Inside the Issue: Kellie Wells reads from “A Unified Theory of Human Behavior”

The young heroine of Kellie Wells’ “A Unified Theory of Human Behavior,” the opening story in Issue 56 of American Short Fiction, observes the world around her with an affecting mixture of sorrow and humor. “Kellie Wells,” writes the wonderful Matt Bell, “will break your heart with a sentence, with a story, with the irrepressible smile at her wit that lights across your face even as on the page sadness swells and grief abounds.” The story chronicles a young girl’s tangled efforts to make sense of her mother’s death and the state in which it has left her small family.  In a voice both lyrical and rich with sympathies, Wells studies the dangerous, diabolical, and highly technical experiment that is love. Here, in a podcast produced by our assistant editor Andrew Bales, is Kellie Wells reading the first few pages of “A Unified Theory of Human Behavior.”


Thanks for listening in to the podcast. You can find Kellie’s entire story, along with others from Joyce Carol Oates, Kevin Wilson, Rachel Swearingen, Barrett Swanson, Ryan MacDonald, and Sabrina Orah Mark by ordering a copy of the issue, here.


Kellie Wells is the author of a collection of short fiction, Compression Scars, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award, and two novels, Skin and Fat Girl, Terrestrial. She teaches in the Program in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama and in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University.

This podcast features music by the Austin band Borrisokane.

ASF Reads