On Friday, One Story journal founders Maribeth Batcha and Hannah Tinti playfully introduced into literary society nine writers whose first stories were published in the journal's pages. "Debutantes" Sam Allingham, Ramona Ausubel, Nell Casey, Amelia Kahaney, Cheston Knapp, Grant Munroe, Patrick Somerville, Cote Smith, and Arlaina Tibensky were escorted by some of literary fiction's biggest names before a crowd of readers, agents, editors, and fellow writers attending the journal's first Literary Debutante Ball. Jonathan Lethem, Michael Cunningham, Deb Olin Unferth, and Tinti herself were among the escorts, each of whom had played a mentoring role in the emerging writers' lives.
Dan Chaon escorted Philadelphia writer Sam Allingham, whose fiction has appeared in One Story and An Other Magazine.
Michelle Latiolais and Ron Carlson escorted Ramona Ausubel, a graduate of the MFA program at the University of California in Irvine whose stories have appeared in journals including Slice, pax americana, and Green Mountains Review. The day before the event, she sold her story collection and her novel to Riverhead Books.
Tamara Jenkins escorted Nell Casey, the editor of Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression and An Uncertain Inheritance: Writers on Caring for Family, who is currently working on The Journals of Spalding Gray (forthcoming from Knopf in 2011).
Michael Cunningham escorted Amelia Kahaney, a writing teacher at Brooklyn College who also does some ghostwriting, and whose One Story story, "Fire Season," has been optioned for film.
Jim Shepard and Karen Shepard escorted Portland, Oregon, writer Cheston Knapp, who is also the managing editor of Tin House and director of the journal's Summer Writers Workshop.
Hannah Tinti escorted Chicago author Patrick Somerville, author of the short story collection Trouble (Vintage, 2006) and the novel The Cradle (Little, Brown, 2009).
Deb Olin Unferth escorted Kansas writer Cote Smith, a recent graduate of University of Kansas's MFA program.
Victor LaValle escorted Arlaina Tibensky, the founder of the Pen Parentis literary salon in Manhattan whose young adult novel about a girl obsessed with Sylvia Plath is forthcoming in 2011 from Simon & Schuster's Pulse imprint.
In the video below, the debutantes make their way into the arena, a space in the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn (home of the One Story offices), as comedian and writer John Hodgman makes introductions.