Reading in Sausalito

jan-12-2017-wtaw-readers

I’m excited to participate in the seventh anniversary of Why There Are Words reading series. rom the beginning, founder Peg Alford Pursell and her team have been fostering a sense of camaraderie between writers and readers, providing such necessary opportunities for all of us to connect. This night promises to be all that! Come come come.

When: 7 pm on January 12, 2017

Where: Studio 333, 333 Caledonia St. Sausalito, CA

Why There Are Words will celebrate its 7th anniversary Jan. 12, 2017! “Lucky Seven + One to Grow On” will feature the following eight acclaimed authors who’ve appeared at WTAW over the past seven years. Additionally, the publishing arm, WTAW Press will announce the selection of the first two titles it will publish in 2017. AND, we’ll toast the launch of WTAW’s national neighborhood of readings in New York City, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Portland and Austin, set to begin in February. Join us at Studio 333 in Sausalito. Doors open at 7pm; readings begin at 7:15. $10 (cash or check).

Afghan-American author Tamim Ansary wrote West of Kabul, East of New York, San Francisco’s  “One City One Book” selection for 2008, as well as the best-selling Destiny Disrupted, A history of the world through Islamic Eyes. His latest book, Road Trips, is about dropping out of a society he wasn’t even a part of.  He lives with his wife Deborah and his cat Raoul in San Francisco, where he teaches memoir writing workshops dedicated to the proposition that if no one remembers it, it didn’t happen. His work-in-progress is a meta-history of the world: Ripple Effects, How we all came to be so interconnected and why we’re still fighting. He hopes that if writing it doesn’t kill him, it will make him stronger.

Rebecca Foust’s most recent book, Paradise Drive, won the Press 53 Poetry Award and is nominated for the 2016 Poets’ Prize. It was widely reviewed, in the Georgia Review, Harvard Review, Hudson Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere. Recognitions include the American Literary Review Fiction Award, the James Hearst Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Frost Place, MacDowell, and Sewanee.

Joan Frank is the author of six books of fiction, and a book of collected essays. Her new novel, All the News I Need, won the 2016 Juniper Prize for Fiction, and will be published next month (February 2017) by the University of Massachusetts Press. (Yes, it is possible to pre-order, and Joan will be thrilled and wildly grateful if you do.) Her last novel, Make It Stay, won the Dana Portfolio Award; her last story collection, In Envy Country, won the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, and was named a finalist for the California Book Award. Her last book of collected essays, Because You Have To: A Writing Life, also won the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award. Joan holds an MFA in Fiction from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Recipient of many grants, fellowships and literary honors, Joan is also a frequent reviewer of literary fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in the North Bay Area of California.

Evan and Miles Karp are Turk & Divis, an intersection where chance, rhythm, and processed repetition collide with modified fragments of language to form serendipitous anthems and intimate, often polyvocal meditations inside of those anthems. Old school samples and some of tomorrow’s most unusual hits @ turkanddivis.bandcamp.com. Evan is also the mastermind behind Quiet Lightning and Litseen.

Kate Milliken’s debut collection of stories, If I’d Known You Were Coming, won the John Simmons Award for Short Fiction, judged by Julie Orringer, and was published by the University of Iowa Press. The recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Tin House, Yaddo, and several pushcart nominations, Kate’s stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Fiction, and the Santa Monica Review, among others. In 2009, Kate and her family moved from Los Angeles to the suburban wilds of Mill Valley, where they knew almost no one. Soon after, in search of a writing community, Kate wrote to an instructor she found online. That instructor was Peg Alford Pursell.

Joshua Mohr is the author of five novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.”  He’s also written Fight Song and Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times. His novel All This Life won the Northern California Book Award. His first book of nonfiction, a memoir called Sirens, is out this January 2017.

Naomi J. Williams is the author of Landfalls (FSG 2015), long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award. Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as Zoetrope: All-Story, A Public Space, One Story, The Southern Review, and The Gettysburg Review. A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee and one-time winner, Naomi has an MA in Creative Writing from UC Davis. Naomi was born in Japan and spoke no English until she was six years old. Today she lives in Davis, California, where she teaches creative writing and serves as co-director of the literary series Stories on Stage Davis. She’s hard at work on new writing projects, including a novel about the early 20th-century Japanese poet Yosano Akiko.

Olga Zilberbourg was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and moved to the United States at the age of seventeen. In 2016, her third book of fiction in Russian was published in Moscow-based Vremya Press. Olga’s English-language fiction has appeared in and is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, World Literature Today, Feminist Studies, California Prose Directory, Narrative Magazine, Santa Monica Review, and other print and online publications. Olga serves as a consulting editor at Narrative Magazine and is a co-moderator of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.

Why There Are Words takes place every second Thursday of the month, when people come from all over the Bay Area to crowd the house. The brainchild of Peg Alford Pursell, this literary goodness celebrates seven years of presenting voices that need to be heard. Why There Are Words is, of 2017, a national neighborhood of readings, taking place in NYC, LA, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Austin. Its publishing arm is WTAW Press.

