Eric Boyd is a fiction writer living in Pittsburgh. His writing has appeared in Guernica, Joyland, and Hobart, as well as the anthologies Prison Noir and Words Without Walls. He has served as a guest editor for The Fourth River literary journal and is the editor of The Pittsburgh Anthology. Boyd briefly attended Maharishi International University in Iowa before eventually receiving an MFA from The Writer's Foundry in New York. Boyd is currently working on a novel about modern-day freight train hoppers.
1. Life Sentences: Writings from Inside an American Prison Having served a little time which resulted in my winning a PEN America prison writing award and now being a mentor for that program, I was glad to discover this title —not even knowing Belt had published it when I first heard of it—because the ongoing work required for us to look into the American prison system remains crucial. The Elsinore Bennu Think Tank for Restorative Justice's mission to heal both victims and offenders of crime is explored well in this slim volume.
2. The Pittsburgh Neighborhood Guidebook Pittsburgh continues to be a city of contradictions in the neighborhood guide. Having had the honor of editing Ben Gwin's devastating work in The Pittsburgh Anthology, it was so exciting to see him edit this collection of work featuring powerful stories by folks like Brian Broome, Sherri Flick, Lori Jakiela, and Brittany Hailer. This collection walks the high-wire fearlessly as it balances hyper local flavor with universal themes anyone can connect with. A fine work.
3. So You Want to Publish a Book? I'm a writer who is incredibly interested in how the sausage is made, so Belt mastermind's Anne Trubek had me hooked when I cracked this one open. The writing world is a strange and often archaic terrain, but Trubek breaks a lot of it down in pithy yet easy-to-read prose. I don't think you have to be a mechanic to like cars or a director to like going to the movies, and so even if a reader has no interest in writing or publishing themselves, this is still a fascinating look