Marissa Bell Toffoli

Archive for the ‘fiction’ Category

Interview With Writer Bhuwan Thapaliya

In fiction, poetry, writing on February 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Bhuwan Thapaliya

Bhuwan Thapaliya. Photo by Rehal Kharel.

An introduction to Nepalese writer Bhuwan Thapaliya, who works as an economist, and is the author of four poetry collections. Thapaliya’s books include the recently released Safa Tempo: Poems New and Selected (Nirala Publication, New Delhi), and Our Nepal, Our Pride ( Poetry by Thapaliya has been included in The New Pleiades Anthology of Poetry and Tonight: An Anthology of World Love Poetry, as well as in literary journals such as Urhalpool, MahMag, Kritya, FOLLY, The Vallance Review, Nuvein Magazine, Foundling Review, Poetry Life and Times, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, Taj Mahal Review, and more. When asked if there is a quote that motivates him, Thapaliya shared these lines: “Luck lies in bed and wishes somebody to bring him his tea every morning when he wakes up after a long sleep. Labor wakes up from his bed and heads towards the kitchen to make his own cup of tea every day after a brief slumber in peace.”

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Interview With Writer Lowry Pei

In books, fiction, writing on January 25, 2012 at 10:22 am
Lowry Pei

Lowry Pei. Photo by Vaughn Sills.

An introduction to Lowry Pei, author of the novel Over the Fence ( Pei’s first book, Family Resemblances, was published by Random House in 1986. His stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories 1984, The American Story: The Best of StoryQuarterly, and his book reviews have been published in the New York Times Book Review. Pei’s unique point of view owes much to his unlikely origins as the son of an engineer from Suzhou, China, and a schoolteacher from a small town in Kansas. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, and teaches writing at Simmons College.

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Interview With Writer Sarah Schulman

In art, books, fiction, nonfiction, writing on December 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm
Sarah Schulman

Sarah Schulman. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

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 »

Interview With Writer Mehrdad Balali

In books, censorship, fiction, journalism, writing on December 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm
Mehrdad Balali

Mehrdad Balali. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

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.

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Interview With Writer Todd Shimoda

In art, books, fiction, writing on December 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm
Todd Shimoda

Todd Shimoda. Photo by Linda Shimoda.

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.

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Interview With Writer J.L. Powers

In editors, fiction, nonfiction, writing, young adult (YA) on November 12, 2011 at 10:22 am
J L Powers

J L Powers. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

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 »

Interview With Writer Sebastian Barry

In books, fiction, plays, poetry, writing on October 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm
Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

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.

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Interview With Writer Joshua Mohr

In books, fiction, writing on October 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm
Joshua Mohr

Joshua Mohr. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

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.

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Interview With Writer Laura Lee

In books, fiction, nonfiction, writing on October 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm
Laura Lee

Laura Lee. Photo courtesy of the author.

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.

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Interview With Writer Sue Johnson

In books, fiction, poetry, writing on September 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm
Sue Johnson

Sue Johnson. Photo by Bob Woodroofe.

An introduction to writer Sue Johnson, author of the new novel Fable’s Fortune (Indigo Dreams, UK). A Home Study Tutor for Writers’ News Magazine, Johnson also organizes her own brand of writing workshops. She publishes Writer’s Toolkit booklets designed to help new writers. Johnson’s book on writing novels, Creative Alchemy: 12 Steps From Inspiration to Finished Novel, will be published by HotHive Books in October 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Updated Paul Harding Interview

In fiction, literary journals, pulitzer prize on August 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm
Paul Harding

Paul Harding. Photo by Gary Ottley.

My extended interview with Paul Harding is available in the newly published Eleven Eleven Issue 11. Hot off the press and only available in print, Harding expands on his Words With Writers interview from 2010. He answers additional questions about his current project, how his background in music influences his writing, what it’s like to win the Pulitzer for your first book, what he finds challenging about writing, how his goals have changed over time, and his advice for aspiring writers. Go forth and read, and enjoy that you’re also supporting an artful literary mag!