 

Interview in a Russian journal

Интервью брал Сергей Князев для журнала “Питербук”:

Недавно в московском издательстве «Время» вышел сборник рассказов Ольги Гренец «Хлоп-страна». Как и две предыдущих книги, вышедших в петербургских издательствах, — «Кофе Inn» и «Ключи от потерянного дома» — это переводы с английского, несмотря на то, что Ольга — уроженка Ленинграда и, по своим собственным словам, заочно училась писать у Лидии Корнеевны Чуковской и Михаила Булгакова. В интервью русская писательница, живущая в Сан-Франциско и сочиняющая на английском говорит о своем третьем сборнике рассказов «Хлоп-страна», разнице между русским и американским Сэлинджером и правилах создания текста, которые можно не соблюдать.

— У вас вышла уже третья книга рассказов. Почему именно рассказы, ведь считается, что популярностью у публики и издателей пользуются главным образом романы?

— Когда я только начинала писать, трудно было бороться со своим внутренним критиком. Напишешь предложение, думаешь: так уже тысячу раз писали, надо по-другому…

Продолжение тут.

Infestation

bedroom

Lying in bed on Saturday night, her eyes closed in the imperfect darkness of the room, her limbs cooling from the day’s chores, Marcie felt a crawling sensation on her right arm, the one outside the blanket. Something crept from her shoulder down to her wrist and then jumped to her belly.

Marcie was lying on her left side, hugging the body pillow in a way that felt comfortable in the thirty-second week of pregnancy. The squash-sized creature inside her belly was still asleep, but the longer she stayed horizontal, the sooner it would be waking up. Marcie needed to get her sleep as efficiently as possible.

The sheet, covering her belly, moved. ….

read the rest of the story in World Literature Today’s January issue.

New Short Stories 9: Awards and Launch

Copying the post by the Willesden Herald:

Katy Darby announces the overall winner and runners-up in the Willesden Herald international short story competition 2016, and shares her responses to each of the stories. In the audience were all but one of the writers whose stories were short-listed, including some who travelled from as far away as Italy, France and America.

Towards the end of the video, it becomes clear which story has taken first prize, and we proceed to the presentation and a charming acceptance speech.

And the winner is…

First prize and the one-off mug, inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 2016”, and Champagne goes to Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg.

Katy also announced equal runners-up, receiving consolation prizes:
The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival by David Lewis
Undercurrents by Gina Challen

In accordance with the rules, the prize fund of £750 was divided equally among the finalists, who also received two copies each of the anthology.

Here is Miranda Harrison, reading from the opening of Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg.

To find out who really sent the text, and what happens in the end, you will have to read Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9. Available from Amazon.co.uk (for UK, Ireland and Europe) and Amazon.com (US and rest of the world) and other online booksellers.

The ten best short stories of 2016, are presented in the random sequence in which they were originally read, as good a system as any!, and together present a pleasing selection of contemporary fiction.

Winning Stories: Undercurrents by Gina Challen; Twisted by Tracy Fells; Looking for Nathalie by Susan Haigh; All That Remains by Rob Hawke; The Volcano by Anna Lewis; The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival by David Lewis; The Cliffs of Bandiagara by Catherine McNamara; Supersum by Barbara Robinson; Last Call at the Rialto by Daniel Waugh; Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg

Love and Hair

I’m delighted to report that my story “Love and Hair” won Willesden Herald’s International short story competition. The award ceremony took place in London this week, and I took home the coveted prize: a large mug and a bottle of campaign. The story appears in an anthology, New Short Stories 9, together with nine other short-listed stories. I’ve been reading the anthology, and I’m so impressed with the competition.

Here’s the snippet from my story. The print anthology is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

The stage crew had been drinking since The Wizard of Oz Singalong the night before and now the director, suffering from a sinus infection, was losing her voice, pleading over the phone with actors calling in sick. This was a radical departure from the spirit of fun and camaraderie I’d expected when I volunteered to perform in an amateur production of The Vagina Monologues. During our final run-through just hours before opening night curtain, we were three actors short and had to find substitutes. I’d recruited half a dozen of my friends to buy tickets—and what if any of them actually showed up? The lack of professionalism embarrassed me.

As the rehearsal finally got underway, my phone buzzed. The house manager turned to me and hissed, animal-like, “What’s that?” She’d been getting on my nerves all afternoon, having berated me for bringing a burrito into the theatre and for daring to eat it while she talked to us about emergency exits. I ignored her and looked at my phone.

A text message: “I’m in San Francisco.” My new phone failed to decode the number, but I had a good feeling the text came from this girl Hana, an Israeli who lived in Portland.

“Great,” I texted back, “I’ll see you after the show.”

On the first night I’d met her, Hana put her hand on my shoulder, gripping firmly, and said, “You look so Russian, Yelena. I’d love to seduce you.” Then she toasted me with whiskey and walked away.