Neil Serven

Location Greenfield, MA
Occupation Editor (Dictionaries)

About Me

I'm about scotch, Italian food, quiz shows, baseball, drawing, Volkswagens, wine, candlepin bowling, and cardigans, though not in that order.

My stories have appeared or are forthcoming in the Beloit Fiction Journal, fwriction : review, Pure Slush, Washington Square Review, A-Minor, Atticus Review, Cobalt Review, Ayris, Pithead Chapel, and Stymie.

I don't have an MFA.

Why do you write?


Any favorite authors? Books?

My all-time favorite series of books is the Rabbit Angstrom tetralogy by John Updike. Other favorite authors include Nicholson Baker, Colson Whitehead, Chloe Aridjis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mavis Gallant, Aleksandar Hemon, Frederick Busch, Renata Adler, Jennifer Egan, Chad Harbach, Henry Miller, Vladimir Nabokov, W. G. Sebald, Richard Price, and Truman Capote. Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Lionel Trilling and Louis Menand are four of my favorite critic-essayists.

Neil Serven's Wall

Pia Ehrhardt – Aug 05, 2012

Thank you for reading this bit, Neil!

Mary Lane – Jul 24, 2012

Neil, it's amazing that you refer to the truth as cruel in my Saturday Morning. It is exactly that, but hope the reader here's the love there, as well. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Means much. HM

Gessy Alvarez – Jul 23, 2012

Hi, Neil. Thanks for commenting on "Dumb-Waiter." Was trying out a new form and liked where it went. Glad you liked it.

By the way, I inadvertently deleted your comment. I didn't mean to but the delete button got in my way and poof! Ugh!

Ann Bogle – Jul 23, 2012

Neil, thanks for your reading of "Turning Thirty." Yes, you guessed her.

Mary Lane – Jul 08, 2012

Hi Neil. Thanks so much for taking the time to read Measures. Your suggestions make a lot of sense and I so appreciate them. Best, HM

Robert Vaughan – Jun 27, 2012

So great to meet you at KGB Neil! Thanks for driving down and I hope our paths cross again soon! Until then, cyberland it is! Maybe AWP in Boston in 2013? I hope so!

Foster Trecost – Apr 11, 2012

Hi Neil, thanks for reading Cactus, and thanks for the comments, too. fos.

M.H. – Apr 07, 2012

Hi Neil - Thanks so much for reading and commenting on my story! It's much appreciated :)

Michael Dwayne Smith – Jan 21, 2012

Much gratitude for your kind words about "Swimming Lessons." Really appreciated--

Martha Rand – Jan 05, 2012

Thank you so much for your comment on Refill Please. Really appreciate the connection.

Meg Pokrass – Dec 11, 2011

thank you so much for your comment on "Summer Gun" Neil!

Barry Basden – Dec 06, 2011

Neil, thanks for your comment on 'W.P.A.'

DJ Young – Oct 24, 2011

Hello Neil - thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on 'Inky and Vague.' Much appreciation. - DJ

Gary Moshimer – Oct 22, 2011

Thanks for liking Nathan, Natalie,


Jane Hammons – Sep 08, 2011

Thanks for reading and commenting on "Lettie," Neil.

Craig Lancaster – Aug 21, 2011

Neil, thanks for your kind comment on "Mud." I appreciate your taking the time to read it.

Traci Moore – Aug 19, 2011

Hi Neil. Thanks very much for your notes on my "Human Resources" story. I look forward to reading your work!

Fred Osuna – Aug 19, 2011

Hey, Neil! Thanks for reading and liking "We Put a Smile Back on Your Face." Much appreciated, as are your thoughtful comments.

Karen Eileen Sikola – Jul 12, 2011

Thanks so much, Neil, for reading "Clotting" and offering your feedback. I'm glad it was able to strike a chord with you.

Jules Archer – Jul 05, 2011

Shhh, don't tell anyone about Burn, Baby, Burn. P.S. Thanks for the read and review.

Gill Hoffs – Jun 27, 2011

Thanks for the comment on 'The Gaps Within' - much appreciated! Love your profile pic and reason for writing - ace!

All the best,

Mark Reep – Jun 11, 2011

Neil, thanks for taking time for 'Bukowski'. It's much appreciated, and I'm glad you enjoyed.

Foster Trecost – Jun 02, 2011

Hey Neil, Thanks for reading my telephone story, and thanks for the comment, too - I appreciate both! fos.

