An introduction to writer Yon Walls, who recently published an ebook called The Sultan’s Cook (Smashwords). The ebook includes three sudden fiction stories written after Walls returned from Istanbul, Turkey. Walls is a poet, diarist, and novelist originally from Kentucky. She’s lived in California since 1972. Walls holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College where she received the Zora Neale Hurston Writing Award twice. From 2000-2008, she taught college-level English and literature in the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley areas. In 2002 and 2007, she was a teacher and writer-in-residence in Hiroshima and Kofu, Japan. Since that time, she completed Island of Swallows, a collection of poems about Japan. Walls is currently a contributing editor for Tertuliamagazine.com. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page
An introduction to Sarah Schulman, author of The Mere Future (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009). Schulman’s numerous books include the novels Rat Bohemia, Empathy, and The Child, and the nonfiction book The Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences. She is co-director of the ACT UP Oral History Project, and she is currently organizing the first US LGBT delegation to Palestine for Winter 2012. Sarah is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at CUNY, College of Staten Island, and was awarded a Brown Foundation Fellowship from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her other awards include a Guggenheim, Fulbright, and the 2009 Kessler Award for her “Sustained Contribution to LGBT Studies.” Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Mehrdad Balali, author of the debut novel Houri (The Permanent Press). Originally from Iran, Balali spent 17 years living in the US before returning to his homeland to work as a journalist in 1991. A decade later, Balali’s press pass was revoked and he was banned from working as a journalist in Iran. He continued to cover events in the Middle East for international news agencies, including writing about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and ultimately returned to the US in 2005 to write fiction.
In Houri, Balali relays a coming of age story about Shahed, an Iranian boy raised in poverty, who finds himself constantly torn between his devoted mother and his larger-than-life, exciting, but often thoughtless, father. Despite all odds, Shahed is able to move to the US for college, where he struggles to make his way as a young man. When Shahed returns to Iran for his father’s funeral, the story unfolds as Shahed confronts childhood memories and a drastically changed Iran. Stark scenes informed by the journalist’s experiences underpin Balali’s engaging and moving novel. Shahed’s tale is rooted in Iran’s history, full of life and heartache.
An introduction to poet Jane Hirshfield, author of the new collection Come, Thief (Alfred A Knopf). When asked whether the poems of Come, Thief reflect any particular concerns of hers, Hirshfield begins with, “One lifelong theme for me has been saying yes to what’s difficult.” Hirshfield is the author of six previous collections of poetry, a book of essays called Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, and four books collecting the work of poets from the past. Her accolades include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the Academy of American Poets, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as three Pushcart Prizes, the California Book Award, The Poetry Center Book Award, and more. Her poems appear regularly in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poetry, and have been included in six editions of The Best American Poetry. Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Todd Shimoda, author of the novel Oh! A Mystery of ‘Mono no Aware’. Shimoda’s other books include The Fourth Treasure and 365 Views of Mt. Fuji. This latest book, Oh!, was selected as an NPR Summer Read, and Todd Shimoda won the Elliot Cades Award for Literature, the highest literary honor in Hawaii. Besides writing novels, Shimoda is Vice President of Chin Music Press, and Director of Product Design and Development at SF Design Associates.
An introduction to J L Powers, author of the new novel This Thing Called The Future (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). The book is about 14-year-old Khosi, who lives in a shantytown on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa with her sister, grandmother, and mother. Khosi struggles to be a big sister, a good daughter and granddaughter, to get through school, and figure out what she wants for her own future. As Khosi navigates the turbulent world of being a teenager and having crushes on boys her own age, she is also confronted with the dangers of being noticed and pursued by older men, and with the epidemic of AIDS in her community. Powers is also the author of the novel The Confessional, and the editor of the forthcoming nonfiction collection That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone. Currently she calls Northern California home, but Powers grew up in El Paso, Texas, and has also spent time living and traveling in South Africa. Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Sholeh Wolpé, an award-winning poet, literary translator, and writer. Born in Iran, she has lived in England, Trinidad, and the United States. She is the author of Rooftops of Tehran, The Scar Saloon, and Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad—for which she was awarded the Lois Roth Translation Prize in 2010. Wolpé is a regional editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East edited by Reza Aslan (WW Norton, 2010), and the editor of an upcoming anthology of poems from Iran, The Forbidden: Poems From Iran and Its Exiles (Michigan State University Press, 2012). Wolpé is also the contributing editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and poetry editor of the Levantine Review. Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Sebastian Barry, author of the novel On Canaan’s Side (Viking, 2011). Novelist, poet, and playwright, Barry lives and writes in Ireland. His plays have been produced in London, Dublin, Sydney, and New York. His novel A Long Long Way was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, as was The Secret Scripture, which was also a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award and the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction, as well as the Irish Novel of the Year. It was also selected as the Best Book of the Year by The Boston Globe and The Economist. Though not a stage performer himself, Barry possesses a talent for dramatic delivery that makes for a luxurious, mesmeric experience when he reads his work aloud.
An introduction to Joshua Mohr, author of Termite Parade, Some Things That Meant the World to Me, and the new novel Damascus (Two Dollar Radio, 2011). Mohr’s latest book details the intersecting lives of a few rough-and-tumble characters whose paths converge at a dive bar in San Francisco’s Mission District. It’s a novel that embodies the grit, uncertainty, and strength of desire that line real life. Don’t let the dark nature of the story be an obstacle, Mohr has a way of illuminating the heart of outwardly unsavory characters. Just as his candid prose pulls readers into his writing, Mohr’s genuine, warm manner will draw you in if you have a chance to meet him in person.
An introduction to Laura Lee, author of the new novel Angel (Itineris, 2011), and 12 other nonfiction books. Lee’s nonfiction books include Broke is Beautiful, the Elvis Impersonation Kit, Blame It on the Rain, and 100 Most Dangerous Things in Everyday Life. Her debut novel raises issues related to faith and sexuality that have brought Lee some marketing challenges. In this interview, Lee lets readers in on her writing process and also discusses the publication process for Angel.