My Story

matthendersonellis-copyI received a degree in Literature from Bennington College. With no better idea, I moved to Prague and became the first American bartender in that city after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Restless, I moved back to the states and got a job at Starbucks before interning at The Hollywood Reporter, the film industry’s primary trade paper. Later, after moving to New York, I began working in the marketing production department at Anchor Books, before moving into the editorial side of publishing, where I worked in the office of Betsy Lerner, the executive editor of Doubleday & Company. After that, I read and developed manuscripts and book projects for several prestigious literary agencies. Determined to write and work for myself, I co-founded a literary review for new writing from around the former Soviet Bloc. I began as a freelance editor working on policy books for the Soros Foundation, one of the world’s largest and most influential nongovernmental organizations, and eventually started an editing company that focused on novels and memoir. My first book was published in 2013, and was called ” darkly comic, immersive, nostalgic, and thoroughly enjoyable,” by Booklist. An invitee to the Vienna Literary festival and the GODOT Literary Festival, I also work as a teacher of creative writing.

A Few of the Books I have Worked on

As paperback editor at Doubleday:

Pink, the first novel by Academy Award winner Gus Van Sant

The Meaning of Star Trek, Thomas Richards

A few books I assisted on (in the office of Executive Editor Betsy Lerner):

Patti Smith Complete: Lyrics, Reflections and Notes for the Future – National Book Award winner Patti Smith

A Crack Up at the Race Riots, a paperback original by filmmaker Harmony Korine

Bitch, follow-up non-fiction by Prozac Nation author Elizabeth Wurtzel

Breakup, memoir by literary review founder and novelist Catherine Texier

Just Visiting This Planet, Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Neil deGrasse Tyson

As a Writer:

Keeping Bedlam at Bay in the Prague Café, New Europe Books, 2013 (novel)
Petra K and the Blackhearts, New Europe Books, 2014 (YA novel)
The Devil is a Black Dog (translator) , New Europe Books, 2014 (short story collection).

Published reviews/ literary translation/writing in AGNI, San Francisco Chronicle, Brooklyn Rail, The Jewish Quarterly, B O D Y Literature, Kalligram, Pilvax Magazine, Largehearted Boy, The Budapest Sun,, and Gridskipper among others.

Some projects past and present:

I founded and head the Budapest Writers’ Lab, a writers workshop that focuses on the craft of all forms of narrative fiction.

I am an editor at large at Random House distributed New Europe Books, an imprint that champions new and classic fiction and non-fiction by European authors who have yet to receive the attention of an English-speaking audience.

Pilvax Magazine: A literary review out of Central Europe that I founded with Finding Hal Ashby author Aaron Hunter. Through its life, I was Editor-in-Chief and edited and published writing and translations by many classic contemporary luminaries of the area. Pilvax was distributed in independent bookstores across Europe and America, and is permanently archived in the Nobel Library in Sweden, due to a short piece we translated by Nobel Prize in Literature winner Imre Kertész.

I am a country specialist for Fodor’s Travel Guides, and helped update their most recent travel guide to Europe.

I have been hired to write for popular blogs covering both film and food culture.

For more information, contact me  here.