Christopher Allen – May 25, 2011

Hey Neil! Thank you for popping over to TrainWrite and reading "The Readers in Car 103"!

Meg Pokrass – May 23, 2011

thank you for your comments on "Sit in Here". I don't have an MFA either. Yay for us! I want to read more of your work and will.

Susan Tepper – May 19, 2011

Neil thanks so much for what you said about "Tool", I appreciate!

Lori Lou Freshwater – May 12, 2011

Neil, thank you for your comment on This Girl. Much appreciated.

Larry Strattner – May 02, 2011

Thanx, Neil, for the comments om Cassie Fly. Appreciated.

Shelagh Power-Chopra – May 02, 2011

Neil - really appreciate your comments, still working on this one, we'll see how it goes or ends perhaps!

M.H. – Apr 29, 2011

Hi Neil,
Thank you so much for your nice words on "The Last Swim" :)! What a cool job you have - I'd love to edit dictionaries!

Jack Swenson – Apr 28, 2011

How right you are, Neil. Cats DO know everything. Thanks for the good words for my story.

Kathy Fish – Apr 28, 2011

Thanks for reading and commenting on "The Bed", Neil.

Julie Innis – Apr 21, 2011

Thank you, Neil -- really enjoyed Gunplay at Fwriction.

Rebecca Coffey – Apr 08, 2011

Hey, Neil, thanks for your comment on "Dorothy's Parker House Rolls." Nice to meet you.

Christian Bell – Apr 05, 2011

Neil, thanks for reading and commenting on "San Pedro de Macoris"! Much appreciated.

Foster Trecost – Mar 27, 2011

Hi Neil, thanks for reading and commenting on Man on the Run - I really appreciate your thoughts. fos.

Mark Reep – Mar 24, 2011

Hi Neil, thanks for your comments on Snowdick. Glad you enjoyed.

Jane Hammons – Mar 06, 2011

ah, a kindred, twisted spirit who sees the "sparks of humor" Thanks for that comment on The Uninvited Guest!

Mark Reep – Feb 23, 2011

Hi Neil, thanks for reading Bad Attitude, and for the very kind words. This character's one of those whose stories have been backburnered, survived many rewrites, so it's good to get this segment out there, and great to get feedback like yours. Thanks again.

Karen Eileen Sikola – Feb 22, 2011

Thanks so much, Neil, for your comment on "Raw Sugar." Very much appreciated, for this piece especially.

Tawnysha Greene – Feb 19, 2011

Thank you for your kind words about "Clean." I appreciate them very much...

Jules Archer – Feb 15, 2011

Hey again. Thanks for the compliment on my story at Blue Five. Glad you could least in the bowling sense. I too, used to be on a league when I was like 12 but now just enjoy it as I'm drinking a beer. My how times have changed.

Thanks again!

Jules Archer – Feb 15, 2011

Hey Neil. Sorry to get you all hot and bothered at work. But hey, it's Valentine's Day. Anyway...thank you for reading "Liplorn". So appreciate your time!

Jack Swenson – Feb 10, 2011

Neil, Thanks for the kind words about my Valentine's Day story. I appreciate the thumbs up.

Matt DeVirgiliis – Feb 08, 2011

Neil, thanks for commenting on Personal Trenches. Much appreciated.

Julie Innis – Dec 12, 2010

Neil, so glad the tone of The Belt works for you - I appreciate your insights.

Foster Trecost – Sep 10, 2010

Hi Neil, glad you liked Ripe. Thanks for the read and comment. foster.

Frank Vander Rasky – Sep 09, 2010

Neil, thanks for joining me for some cross-border fun in “We Have Eskimo Bars.” Your read and comment are much appreciated.

Ginnah Howard – Sep 03, 2010

Neil, thnaks for your comment on "Imperatives." I just finished reading Down Cellar. So much in so few words. So good; You can ruin her Thanksgiveing or Christmas. The ending felt exactly right.


Foster Trecost – Aug 26, 2010

Hi Neil, thanks for reading and commenting on Burger and Fries. I grew up in Louisiana during a time before the dairy industry moved out west, so it was common to see milk trucks traveling from one dairy farm to the next, collecting the milk. Those are the kinds I was referring to. Thanks again for the read! foster.

Jules Archer – Aug 16, 2010

Thanks for commenting on Halo and sharing the piece of signage. Diners are amazing. Happy you read, Neil.

