Est. 2009

Leapfrog Global Fiction Prize

Report from a Place of Burning


It’s summer in a small, Midwestern city, and babies are burning to death in their cribs under odd circumstances. A number of theories are presented by the six narrators of the novel, but the truth of just what is going on is elusive, and it is up to the reader to discover the truth, since one of the underlying issues of the novel is the difference between knowing and believing. In addition to the babies burning in their cribs, there are other types of burning articulated by the six narrators, everything from a mother whose baby was one of the victims surrounding herself with her paintings of flames engulfing buildings and bodies to a widow who is dealing with her own passions released by the death of her husband to a widower who deals with the dead in a very personal manner to a detective becoming obsessed with solving the crime of the burned babies to an adulterer burning with a passion for the married woman he has been having an affair with to a prophet who sees everything that happens around him in terms of the book of Revelation. Metaphorical and real burning is a part of the lives of each of the six narrators of this novel in which music and art are recurring elements, as is the strange miraculous behavior of memory. Memory and music and art, the novel suggests, can reshape the world as well as haunt us and devastate us and, now and then, save us.

“Looney’s novel introduces Rainier Maria Rilke to Sherwood Anderson, escorts them into our 21st century, and invites them to sing. And sing they do. A gyre of desire and devastation, vision and transfiguration, Report from a Place of Burning dazzles.” – Ann Pancake, author of Strange as This Weather Has Been


GEORGE LOONEY is the founder of the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Penn State Erie, where he is Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing, Editor of the international literary journal Lake Effect, Translation Editor of Mid-American Review, and Co-Founder of the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival. His work has been published in more than 40 literary magazines, including New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Chautauqua, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Mid American Review, to name a few. His books include books include Hermits in Our Own Flesh: The Epistles of an Anonymous Monk (Oloris Publishing, 2016), Meditations Before the Windows Fail (Lost Horse Press, 2015), the book-length poem Structures the Wind Sings Through (Full/Crescent Press, 2014), Monks Beginning to Waltz (Truman State University Press, 2012), A Short Bestiary of Love and Madness (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011), Open Between Us (Turning Point, 2010), The Precarious Rhetoric of Angels (2005 White Pine Press Poetry Prize), Attendant Ghosts (Cleveland State University Press, 2000), Animals Housed in the Pleasure of Flesh (1995 Bluestem Award), and the 2008 novella Hymn of Ash (the 2007 Elixir Press Fiction Chapbook Award).


  • ISBN: 978-1948585002
  • Length: 180 pages
  • Dimensions: ‎ 6 x 0.25 x 9 inches

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