The One Story Literary Debutante Ball: 10 years & counting!

April 30th should have been our 10th One Story Literary Debutante Ball.

Due to the current pandemic, we’ve postponed to a later date (which we hope to set once the world rights itself). But today we’re missing this joyous gathering of writers and readers. We should be clinking glasses and sharing books and laughing and dancing. We should be watching debut authors proudly walk down the aisle arm in arm with their mentors, and listening to inspirational speeches from honorees like Colum McCann, Alexander Chee, Jim Shepard, Toi Derricotte, Cornelius Eady, Dani Shapiro, Lan Samantha Chang, Ann Patchett, Dan Chaon, and Celeste Ng.

One Story is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, and the Debutante Ball is our annual fundraiser. This loss of income comes at a challenging time, and is a big blow to our organization. If you’re in a position to donate (at any level), we’d truly and gratefully welcome the support. You can do so by going here. A big thank you to those who sponsored this year’s (postponed) ball before the world changed and our plans fell apart: Manhattanville College MFA, The John S. Hilson Family Fund, Penguin Random House, Catapult, Janklow & Nesbit, Aragi, Inc., The Book Group, Jane and Bert Emke, The Raich Family, Kevin Reymond, Dani Shapiro and Michael Maren.

To keep the flame of literary joy alive, we’ve put together a slideshow of past Debutante Balls and posted it below. We hope you’ll pour yourself a cocktail and enjoy. Underneath the slideshow, we’ve compiled a list of ALL of our past & present debutantes. It’s wonderful to see the names of so many talented authors who have graced the pages of One Story. Eventually, our community will make it to the other side of this. And when we do, we plan on gathering you all up and dancing our hearts out.

Photo Credits: Aslan Chalom & koitz

One Story Literary Debutantes are past One Story authors who have recently published their first books. We celebrate them each year at our annual fundraiser, the One Story Literary Debutante Ball, where they are escorted by a mentor and formally “announced” to the literary world.


  • Chuck Augello, The Inexplicable Gray Space We Call Love
  • Ayşe Papatya Bucak, The Trojan War Museum
  • Christina Hammonds Reed, The Black Kids


  • Brad Felver, The Dogs of Detroit
  • Lydia Fitzpatrick, Lights All Night Long
  • Joseph Moldover, Every Moment After
  • Erin Somers, Stay Up with Hugo Best
  • Bryan Washington, Lot
  • Jake Wolff, The History of Living Forever


  • Kendra Fortmeyer, Hole in the Middle
  • Chelsey Johnson, Stray City
  • Cheston Knapp, Up Up, Down Down

***One Story 2018 “Little Debbies”

  • Sanjay Agnihotri, One Story Issue #236: “Guerrilla Marketing”
  • Maud Streep, One Story Issue #234: “The Crazies”
  • Lucas Schaefer, One Story Issue #225: “An Oral History of the Next Battle of the Sexes”


  • Sam Allingham, The Great American Songbook
  • Angelica Baker, Our Little Racket
  • Clare Beams, We Show What We Have Learned
  • Julie Buntin, Marlena
  • Anne Corbitt, Rules for Lying
  • Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes, The Sleeping World
  • Lisa Ko, The Leavers
  • Emily Ruskovich, Idaho
  • Melissa Yancy, Dog Years


  • Brian Booker, Are You Here for What I’m Here For?
  • Kim Brooks, The Houseguest
  • Matthew Cheney, Blood: Stories
  • Charles Haverty, Excommunicados
  • Naomi Williams, Landfalls
  • Cote Smith, Hurt People


  • Mia Alvar, In the Country
  • Matthew Baker, If You Find This
  • Austin Bunn, The Brink
  • Scott Cheshire, High as the Horses’ Bridles
  • Diane Cook, Man V. Nature
  • Katie Coyle, Vivian Apple at the End of the World
  • Andrew Roe, The Miracle Girl
  • Matt Sumell, Making Nice
  • Ted Thompson, The Land of Steady Habits
  • Anne Valente, By Light We Knew Our Names


  • Molly Antopol, The UnAmericans
  • Rachel Cantor, A Highly Unlikely Scenario
  • Amelia Kahaney, The Brokenhearted
  • Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You
  • David James Poissant, The Heaven of Animals
  • James Scott, The Kept
  • Ben Stroud, Byzantium


  • L. Annette Binder, Rise
  • Manuel Gonzales, The Minature Wife
  • Ben Miller, River Bend Chronicle
  • Leigh Newman, Still Points North
  • Ethan Rutherford, The Peripatetic Coffin
  • Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn
  • Douglas Watson, The Era of Not Quite

**One Story 2013 Staff Debs:

  • Marie-Helene Bertino, Safe as Houses
  • Elliott Holt, You Are One of Them
  • Julie Innis, Three Squares a Day With Occasional Torture


  • Ramona Ausubel, No one is Here Except All of Us
  • Megan Mayhew Bergman, Birds of a Lesser Paradise
  • Caitlin Horrocks, This is Not Your City
  • Katherine Karlin, Send Me Work
  • Miroslav Penkov, East of the West
  • Anna Solomon, The Little Bride
  • Arlaina Tibensky, And Then Things Fall Apart


  • Robin Black, If I Loved You I Would Tell You This
  • Susanna Daniel, Stiltsville
  • Seth Fried, The Great Frustration
  • Jerry Gabriel, Drowned Boy
  • Jim Hanas, Why They Cried.


*This Debutante Ball (our first) featured authors who published their first short stories in One Story, escorted by a writing mentor:

  • Sam Allingham, escorted by Dan Chaon
  • Ramona Ausubel, escorted by Michelle Latiolais
  • Nell Casey, escorted by Tamara Jenkins
  • Amelia Kahaney, escorted by Michael Cunningham
  • Cheston Knapp, escorted by Jim & Karen Shepard
  • Grant Monroe, escorted by Jonathan Lethem
  • Cote Smith, escorted by Deb Olin Unferth
  • Patrick Somerville, escorted by Hannah Tinti
  • Arlaina Tibensky, escorted by Victor LaValle