Jules Archer – Jul 26, 2010

Many thanks for critiquing "Summer Son". Despite the messy beginning, I am glad the piece worked and appreciate the comments you had to say.



Melissa Swantkowski – Jul 16, 2010

Neil, thanks for reading"If You See Something..." So glad your comment brought me to your work. Just enjoyed "Down Cellar," and am excited to read more.

Melissa Swantkowski – Jul 16, 2010

Thanks for reading "If You Say Something.." So glad your comment brought me to your work. Just finished "Down Cellar," and excited to read more.

Matthew Salesses – Jul 16, 2010

Thanks for commenting on/faving "Conqueror"

Jane Hammons – Jul 13, 2010

Thanks for commenting on Ru and Win. I don't know exactly what I'm doing with these "Joad" pieces, but I like writing them.

Jules Archer – Jul 11, 2010

Line killed.

Thanks to you for the tips...very much obliged. And thanks for the read.

Jules Archer – Jul 06, 2010

Neil - thanks for the comment on "Carcasses". Made my day!

Mark Reep – Jun 30, 2010

Neil, thanks for your comments on 'Blue Pinto', and for the fav.
Both are much appreciated.

Jane Hammons – Jun 30, 2010

Thanks for reading Beatnik Blonde and for your comment. It's making the rounds again, so we'll see what happens.

See ya – Mar 17, 2010

Thanks so much for reading my work, Neil. Happy Green Beer Day!

Stephanie Austin – Mar 10, 2010

Thanks for your story comment. I agree with your answer on "why do you write?" I'm looking forward to reading your work.

Jack Swenson – Mar 10, 2010

Old? Who's old? (Just kidding. Glad you liked "Quitting.")

Jack Swenson – Mar 03, 2010

I liked your comments about my story "Victory." Many thanks.

Foster Trecost – Mar 02, 2010

Hi Neil, thanks for your comments on A Life Twice Told - I'm happy you liked it.

Larry Strattner – Mar 01, 2010

linguistic - and that would be Pittsfield,MA

Julie Innis – Mar 01, 2010

Neil - your comment made my day/month/year. Thank you.

David Erlewine – Feb 19, 2010

Neil, you set the bar HIGH for wall posts. Sloppy but sincere - I love how you characterize the relationship of readers and writers. Damn nice to be in touch. That's great about U & I...need to re-read that myself. Read it when I wasn't writing much and I think now I'd like it/get out of it even more.

David Erlewine – Feb 18, 2010

Oh wow what an amazing exercise! I'd have taken that "lead" girl, the one he valiantly quits over. That final image resonates so strongly in my head, about 20 years after first reading it. Feels like it happened to me. I worked as a grocery bagger for years so that story took on even more weight reading it. Curious what you thought about Baker's U & I. I got a kick out of it, even though I hadn't read all of the U books he referenced (still need to). In any event, so nice to be in touch, Neil.

Jack Swenson – Feb 18, 2010

Thanks for your praise for my story "Old Wounds." I appreciate it.

David Erlewine – Feb 18, 2010

Thanks so much, Neil. So nice to see you enjoyed Pogo the Clown. CONGRATULATIONS on your first SS being published, and in Beloit. Wow, very nice.

Oh yes, the Rabbit series is amazing. I can still remember reading Rabbit, Run. God, the scenes with him and his wife were so vivid, so sad. I always liked his coach Tothero. Updike's ss "A&P" remains one of the most influential things I've read. I was taking a fiction 101 course in college, read that story, and decided to also major in creative writing.

Foster Trecost – Feb 18, 2010

Hi Neil, thanks for reading and commenting on A Very Quiet Evening - I'm glad you liked it.

Katrina Gray – Feb 15, 2010

Neil, thanks so much for digging "Peach." It's really good to hear when a story works for someone (or when it doesn't work, for that matter). I am humbled by all the Fictionaut love!

Doug Bond – Feb 14, 2010

Hi Neil, thanks for your comment son "Ah'd love to kiss ya" Louis Menand is wonderful...American Studies, Metaphysical Club..yes!

Jack Swenson – Feb 13, 2010

Thanks for the kind words about my series of little stories.

Christian Bell – Feb 04, 2010

Neil, thanks for your comment on "Blue Cotton Candy." I appreciate it!

Jack Swenson – Jan 31, 2010

Thanks for the fav vote for "Only a Memory Away." Glad you liked the story.

Jane Hammons – Jan 30, 2010

Thanks for your comments on News of the Day and congratulations on the forthcoming story in Beloit.

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