My literary tshirts

Earlier this week, my teenage nephew sent me a tshirt that has become — immediately upon its removal from the padded envelope — one of my favorite tshirts:



I mean seriously, how amazing is that?

(It’s available from JC Penny if you want one of your own.)

But it got me thinking about some of my other literary/grammarish tshirts, and I decided I’d post them all here for folks to enjoy. Some of these are one-offs or limited to participants, but for the ones you can buy yourself, I’ll try to link you to the stores/websites.


Available online from Out of Print (or try your public library's Friends of the Library store).
Available online from Out of Print (or try your public library’s Friends of the Library store).

This shirt comes from Out of Print clothing, from whom we have also bought many of my wife’s Jane Austen- and library-related shirts, sweaters, totes, scarves, wallets . . . . I love this tshirt, and I wore it to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, taking care to wear it on the day we workshopped my novel excerpt as well as the last workshop day.

Out of Print also makes children’s books tshirts, and they have a heartwrenching Corduroy shirt that I’ve been begging them to release in adult sizes for more than a year now. They have started releasing other children’s book shirts for adults, but the last email I got from them said they weren’t planning on an adult Corduroy any time soon. If you enjoy a profound nostalgia for that book like I do, write them and ask them to step up the schedule! We want that shirt!


This summer, the Portland Actors Ensemble performed Macbeth in an actual cemetery. It was a solid production in the perfect setting, and when I found out they were offering thirts, I decided I had to have one. (I’m not finding this one on their online shop, but you can contact them at the link above and see if they have any available.)

Rougarou: Journey to the End of the Night
Rougarou: Journey to the End of the Night

This is the tshirt from my Columbus Hagridden release event, called Rougarou: Journey to the End of the Night. The tshirt was produced by Columbus business Outfit Good, which supports artists, charities, and socially conscious local businesses through its tshirt designs and sales. (Sorry, gang — if you wanted one of these shirts, you had to be there. It’s a collector’s item!)

Magazines & presses, and conferences

Back in my younger, cooler years, I collected concert tshirts. These days, I’ve started collecting shirts from magazines I’ve been in and conferences I’ve attended or taught at.

Magazine & presses

The Lit Pub shirt and the Artistically Declined Press shirt are a few years old, and I got mine direct from the publishers, so you might not be able to find these exact shirts. But contact them at their websites and see what they have available. The Portland Review shirts are gifts to contributors (I was in their Winter 2014 issue), but I’m sure they have some extras they’d love to unload if you contact them.


This was this year’s tshirt for the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and while I was obviously going to get one of these anyway, I was thrilled with the Tony Earley quote on the back! It’s perfect. They had a whole range of shirts from previous years, too, and some of my friends started a collection, but I was happy with just the one.

If you want a Sewanee Writers’ Conference shirt, you should apply to attend the conference! You can only get them there.


This is from the Compose creative writing conference held each year at Clackamas Community College. I taught a flash fiction workshop there this May (the website still shows last year’s info), and it was great fun. The workshops this year were only $5 per class, so you can’t beat that price — if you’re in the Portland area and you want one of these shirts, sign up next spring and buy one of these shirts at the conference!

Literary references

I won the WWNDD? (What Would Nancy Drew Do?) tshirt! It was part of a grand prize I won from Her Interactive, maker of the amazing Nancy Drew video game series, of which I am a HUGE fan. When I won the contest, I got a phone call from the company, and the guy on the phone didn’t believe I was the one who’d entered. “You mean you did it with your daughter?” he asked. “No!” I said. “I play the games myself — my wife and I are huge fans!” “So you won the prize for your wife then.” “No, dude!” I said. “I freaking love Nancy Drew!”

The shirt was available from Polyvore, but they seem to be out of stock at the moment. Keep checking, though!

The other shirt is the back of the a tshirt for my undergrad college‘s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society. We thought the “Poe-tree” pun was pretty funny, and one of our chapter’s faculty members (James Harris, if I remember right) drew the design for us.

Phrases and puns

My mother-in-law gave me the “Careful or I’ll put you in my novel” sweatshirt for Christmas several years ago. At the time, we had a landlady who had that same year confessed she was nervous knowing I was a writer. “I don’t talk to writers,” she told me through a crack in the door when I dropped off our rent check. “I’m always afraid they’re going to put me in their novels.” So of course, when I paid the January rent check, I wore this sweater to her front door. (She laughed.)

My mother-in-law also gave me the “Good Morning is an oxymoron” shirt, which all night-owl writers will recognize the truth of!

Both the sweater and the tshirt are widely available online — just google them.

My cousin Bob had the Ennui shirt custom-made (the drawing is his and everything). The story he tells is that he was traveling somewhere and had to sit down because he was having trouble breathing, and his heavy breathing sounded a bit like sighing. A man on the bench next to him asked Bob if he was okay, and my cousin wittily replied, “Oh, it’s just my ennui.” Then, seizing an opportunity to expand the joke, he added, “You should try it on for sighs.” But the man only looked at Bob funny, and Bob realized that the homophone would work better in print than out loud, so he made this shirt. He gave me one during my book tour stop in Fort Smith, Arkansas, last year. It’s a custom job, so I don’t think you can buy it anywhere, but if you’re desperate for one, email me and I’ll get in touch with my cousin. 🙂

Professional shirts

These are shirts my family gave me when I finished my PhD back in 2007. My sister’s kids all call me “Uncle Smiley,” so for my hooding ceremony, the kids all helped my sister iron on these custom “Dr. Smiley” patches (I have one on a tie, too). And my brother bought me one of the classic “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” shirts (available just about anywhere), which people always ask me about. “Are you really a doctor?” YES! 🙂

And speaking of my family — that nephew who found that “Metaphors Be With You” shirt? Today is his birthday.

Happy birthday, Aidan!

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

5 thoughts on “My literary tshirts

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