Tag Archives: fairy tales

Looking back / looking ahead

8 Dec

I can count on one hand how many publications I had this year, but it was a year full of tremendous personal highlights. Mainly: M. & I became parents in January! One day when I catch my breath I will write about that journey. There’s a lot to say, and I need a lot of childcare to get it done. 🙂

In February, Capra Review published my short story “The Samoyed.” Here’s an excerpt I like:

In a large glass case beside a tapestry where the beast was hunted and speared, the horn of a narwhal gleamed. “To prove the existence of unicorns, men would drag back these tusks from poor old narwhals. The horn of a unicorn would have remarkable curative qualities, they claimed, for anything from rheumatism to insomnia to impotence.” Robert and Jane walked on into other rooms. The docent’s voice trailed behind them. “You could grind it up into a powder.” Jane imagined sprinkling narwhal horn powder atop her head, imagined coarse, white sand falling through a shaft of sunlight, an iridescent shower of skittering grains.

keep reading

In June, Orion Magazine published my lyric essay “A Dill in Every Soup.” Following the medieval theme of the prior excerpt, here’s another excerpt I like:

“During the Middle Ages,” WebMD tells me, “people used dill to defend against witchcraft and enchantments.”

keep reading

Finally, in November, Scablands Books, based in Spokane, put out their beautiful anthology Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest, edited by Sharma Shields and Maya Jewell Zeller. I have two short fairy tales in this volume. Why not pick up a copy from Spokane’s Wishing Tree Books or Auntie’s? Here’s an excerpt from “Moss Child”:

A lace of bright lichen crept up her arms, chin, cheeks. The green crept from her limbs up the sides of the thickened tree trunks, under so much soft moss that the echoes of footsteps and animal sounds grew muffled in the gulch.

Another very bright spot of the year was chatting with Karen Russell at Hugo House’s Novel Nights. Here is Italo Calvino’s essay “Lightness,” which is a favorite of mine and which she brought up in conversation.

There’s much to look forward to in 2022. Among other things, I am especially hoping there will be a COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5. In the meantime, I’m teaching a few virtual classes for Hugo House and Atlas Obscura, January-April, both over Zoom and in an asychronous format. Maybe I will make to AWP in Philadelphia in March? As that is Lanternfish Press‘s homebase, it would be sweet. Then in the fall Lanternfish Press will release my second novel. Huzzah! I also have a couple short publications in the pipeline, another lyric essay and a short story.

But before all that, I am turning back to revising my third novel and sinking deeper into Maggie O’Farrell’s beautiful and absorbing novel Hamnet. Hope you have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!

Out Now: Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest

2 Nov

I am delighted to have a pair of short fairy tales in Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest, out now from Scablands Books! This beautiful foil-stamped anthology, edited by Sharma Shields and Maya Jewell Zeller, features an incredible roster of Pacific Northwest authors, such as Gary Copeland Lilley, Rick Barot, Shawn Vestal, Tess Gallagher, Ruth Joffre, Nicola Griffith, Kate Lebo, Elissa Washuta, and Lucia Perillo, to name just a handful, and has some wonderful illustrations as well—you can preview a couple of them, including one from my story “Moss Child,” here. You can pick up a copy directly from Scablands Books, or at Atticus, Auntie’s, From Here, and Wishing Tree Books in Spokane. If you’re based in the Pacific Northwest, your local library might like to know about it! Here is the “Suggest a Title” form for Seattle Public Library; many library systems have similar forms.

Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest

10 Jun

I’m excited to have two fairy tales in Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest, a Scablands Books anthology edited by Spokane-based superheroes Sharma Shields and Maya Jewell Zeller. The (foil-stamped!) book releases November 2 (perfect season to cozy up with a book while it’s drippy outside!), but discounted pre-orders are now available. Sharma shared a snippet of one of my tales on Twitter here. It’s an honor to be in the same book with Elissa Washuta, Ruth Joffre, and so many other talented writers.

“Body-horror for every body” in The Seattle Review of Books

31 Mar

everyone on the moon cover image

I reviewed Julian K. Jarboe’s debut story collection Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel for The Seattle Review of Books (Lethe Press, March 2020). Here’s how the review begins:

Scissors dropping out of a uterus, a head attached to its neck with just a green ribbon, cement poured down throats to keep the soul from escaping — these are but a few examples of what I think about when I think about body-horror, a genre in which the graphic metamorphosis or destruction of a body creates a viscerally disturbing experience for the reader. Myth and fairy tale, in their rawest iterations, are natural precedents for body-horror. And isn’t the body itself, so much a source for horror? On its own the body can mutate; or outside forces, like, oh, say, a deadly pandemic exacerbated by capitalism and climate change, can impose new, terrifying ways of trying to stay alive.

continue reading in The Seattle Review of Books

A bit of comfort: all issues of Fairy Tale Review free for the foreseeable future

26 Mar

Here is a source of comfort in difficult times: all issues of Fairy Tale Review are free for the foreseeable future. Kate Berheimer wrote on Twitter:

This doesn’t put a dent in the painful news today, but maybe it will help some people through the difficult hours. I’ve always found that being in the company of a good fairy tale helps me do a little bit better, be a little bit kinder. It’s why I founded this journal in 2005. xo

@katebernheimer

I wrote “More Like Home Than Home,” the title story of my story collection, as an antidote to the darkness of Daughters of the Air. It was meant to comfort me, and I hope you find comfort in it too. It appeared in the Wizard of Oz-themed Emerald Issue. Now free and online, thanks to Fairy Tale Review , JSTOR, and Wayne State University Press.

The opening of “More Like Home Than Home” — read the rest here.

