- S.S. Kresge Co. changes its name to Kmart Corp.
- John Gardner, teacher of Raymond Carver, publishes On Moral Fiction, a sort of attack on Postmodernism.
- Raymond Carver stops drinking with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, publishes Furious Seasons and Other Stories. Writes What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
- Mary Robison receives MA from Johns Hopkins, publishes Days, her 1st book.
- Ann Beattie plays a waitress in the movie adaptation of Chilly Scenes of Winter, her 1st novel, which was published simultaneously with Distortions, her 1st story-collection.
- Kmart opens its 2000th store. There are Kmarts in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico.
- Bobbie Ann Mason publishes Shiloh and Other Stories, which wins the PEN/Hemingway Award. Raymond Carver blurbs: "These stories will last."
- Frederick Barthelme publishes Moon Deluxe—17 stories, 13 previously published in the New Yorker. Raymond Carver blurbs: "[S]omething else entirely—superbly written, and very funny."
- Joy Williams publishes Taking Care, her 1st story-collection. Raymond Carver blurbs: "Joy Williams is simply a wonder." Ann Beattie blurbs: "One of our most remarkable storytellers."
- Raymond Carver publishes Cathedral.
- Kmart starts relationship with Martha Stewart as spokeswoman & consultant.
- Raymond Carver dies of lung cancer.
- Joy Williams publishes Escapes—12 stories, 1 an O'Henry Prize winner, 4 previously published in Best American Short Stories. The collection also contains a story, ignored by most or all reviewers, with the literal title "Gurdjieff in the Sunshine State." Zoe Heller's review: "[T]he market is flooded with laconic little slices of life [...] Joy Williams is undoubtably part of the factory team."
- "Less is Less," Madison Smartt Bell's anti-"Kmart realism" essay, previously published in Harper's, is translated into Japanese & published in Switch.
- Kmart buys the bookstore chain Borders & stakes in OfficeMax, The Sports Authority.
- Kmart sells its stakes in The Sports Authority, OfficeMax.
- Mary Robison divorces her 2nd husband: Jim.
- Frederick Barthelme publishes story in Ploughshares. Has not published in the New Yorker since before 1992.
- "Kmart realism" attacked by Frederick Busch, Tom Wolfe.
- Kmart reacquires BlueLight, a dial-up internet service.
- Joy Williams publishes The Quick and the Dead—a novel with wild, abstract, poetic language; a woman who returns as a ghost to haunt/tease her husband; unexpected, tonally complex, flirty sort of introductions to each of its parts. Blurbed by Don Delillo, Bret Easton Ellis.
- Mary Robison publishes Why Did I Ever—a novel in 536 fragments, or short chapters, some of which, those not numbered, are titled: "Life in the Car," "And Yet," "Feed Your Head."
- Ann Beattie publishes an essay in the New York Times reminiscing about how at readings people used to talk to her about Joy Williams & Raymond Carver. But now: "In my opinion, writers have been overexposed, caricatured, asked specious questions to ellicit amusing answers."
- Kmart files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.