Interview With Writer Catherine McNamara

In books, fiction, short stories, writing on July 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm
Catherine McNamara

Catherine McNamara. Photo by Finley McNamara-Provencal.

An introduction to writer Catherine McNamara whose novel The Divorced Lady’s Companion to Living in Italy (Indigo Dreams, UK) will be released in October 2011. McNamara grew up in Sydney, Australia, went on to travel and live in five other countries, and currently resides in Italy where she works as a translator and writer. Her children’s book Nii Kwei’s Day was published by Frances Lincoln, and her short stories have appeared in numerous publications including Wasafiri (forthcoming in 2012), The View From Here, Kerouac’s Dog, Australian Reader, and Pretext.

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Interview With Writer Jeff Gillenkirk

In books, fiction, writing on June 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm
Jeff Gillenkirk

Jeff Gillenkirk. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

An introduction to Jeff Gillenkirk, author of the new novel Home, Away (Chin Music Press, 2011). His is also the author of an award-winning nonfiction book, and his writing has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, and other publications. In Gillenkirk’s debut novel, the main character, Jason Thibodeaux, has a contract to pitch for the Colorado Rockies when the son he lost in a custody battle re-enters his life. With baseball as a backdrop, Home, Away explores family, what it means to be a father, and what people do for the ones they love. It’s the perfect Father’s Day read, and an inspiring look at how families can learn to pull together to face challenges in life. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Andrew Krivak

In books, fiction, writing on June 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm
Andrew Krivak

Andrew Krivak. Photo by Marzena Pogorzaly.

An introduction to Andrew Krivak, author of the novel The Sojourn (Bellevue Literary Press, 2011). Krivak is also the author of A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life, a memoir about his eight years in the Jesuit Order, and he is the editor of The Letters of William Carlos Williams to Edgar Irving Williams, 1902-1912. He holds an MFA from the Writing Program at Columbia, and he has a PhD in Literature from Rutgers. The Sojourn was inspired by Krivak’s own family history, particularly the experiences of his grandparents and their contemporaries. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Céline Keating

In books, fiction, writing on June 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm
Céline Keating

Céline Keating. Photo by Mark Levy.

An introduction to Céline Keating, author of the debut novel Layla (Plain View Press, 2011) that has also been listed as a HuffPost Books On Our Radar: Best Books Just Out Or Coming Soon We Thought You Should Know About.” Keating’s articles appear regularly in Acoustic Guitar and Minor 7th magazines, and have also been published in Guitar World and Coastal Living magazines. Her short fiction has been published in many literary journals, including Prairie Schooner and Santa Clara Review. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Alexander MacLeod

In books, fiction, short stories, writing on May 31, 2011 at 9:28 pm
Alexander MacLeod

Alexander MacLeod. Photo by Heather Crosby.

An introduction to Alexander MacLeod, author of the debut story collection Light Lifting (Biblioasis, 2010). MacLeod holds degrees from the University of Windsor, the University of Notre Dame, and McGill. He teaches at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A national bestseller in Canada, Light Lifting was released in the US in April 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Monday Night Editors

In art, books, editors, fiction, literary journals, nonfiction, poetry, writing on May 23, 2011 at 11:32 pm
Monday Night 9 cover

Monday Night Issue 9. Cover design by Sharon McGill (2010).

An introduction to Sharon McGill, Heather Miller, Nana K Twumasi, and Jessica Wickens, the editorial team that publishes the literary journal Monday Night. Open submissions are held from September to December. The idea to start Monday Night came out of a writing group where Jessica Wickens and Sharon McGill first met. The debut issue of the journal published in 2001. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Keren David

In books, fiction, writing, young adult (YA) on May 16, 2011 at 11:20 am
Keren David

Keren David. Photo by Faye Thomas.

An introduction to Keren David, author of Almost True (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2011), the sequel to her debut novel When I Was Joe. Keren David’s first novel was published in the UK in January 2010, and won the North East Teenage Book Award. A journalist by trade, Keren David began writing fiction when she returned to live in London after eight years abroad. She explained that “the experience of being a stranger in my own land really inspired me to write. I saw everything with a new eye.”

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