Sugar at the Chin Music Press shop and online

19 Nov

On Friday, I stopped by the Chin Music Press shop in Pike Place Market to sign copies of Sugar, my new chapbook, and Daughters of the Air. You can pop in to pick up copies while they last! (Also, get yourself a treat. I enjoyed a sesame red bean ball: crispy, glutinous, gooey, delightful.) Not in Seattle? You can order Sugar from Chin Music Press online right over here.

Set scene by poet & nonfiction author Michael Schmeltzer. Thank you, Michael!

Sugar, a chapbook from Chin Music Press

2 Nov

IMG_1169.JPGOh, my! It’s been a little while since I’ve updated this blog. Fun news: Chin Music Press is launching my short story Sugar as a lovely little chapbook tomorrow at the Short Run festival. The story first appeared in Gastronomica in 2013; it’s a modern, fabulist fairy tale set in Pike Place Market—and Chin Music’s sun-drenched showroom is located there too.  At least, it always seems sun-drenched when I am there. They make beautiful books! Check out Leanne Dunic’s dreamy prose poem novel To Love the Coming End and Zack Davisson’s Kaiybō: The Supernatural Cats of Japan and Kate Lebo’s A Commonplace Book of Pieall books I have thoroughly enjoyed.

If you’re in Seattle you can be among the first to get a copy at Short Run. Then, Chin Music will be at the Portland Book Festival next Saturday, November 10. You can also get a copy from me at one of my upcoming events or at the Chin Music showroom in the market.

Link for online purchases to come! In the meantime, here it is on Goodreads. And, while you’re on Goodreads, if you’re so inclined, would you vote for Daughters of the Air as your favorite debut of the past year? That is, if that is how you feel! Log into your account (or create one!), scroll down to the bottom of this page and type in the title. Write-in voting ends November 4. Thanks, always, for the love.

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“Scrolling Through the Feed” in Cascadia Magazine

30 Jan

Eric Carle's illustration of "Big Klaus, Little Klaus"

Eric Carle’s illustration of “Big Klaus, Little Klaus” in Seven Stories by Hans Christian Andersen has haunted me since childhood. When I imagined the bandits in “Scrolling Through the Feed” doing something nefarious in Interlaken Park, I pictured them in smudgy colors like this.

Over the summer, while immersing myself in Jess Walter’s fiction in preparation for interviewing him in December (you can now watch his Word Works talk on time, and the Q & A,  here on YouTube), I reread his story “Don’t Eat Cat” and felt compelled to write my own zombie story. And, because it’s me, it’s a bit a fairy tale-ish. “Scrolling Through the Feed” went online this morning in Cascadia Magazine, a new publication focusing on the Pacific Northwest, from British Columbia to Oregon. I’m happy there’s a new venue gathering long-form journalism, fiction, and poetry from the region, and one that that thinks beyond our borders.

It feels somehow appropriate for the story to go up on the same day of the State of the Union, which I will not watch. Thankfully, I’m reading tonight at the Literary Happy Hour at Capitol Cider, alongside Bill Carty, Jarret Middleton, and Jekeva Philips, hosted by Josh Potter. It runs from 5-7 pm. In line with their “drafts and drafts” theme, I’ll give a micro-craft talk on one of the earliest inspirations for Daughters of the Air.  Speaking of which, this is your last chance (ever?) to enter to win a free copy of the novel on Goodreads.  Go get it!

Upcoming Classes in Portland and Chicago: Writing Contemporary Fairy Tales

28 Jan

Canon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR is definitely high on my list of fairy tale-ish places.

Mid-February to mid-March, I’ll be zipping around the country reading from and yapping about Daughters of the Air (yay!). While I’m at it, I’ll be teaching a couple one-day classes on one of my favorite topics: writing contemporary fairy tales. In both classes we’ll short-short stories by masters of the form, Angela Carter and Kate Bernheimer, and write our own retellings and original tales.

In Portland:

Sunday, February 18, 10 am-2 pm at Literary Arts. Bring lunch! Register here.

(N.B.  I’ll be reading at Powell’s City of Books the next day, February 19 at 7:30 pm, in conversation with another fan of fairy tales, Susan DeFreitas, author of Hot Season. Here is a conversation between us on fairy tales on the Powell’s blog.)

In Chicago:

Monday, March 5, 6:30-9 pm at StoryStudio Chicago. Register here.

(And my Chicago reading will be at The Book Cellar on Saturday, March 3 at 6 pm, with Gint Aras, author of The Fugue.)




All of my upcoming readings are here.

All of my upcoming classes are here.

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Q & A on the Powell’s Blog: “Elastic Realism and Political Fiction; or, A Conversation Between Anca Szilágyi and Susan DeFreitas”

26 Jan

Bookcase brimming with Murakami, Calvino, Woolf, and more...

Not ashamed to admit I have hugged this book case…more than once.

Over on the Powell’s blog, I spoke with Susan DeFreitas, author of Hot Season, about blurring genre boundaries, political fiction, and fairy tales. In the process we touched on a slew of authors: Clarice Lispector, Nikolai Gogol, Kate Bernheimer, Lydia Millet, Denis Johnson, Ralph Ellison, Günter Grass, Angela Carter, Maya Sonenberg, Robert Coover, Rikki Ducornet, Lily Hoang, Anne Carson, and Haruki Murakami. Whew! Makes me want hug a bookcase. You can read the Q & A here.

If you’re in the Portland area, I hope you’ll join us at Powell’s City of Books on Monday, February 19 at 7:30 pm. (And if you can’t make it, you can still preorder a signed edition here to be shipped to you!)

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