About Me


I’m a writer and also possibly a gloomy octopus. I am currently working on a collection of essays about Middle-earth and other fantasy worlds, as well as a middle-grade novel, Octora, about a boy lost at sea, the world’s most illegal seafood restaurant, pirate-chefs, and an octopus disguised as a girl. I’m represented by Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary Agency.

My writing has appeared at Catapult, The RumpusTor.com, The Toast, and the Chicago Reader online; my stories for children have been published in the children’s literary magazines Underneath the Juniper Tree and Spellbound, and on the YA podcast Cast of Wonders.

I’m originally from Charleston, South Carolina and studied English literature at William & Mary and the University of Chicago. I spent two years teaching elementary and junior high school English on the Japanese island of Tsushima, and now live with my wife and son outside Chicago.

Contact me: gilkeson [at] gmail [dot] com

Follow me on Twitter: @osutein

Header image courtesy of J. Longo, from “How I Defeated the Tolkien Estate” at The Toast.



Add yours →

  1. Hi Austin,

    I really enjoyed your piece on The Toast. I was wondering if you have a literary agent. If not, I would love to see your MG novel in stories (or anything else you may be working on) when it’s ready for submission.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Hmm, spent a JET year on a not-so-small Japanese island myself. Perhaps the least-happy time of my life.

    Loved your Tolkien piece on Toast. Wonderfully clever and well-executed. You might like this other recent bit of Tolkien satire (if the link works here):


    Slower than your piece but I enjoyed it very much.

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