 21st Century, Spuyten Duyvil


Editor-in-Chief

Transfer, 2009 - 2010

 

WRITING

2019:

‘Switchblade’, Duende, Sex(ualities) Issue

‘Writing the Midwest Series’ Midwestern Gothic Online

2018: 

‘Feet First’ Into the Void, Issue 9

‘Lost Boys’ Midwestern Gothic, Winter 2017/2018

2017:

‘Second Act’ East Bay Review – Nominated for a Pushcart (archive currently not available)

‘What You Become (novel excerpt part 2)’ The Racket, Family Edition

‘The Intern’, Flash Fiction Magazine, July 2017

2016:

‘Following Your Character Down the Rabbit Hole’ North American Review Online

‘Shapes, or How to Get a Boyfriend During Marching Band Practice’ Madison Review, Fall 2016

‘What You Become (novel excerpt part 1)’, Red Light Lit, Beast Crawl Edition

‘Diversity Training’ Eleven Eleven {1111}, Issue 22

2015:

‘Equinox’ North American Review Volume 300.1 (2015), nominated for a Pushcart

2014:

‘The Snow Fort’ Transfer, Issue 107

2013:

‘Falling Leaves’ Transfer, Issue 105 - Winner of the Leo Litwak Fiction Award

 
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WHAT YOU BECOME

What You Become, is a literary, gay coming-of-age novel set in 1990's Wisconsin that explores serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s (ficitonalized as James Wahler) effect on the protagonist’s burgeoning gay identity. We follow Will as he begins a precarious sexual relationship with an older boy on the evening of Dahmer’s prison sentencing, in which Will conflates his new desires as the same as Dahmer’s. Will searches for gay role models as Dahmer’s notoriety hits a fever pitch, but ends up with a serial killer obsessed boyfriend. This continues until Dahmer’s sudden death, each relationship leaving Will wondering if he was the victim or the killer in each. Themes of race, power, class, social status, HIV/AIDs, and serial killer fandom are explored throughout as Will unravels his identity from the shadow of Dahmer.

 

BLURBS

"Chad Koch’s What You Become probes the question of its title. What does one become when secrecy is the only choice in one’s burgeoning adolescence and sexual awakening? When one is deemed at-risk for a deadly virus? A virus politically weaponized as a moral punishment against its victims? When queerness is conflated with the criminal, and conservative politicians--elected to protect--ignore? Set during serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer's trial, Koch’s protagonist, young Will, lives in central south Wisconsin, less than 100 miles and a straight line from Milwaukee, where Dahmer preyed on boys. Koch’s novel offers an important, riveting, artful exploration of a particular community, time and place that resonates and reverberates--and illuminates--our human concerns  of today"

-Matthew Clark Davison,

author of Doubting Thomas

"The main character in What You Become, Will, is written with such breathtaking candor, vulnerability, clarity, and life. His youth is so vividly revealed through his questioning, through his uncertainty and vulnerability. Will is so fully developed, so real, so fully formed in my imagination. I so clearly envision him growing up in a precarious world, exploring and learning about his sexuality, trying to navigate the incomprehensible world of teenager-dom, and who must do all of this while contending with learning about the brutalities of a serial killer. I am drawn to complex exploration and journey the protagonist must make as he contends with homophobia/ics that tries to connect homosexuality with the brutal acts of a male serial killer who butchered young boys."

-Nancy Au, author of Spider Love Song and Other Stories

Upcoming Events

  • San Francisco Festival of Literature
    500 Terry A Francois Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA
    Mar 17, 2023, 7:00 PM
    500 Terry A Francois Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA