Who is this rough ghost?

Rough ghosts. We all have them. They live inside us. They haunt us. We are our ghosts.

This ghost is the writer that haunts me. Like an angel on the shoulder speaking in my ear, urging me to write. Outside of that I am many other ghosts: a reader, a critic, an editor, an amateur photographer, and the queered parent of grown children.

I have many areas of interest/concern including:

  • literature, in English and in translation
  • innovative/experimental literary forms
  • mental health and wellness
  • sexuality and gender identity
  • philosophy

I live in western Canada. I want say my ghost is grounded here, but lately I am restless.

I can be found on twitter: @roughghosts

Also on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr, but more quietly so.

My real name is Joseph Schreiber. I was the Criticism/Nonfiction Editor at 3:AM Magazine from November 2017 through December 2020 and I’m also a former editor at The Scofield. My own reviews and other writing have appeared at Numéro Cinq, 3:AM, Minor Literature[s], The Quarterly Conversation, The Rusty Toque, Sultan’s Seal, RIC Journal and more. 

Email contact: schreiber.jme (at) gmail.com

Note: I am more than happy to hear from readers. But please understand that I rarely accept books for review and, when I do, they are typically translated or experimental fiction, or literary nonfiction, and come from publishers or individuals I am already engaged with personally or on Twitter or Facebook.

Links to my off-site writing can be found here.

37 thoughts on “Who is this rough ghost?”

  1. Fellow Canadian. Hello. I’m gathering up a community of “mental illness” specifically “bipolar” blogs. I’m interested to hear about your parenting experience dealing with mental illness. If you’d prefer not to address my question on the blog, please email me: myspanglishfamilia@gmail.com.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I found a link to this site on your Guardian profile, having read your interesting posts on TLS. Thank you for giving the link; I very much enjoyed reading more of your work and look forward to your further posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the compliment. The blog is a work in progress and, to a major extent, a forum to exercise writing skills (even if the occasional confessional or cathartic rant slips in).


      1. You replied to my comment in THE Guardians newspaper forum. If you believe in ghosts, read DEAN KOONTZ’S ”What the night knows”. I am reading it these days and it is so far perfect. I don’t know if there is truly a formula for success. Especially in my small country there aren’t many opportunities for writers. I like what i do, i am writing my short story in english my self, and i plan to read one book of Grisham in order to learn some things about trials, legal procedures and laws. It is interesting.
        Thank you for you reply. Any way do you know if our comments appear in the paperback edition of the newspaper? Or only in the web?


      2. Hi. I don’t think our comments appear in the paper, I have never seen it. I think I use “ghost” more in the sense of “spirit” or “soul”, that spark inside.

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying to write to formula. If you can add flavour from your own country that would be really interesting. Reading widely in your chosen genre is really important but you want to try to develop your own hero. Getting rich from writing is hard, but they say if you really want to write, that is absolutely what you should do. There are also many writers and blogs here on WordPress for those who write in all kinds of genres and publishing options. It can be a good way to interact with others with similar interests (just be careful not to publish work you might want to sell online). I find blogging is a great exercise myself. Good luck!


    1. My pleasure. I blame Nicholas Lezard’s review of Seven Terrors for setting me off. Here in Canada my access to your titles is primarily electronic unless I special order. I am also active on a weekly discussion group at the Guardian where I know I have sold a number of titles from Istros. I am very keen to promote small publishers that are engaged in bringing international literature to a wider audience.


  3. Well, thank you again because it’s really great to hear from people out there who have read the books. I was alerted to your discussions in The Guardian by a reviewer there, and that’s how I got to your site!
    I have some good news for you re availability – just about to sign up to Ingrams Lightening Source which will mean that Istros’ titles will be available world-wide in Print on Demand format (i.e. for a reasonable price and without postage costs).
    But to thank you I would like to offer to post you one of my up-coming books: please chose from ‘Farewell, Cowboy’ ‘Exile’ or ‘My Father’s Dreams’ and send me an email with you address. http://istrosbooks.com/products/catalogue/


  4. Love your “about me” text. Reminds me of this:

    “…and living well beyond the ashen, scattered past we do go on, and carry these things with us always, these ghosts; they’re haunting here among us all. They walk the streets with us, in
    a world that is not ours, but is always each and every one of us alone.”


  5. stumbled across your blog from your ‘like’ on my post in hong kong review of books. you’ve got fascinating reviews here, i look forward to reading more. cheers 🙂


    1. Thank you. I almost accidentally starting writing about books and it has become a rewarding means to becoming a better reader and writer. HKRB is a fascinating site I’m pleased to have recently discovered, I’ll watch for your contributions too!


  6. Hi Joseph,

    Love your website — great mix of reviews.

    I’ve also written for The Quarterly Conversation and blog at Bookfox, and I thought you might be interested in my short story collection “I Will Shout Your Name,” especially since the very first story deals with sexuality and gender (a missionary becoming intrigued by a Samoan crossdresser called a fafafine).

    If you’d like more info, you can check out my page here:


    Let me know if you’d like a review copy.



    1. Thank you for the kind compliments. I appreciate your offer and wish you well with your upcoming book release, but at this time I am really in no position to accept a review copy. I actually don’t think I’ve finished a book for more than a week, my own writing and expanded editing responsibilities are my priorities—in addition to the stacks of books I already have waiting!


  7. Hi Joseph, I discovered your blog today via a search for Michel Leiris ( an ethnology reference in Rene Girard’s Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World. ) I didn’t expect to be pulled back to Alberta from Ontario for my Sunday afternoon, but your writing is so compelling because of your range of topics – literary and personal. Btw I was in India on Marine Drive in Mumbai a few winters ago, so can understand the contrast and dreariness of Calgary during Covid isolation in winter. Keep running outside for the endorphins.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to roughghosts Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: