Entertaining tidbits from the world of short fiction..
In Memoriam #1: JD Salinger dies aged 91. “His stories presented readers with an utterly natural, strange and often disturbing landscape. Few writers since have come close to capturing the narrative completeness Salinger achieved. Nothing is out of place, in other words. ” True/Slant. As a tribute, The New Yorker publishes 12 of his stories from back issues.
Great short story quote #1: “Short stories seem so harmless. What are they even about? People who have a hard time talking to other people, usually. But great ones — the ones that don’t just reflect life but actually conjure it in full force — can mess up your head and heart. ” Entertainment Weekly on Amy Bloom.
Get ’em for free#1:Waterstones.com is offering customers a free Ian McEwan short story as an e-book ahead of the release of his latest novel. Loyalty cardholders can download part one of Psychopolis from the retailer’s website. The story was originally published in McEwan’s short story collection In Between the Sheets and is about a lovestruck Englishman living in Los Angeles.
Great short story quote #2: “Short stories, she says, “are a great form. Not as people often think — little chips or a string of anecdotes — they have breadth and depth and are difficult to write. They’re very demanding and very different from a novel, with its endless darkness, endless climb.” Amy Bloom on short stories, Hartford Courant
Congrats #1: Penn State University English and creative writing professor Eugene Cross has won the annual $5,000 Dzanc Prize from Dzanc Books. The award supports both his creative writing and his efforts to build a series of creative workshops for refugees from Nepal, Sudan and Bhutan living in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. Alongside his workshops, Cross hopes to complete his short story collection, “Fires of Our Choosing.” Dzanc Prize
Short story rage: “Today I was asked if I would write a short short story. It would be part of a Fringe Festival – dread words – and would go up on some walls in an exhibition of similar short short stories, but without my name attached to it. .. in the mad world of those with well-meaning but lunatic desires for egalitarianism in absolutely everything my fifty years writing 43 books, learning my trade and re-learning it, practising my craft, hoping to improve, reading the best to learn from them, putting out words in a careful order every day of my life, working with the talent I was given by God – none of that matters a jot….” Susan Hill in the Spectator.
Who knew? #1: “F.X. Toole, a cut man who became a literary sensation at the age of 70 with the short stories that inspired the Oscar-winning movie MILLION DOLLAR BABY, has been named the winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America’s 2010 A.J. Liebling Award…The acclaim for Toole’s gritty, evocative short story collection ROPE BURNS served as the final reward for a knockaround guy who spent so much of his life as an unpublished — and frustrated — writer. ” Boxing Blog.
Celeb endorsements #1: “Timothy Hutton – Literary Sex god… Hutton has recently tweeted his affinity for Deborah Eisenberg’s short-story collection, Twilight of the Superheroes.” ChristianKaneFan Blog
Musicians jump on short stories bandwagon #1: “Israeli death metallers SALEM have revealed the album artwork and final tracklisting on the group’s upcoming seventh full-length album entitled “Playing God And Other Short Stories.”” MetalUnderground.com
Musicians jump on short stories bandwagon #2: “Keyboardist Franz Nicolay Leaves The Hold Steady…This will presumably open up his schedule to more solo material, like his 2009 album Major General and his upcoming short story collection Complicated Gardening Techniques“. Prefix mag
We heartily agree #1: “Let’s Declare the 2010s the Decade of the Short Story…According to The Guardian, 2009 was the year of the short story. I’m going to have to agree with them. After all, Oprah chose a short story collection for her book club for the very first time, Alice Munro won the Man Booker International, Elizabeth Strout’s short story collection was awarded the Pulitzer, and great short story collections were published. One Story’s subscriptions are higher than ever, which surprised us–after all, the economy is forcing all of us to tighten our wallets.” Save the Short Story
We’d love to read this if we had a translator #1: “Multi-awarded writer and winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (Short Story in Hiligaynon) Prof. Alice Tan-Gonzales launched her [collection] entitled “Sa Taguangkan sang Duta kag Iban Pa nga Sugilanon (In the Womb of the Earth and Other Stories)” at the UPV Art Gallery on December 4, 2009 at UPV Iloilo City Campus.The collection of short stories is, according to Prof. Gonzales, her answer to the demoralizing opinion expressed by some from the metropolitan center that writing in the regional languages is dying . It is her hope that this small collection would impel a rush of literary activity and publication among talented Hiligaynon writers in the region, some of whom, she said, are hiding in the shadows of “unpublishedness” and anonymity. The News Today
Short stories save the economy and up your street cred #1: “In these trying times of economic uncertainty, many of us are looking for ways to maximise efficiency and return on investment, while minimising risk and limiting the possibility of failure….Fear not, intrepid investors! The library has the perfect solution – Short Stories. That’s right, audience, you heard me. For decades regarded as the poor cousin of ‘real books’, these polished little beauties offer all the excitement and intrigue of a novel, but with so many added advantages……They sound posh. Literary, even. “What are you reading?” “Oh, this? It’s just a little collection of short stories by one of my favourite authors.” “Ooohh, posh!”” Christchurch City Libraries Blog
What a Shame #1: “Cardiff-based author Jo Verity won the Richard and Judy Short Story award in 2003 with The Bells, a year before they launched their wider book club….As a result of the exposure, Welsh publisher Honno bought her first novel, but she says she was surprised by the lack of attention following her Richard and Judy success. “After winning, I thought that people would beat a path to my door, but there was absolutely nothing,” Verity recalls. “I think it was because no one wants to read short stories.”” WalesOnline
A Rare Find #1: “Occasionally from the nation’s cultural attic come rare finds, like this wondrous new collection of Kurt Vonnegut short stories. This collection holds 14 previously unpublished short stories written after World War II when Vonnegut was back home after witnessing the firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner of war.” Post Gazette
Congrats #2: “Kalamazoo author Bonnie Jo Campbell has garnered another honor for her short story collection “American Salvage.” On Saturday, she was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction” Kalamazoo Living
Great short story quote #3: “If you are feeling particularly ants-in-your-pants-y, and don’t have much time to read, grab a short story collection and put your 20 minute attention span to good use. That episode of Dancing with the Stars can wait.” Tulsa Library Blog
Great short story quote #4: “Last night at dinner, my friend Scott explained to someone, “Becky writes short stories–short stories are to the point, but you don’t always know what the point *is*.” Such a good summation of the strengths and weaknesses of stories.” Rose-coloured: Talking Stories blog.
Happy 150th, Chekhov! #1: “ANTON CHEKHOV once told a friend that he expected to be forgotten within seven years of his death. He could not have been more wrong. Whenever the art of the short story is discussed his is the name most often mentioned.” Irish Times
Starting young #1 “Adora Svitak, 12, describes herself as an “educator, poet and humanitarian.” After publishing her first book of short stories, “Flying Fingers”, at age seven, she dedicated all profits from sales in China to a Tibetan orphanage and raised $30,000 to help children threatened by massive floods in Vietnam in 2007. Now, Svitak is attempting to raise $10,000 for Save the Children’s relief efforts in Haiti through her Twitter account”. Huffington Post.
Musicians jump on short stories bandwagon #3 & Short Review Authors #1: “Singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado has optioned the film rights to Anthony De Sa’s linked story collection, Barnacle Love [reviewd on TSR here]. The deal was arranged by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates, on behalf of The Bukowski Agency.” Quill and Quire.
Congrats #3 & We’d love to read this if we had a translator #2: “Short story writers have won all of the 2010 Rancage Literary Awards, which recognise outstanding literature written in local languages. The Rancage Cultural Foundation has selected this year’s award winners, given annually to Sundanese, Javanese, Balinese and Lampung literary figures for their creative excellence and dedication to preserving local literary traditions.” The Jakarta Post
Get ’em for free #2: “Todd Brendan Fahey, author of the novel Wisdom’s Maw [Far Gone Books, 1996]–surrounding the CIA’s LSD experiments, known as Project MK-ULTRA–has opted to disperse his collection of black satire, “Dogshit Park & other atrocities,” freely over the Internet.” pr.com
Happy 150th, Chekhov! #2: “his stories are full of people who espouse views very similar to the above – enlightened misfits, philanthropic gentry, civilised professionals (often doctors like himself) holding a candle for reason, justice and all the rest. But the stories themselves invariably subject this posture to challenges that cast doubt over its relevance, even its basic validity, so that to pin down an authorial point of view becomes impossible.” The Guardian
No Age Limit #1: “The Bookbite survey of 1,162 people over 60 suggested they were increasingly confident with the internet and they were using it to find information about an older medium – books. More than 55% said the internet was a crucial part of their lives, while 31% were keen to go online to publish short stories and join book clubs.” BBC News
Short stories on film #1: “a short story by British author Eleanor Farjeon, is being adapted into a Japanese/Korean animation feature film. The Union Cho animation studio plans to release The Moon – Tsuki ga Hoshii to Ōjo-sama ga Naita comical fairy-tale fantasy in Spring of 2011. Farjeon first published the original story in The Little Bookroom, the 1955 short story collection that earned the author the first Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Carnegie Medal.” Anime News Network
Happy 150th Birthday, Chekhov! #3: “As worldwide celebrations marking the 150th birthday celebrations of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov continue, a CD of some of his most renowned works is being launched. Short Stories by Anton Chekhov Bk.2, narrated by Russian-born actor Max Bollinger, features the dramatic stories Anyuta; The Helpmate; Ivan Matveyitch; Polinka; and Talent. Featuring music from Pytor Tchaikovsky, the stories are based on the original translations by Constance Clara Garnett, a 19th century expert of Russian literature, and are produced by Interactive Media.” Pressport
Who knew? #1: “Everyone pretty much assumed John Hughes didn’t quit writing when he quit Hollywood, and eventually some archive would burst open with nearly 20 years of stockpiled Hughesian goodies. But good luck finding anyone outside the late filmmaker’s inner circle who knew he’d been publishing in our midst all along — not as John Hughes, alas, but as the pseudonymous, prolific short-story craftsman JL Hudson. Like, really short. But also, as a few newly published samples prove, pretty damned excellent.” Movieline
Congrats #3 & Short Review Authors #2: “Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, which we reviewed here, is a finalist for the National Book Award.
What David Sedaris Read this Year #1: “ometimes, I do sit down and read with my eyes. This year, I came across several short-story collections I exceptionally love,….My four favorite collections, arranged alphabetically, were: “Irish Girl,” by Tim Johnston, “Too Much Happiness,” by Alice Munro, “Do Not Deny Me” by Jean Thompson, “Everything Ravaged Everything Burned,” by Wells Tower”.” New Yorker Book Bench