Jason Ockert, author of multiple short story collections, releases his debut novel Wasp Box this February. The novel is the first publication from Panhandler Books, a new series launched this spring by Panhandler Magazine and the Department of English and World Languages at the University of West Florida.
Distributed by the University Press of Florida, Panhandler Books will publish poetry, fiction, and nonfiction consistent with Panhandler’s mission to champion underrepresented literary genres. Panhandler Books will publish one book every two years and will provide exceptional attention to the work published in the series.
Wasp Box follows a soldier returning home to a small New York town who accidentally transports an invasive species of deadly parasitic wasps, setting off a terrifying chain of events. The chaos is described with psychological, emotional, and narrative intensity. “Ockert never ceases to astound,” says Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
“Ockert’s voice is quirky, funny, and totally original,” says George Saunders, author of Tenth of December. As the crisis escalates in Wasp Box, the book examines the choices people make in the face of danger, the limits of personal strength, and the value of family loyalty when the familiar world unravels. “Wasp Box portrays families at their best and worst, strongest and weakest, closest and most distant,” says The Rumpus. “What develops in Wasp Box is horrific, beautiful, bizarre, poignant and mesmerizing.”
Jason Ockert is the author of two collections of short stories, Neighbors of Nothing and Rabbit Punches. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, Oxford American, and McSweeney’s, among others. Ockert received his BA from the University of Florida and his MFA from Syracuse University. He teaches creative writing at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.
For more information, contact:
University of West Florida • Department of English and World Languages, Building 50
11000 University Parkway • Pensacola, Florida 32514