“Hold Your Breath Until the Future Comes” published in The Bare Life Review

I’m very happy to have a longer story of mine published in the new issue of The Bare Life Review, a magazine for immigrant and refugee writers. Issue number 4 (they are published annually) has a particular focus on climate change. I’m deeply grateful to Maria Kuznetsova for her insightful edits that helped this story to become more dynamic.

The buzzer rings. The baby must’ve felt the quake in my body. He loses the nipple and screams. I’d passed out for a few minutes, but I’m certainly awake now, and I too want to scream. Did the baby’s diaper leak on my stomach just now, or is it sweat and breastmilk pooling between us?


The air ventilation system broke in my building a few days ago. It’s June in Brooklyn, and the heat is unbearable. I nursed Anton on the couch in the living room, and my breasts are covered in liquid. He’s tired, unhappy. It feels like the two of us are bearing the brunt of the global warming, and there’s nowhere to run.

The buzzer rings again.

https://barelifereview.square.site/product/tblr-vol-4/1?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false

The Bare Life Review is a gorgeous print publication. To continue reading, please buy the mag!

Writing and Reviewing Queer Russian Literature: A Conversation with Konstantin Kropotkin

Punctured Lines

We’re delighted to publish our conversation with Konstantin Kropotkin, an author and literary and film critic who reviews LGBT books and movies, as well as trends in Russian culture. Kropotkin’s novels and collections of short stories centering queer lives are available on Amazon, in Russian. His commentary on queer culture appears daily on his Telegram blog “Sodom i umora,” and he contributes full-form critical essays to top Russian-language publications. Kropotkin lives in Germany and this conversation was conducted in English and Russian over email, and subsequently translated by the interviewer.

Olga Zilberbourg: Much of your fiction has been focused on portraying the lives of gay men, and as a critic you pay particular attention to LGBT literature and film. Your popular Telegram blog “Sodom i umora” is dedicated to queer books and movies in Russian or in translation to Russian. Despite the retrograde homophobic laws that Russia has passed…

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Reading for Neustadt International Prize for Literature

World Literature Today has recently announced the names of the jury members who will select the finalists for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and I’m happy and proud to report that I will be a part of this jury. The finalists for the prize will be announced on June 15, 2021, and final deliberations and voting for the 2022 prize will take place at Oklahoma University during the Neustadt Lit Fest in October.

Here are the bios of all the jurors.

“..it was secret and nobody could trick her out of it.” #Zilberbourg2021 #LikeWater

So grateful for this wonderful review from one of the most amazing book bloggers out there!! I learn so much from Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings.

Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings

As a rule, I am totally rubbish at taking part in, and sticking to, any kind of reading challenge. Whether it’s someone’s reading week, or a readalong, or just making my own plan and following it through, I pretty much always fail. So when I approached a recent Twitter readalong – which I really *did* want to take part in! – I had little confidence I would see it through. However, I’m pleased to report that not only did I stick to the schedule, but also that this turned out to be the perfect way to read the book in question! 😀

The book is “Like Water and Other Stories” by Olga Zilberbourg, her English-language debut published in 2019 by wtaw press. Zilberbourg was born in what was then Leningrad, USSR, but grew up in what reverted to St. Petersburg in 1991 and now lives in California. As well…

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Conversations Between Friends: Nancy Au and Olga Zilberbourg

At the beginning of October, 2019, Nancy Au and Olga Zilberbourg celebrated the publication of their books Spider Love Song and Other Stories and Like Water and Other Stories. The E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore of Oakland, CA, generously hosted their conversation. Nancy grew up in San Francisco and writes about three generations of Chinese-American families. Olga grew up in the Soviet Union and Russia and immigrated to the United States, where she landed in San Francisco. Each of their story collections center on immigrant relationships and complex family dynamics. Following up on their in-person conversation, the authors unpacked their lived experiences and approaches to craft in the email exchange documented here.

Read this conversation in CRAFT magazine.

Webinar on Flash Fiction

Coming up tomorrow, April 7th at 3 pm Pacific and 6 pm Eastern, on Zoom. As a part of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Alumni Actor, Artist & Author Series, I’ll be doing a talk on Everyone’s a Writer: Reading and Writing Flash Fiction. The talk is aimed at a general audience, and will be of particular interest to people who have always dreamed of writing but have been intimidated by it or simply have never made time for it. I came to writing after a stint in market research, and I will make the case for Flash as the perfect genre for beginning writers with a lot of experience of the world, that it allows us to share our tales with a wide audience. (And for people who don’t even know what Flash is, I promise to lay out a definition.)  Please, preregister for this Zoom webinar!

Review: Three Apples Fell From the Sky

Thanks to The Common, a magazine dedicated to literature of place, and editor Nina Sudhakar for working with me and publishing my review of Narine Abgaryan’s novel in Lisa C. Hayden’s translation. I highly recommend this book, and if anyone interested, I know of a Twitter read-together group that’s planning to dig into this novel in March 2021.

A brave writer begins her novel with the deathbed. Instead of hooking a reader the way the proverbial gun on the wall might, opening with a death scene threatens her with the inevitable backstory.

Luckily, Narine Abgaryan is both a brave and an experienced writer. Three Apples Fell from the Sky is her fifth full-length novel, which won Russia’s prestigious Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award in 2016. Maine-based Lisa C. Hayden translated this novel for Oneworld, and after a COVID19-based delay, the book was released in the UK in August 2020. The novel opens with Anatolia Sevoyants, the protagonist, as she lies down “to breathe her last.” Soon, though, we learn that while Anatolia fully intends to die, life is far from finished with her.

https://www.thecommononline.org/three-apples-fell-from-the-sky/

I Give Up in Mumber Mag

My flash “I Give Up” is now available in the second issue of Mumber Mag! I’m grateful to the editor Harry Leeds for his thoughtful comments on this piece, helping to make it less wordy and amplifying the sense of movement and breathlessness with which its overwhelmed speaker addresses the world.

The next crayon hit him right between the eyes. The next two hit the windshield and the car swerved, coming dangerously close to a refrigerator truck. My husband screamed.

In response, the two-year old started screaming.

https://www.mumbermag.me/2020/12/28/i-give-up/

The Mumber Two (OMG that title) is a delightful issue all around, worth reading cover-to-cover!

No Horse Required published in CALYX

So proud to have a story in the current issue of CALYX. I wrote the first draft of “No Horse Required” in August 2008, that’s 12 years ago! Two years ago, the editors of this magazine requested edits, and one year ago, they accepted it for publication. A version of this story appeared in my 2010 Russian-language collection. For context, the story opens in 1992, and altogether it’s been quite a journey!

When I was thirteen years old, I yearned for a passionate and committed friendship modeled after the books I was reading. Never mind that I was a girl and that, in these books, friendship was reserved for a particular relationship between boys and men. These books were standard fodder for earnest Soviet children, complemented by selections from the international library: The Three Musketeers, Ivanhoe, The Pathfinder. I searched for blood friends, for true soul mates among my classmates, but the boys preferred computer games and the girls wanted to watch American movies.

https://www.calyxpress.org/shop/vol-321/

The issues are available on sale through the mag’s website. I have a few copies, DM me if you want one.