Catherine McNamara is a uniquely gifted writer, able to translate her amazing travel and life experiences into thought-provoking fiction. I’ve read some of Catherine’s work, and I’m delighted to welcome her upcoming book, The Cartography of Others. It’s being crowdfunded by a UK-based press, Unbound. This promises to be a super cool campaign with some awesome pledges — how about an opera date in Verona?
The Cartography of Others is a collection of twenty stories that take place from fumy Accra to the Italian Dolomites, from suburban Sydney to high-rise Hong Kong. Lives are mapped, unpicked, crafted, overturned. Each story inhabits a location that becomes as vital as the characters themselves, men and women who are often far from home, immersed in unfamiliar cultures, estranged from those they hold dear. Love is panicked, worn, tested.
There’s a cool book video, too.
Source: Clock | Tin House
My grandmother had a mechanical wall clock powered by weights. To wind it, she pulled down one of the weights, and for the next twelve hours, the clock ticked off the lengths of the chain as the counterbalance forced it back up. . . .
Read this story on Tin House’s Open Bar flash Fridays blog.
Quick shout out, Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is all that. This week, this book was awarded John Leonard Prize for the first novel by the National Book Critics Circle.
Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Here Comes the Sun is also all that. Her protagonist just keeps on going; she’s such an interesting, complex character.
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.
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.
The most pressing news of this month is that my short story Love & Hair has been shortlisted in the Willesden Herald award, and I’m heading to London to the award ceremony and the reading! This award will be co-presented by Katy Darby and Liars’ League, which means the readings will be performed by professional actors. This event will take place on Thursday, December 8. The details are here. Print anthology of the short-listed stories is already available on Amazon. Please buy, read, and review!