Elwin Cotman is a storyteller from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author of two collections of speculative short stories, The Jack Daniels Sessions EP and Hard Times Blues.

Cotman has toured across North America doing readings. His work has appeared in Grist, Weird Fiction Review, Black Gate, The Thought Erotic, The Southwestern Review, and Cabinet des Fees, among others (see publications). He was a participant in the 2012 Low Lives Performance Festival. In 2009, Cotman was a core member of the Cyberpunk Apocalypse Writers Cooperative, a DIY writers space in Pittsburgh. He has curated many readings and reading series. His third collection, Dance on Saturday, will be published in summer 2020 by Small Beer Press.

Cotman holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and a MFA from Mills College.

The Jack Daniels Sessions EP

"Elwin Cotman is one of the most original new voices you will encounter—he is a synthesizer of the domestic and the fantastic, of soaring myth and the grittiest realities, of lewd dialect and high lyricism. His stories are profound engagements with suffering of every stripe—they will also make you hoot with laughter. I was amazed by the force of Mr. Cotman's pinwheeling imagination."

—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! 

"In The Jack Daniels Sessions, folktales and modern landscapes collide, exploding and reforming in the form of an intriguing and intelligent collection. Cotman seizes the stories of tired tradition and galvanizes them, setting them to dance for us in wonderful, new interpretations."

—Cat Rambo, author of The Surgeon's Tale

"Elwin Cotman has written a book for our times—edgy and transcendent, surreal and bizarrely sweet. You won't put this down after you've picked it up, and you won't be the same once you've finished it. This is a new voice to listen to closely. A writer with strange and exciting gifts." —Laura Kasischke, author of The Life Before Her Eyes


Hard Times Blues


“With its intoxicating blend of rock and roll and the supernatural, crazed religion and visionary prose, Hard Times Blues is a wild ride down the same shadowy American sideroads traveled by the likes of Cormac McCarthy, Greil Marcus and Samuel R. Delany. A marvelous collection by a strikingly original new voice in contemporary fiction.” —Elizabeth Hand, author of Errantry

“Hard Times Blues reads like a wake-up call; a collection of remarkable stories that are as ambitious as they are personal. Cotman is a first-class stylist with a heart and a wit to match. He knows how to make us want to follow him and his marvelous characters down into the lovelorn, maddening, and scary places we already inhabit but so rarely recognize.” —Paul Tremblay, author of Swallowing a Donkey's Eye

“Elwin Cotman’s carefully wrought, gracefully accomplished, and lyrical narratives range in tone and style from picaresque and carnivalesque to elegiac, ironic, and melancholy. Yet, while tonally distinctive and aesthetically vivid, his stories are not so much driven by style or voice, as they are by love in the largest sense. For love does not exclude chaos nor avoid the vicissitudes of history and neither do Cotman’s socially engaged, brilliantly crafted stories.” —Miranda Mellis, author of None of This Is Real

“An exciting, inspiring, and sublime mix of beautiful imagery, old-fashioned pulp, gritty predicaments, biblical poetry, soul, charm, heart, heartache, ghosts, lost souls, bad attitudes, and literary invention. I love these energetic, wistful, vibrant stories. Elwin Cotman writes like a brilliant maniac, as if he’s afraid someone will take his pen away too soon.” —Timothy Schaffert, author of The Coffins of Little Hope

“With hyperbolic, technicolor imagery and engrossing characters that radiate intrigue, these modern tales comprise a new book of essential fables for our time—read it, close your eyes, and delight in the words still glowing hot inside your brain.” —Alissa Nutting, author of Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls