Matt Burgess: Retail’s loss is literature’s gain

Minneapolis-based writer Matt Burgess tells a story which will make him the envy of many aspiring authors. He had just graduated from the University of Minnesota’s MFA program, and applied for a retail job to make ends meet. He also sent off the manuscript of his first novel. A week later he got both news that his book was sold, and an interview offer from Target.

“And I was like, ‘Forget it Target. I’m an author now,'” he laughs.

The novel, “Dogfight, a love story” tells the story of 19 year old Alfredo Batista, who Burgess describes as the world’s worst drug-dealer, as he rarely, if ever, sells anything.

The book follows a chaotic few days in Queens NY as Alfredo and his family await the return of his older brother from prison. The situation is complicated by the fact that Alfredo is now living with Isabel, who was his brother’s girlfriend when he was sent away. When Alfredo decides to mark his brother’s return with a dogfight, both as a celebration and as a way to make some money, things spin crazily out of control.

The story which is tense, hilarious and poignant has been getting rave reviews.

Burgess is one of the many authors appearing this weekend at the Twin Cities Book Fair. We’ll also have him on ATC tonight, and you can hear him read from the opening of the novel here:

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