Now available to pre-order is a book I did not expect to write: The Goldblum Variations. Here’s the cover, from 404 Ink:
The idea came from a prompt from writer Gillian Best for The Paperchain Podcast. I wrote a short, absurdist collection of microfictions for the podcast, then went on to write a whole book of them, including such chapters as:
Past Lives of Jeff Goldblum
Bingo Goldbingo (Jeff Goldblum Bingo)
Fragments of Jeff Goldblum
Checking in with Jeff Goldblum on Alternative Earths
and many more.
I promise a joyous, weird experience rich in Jeff Goldblumness. At only 40 pages, it makes the ideal stocking stuffer for Christmas too.
Pre-order it here (only £5 + £1 postage)
404 Ink, started by Heather McDaid and Laura Jones, are the publishing house behind the excellent essay collection Nasty Women and surreal, hilarious short story collection Hings by Chris McQueer – so I am utterly thrilled to say that they are also going to be publishing two books by me!
- My debut story collection, On the Edges of Vision, came out in 2015 and won the Saltire First Book of the Year. The press who originally published it have since shuttered, but 404 have taken it up and are going to shepherd it back into the world.
The collections are coming out in March 2018, so you’ve not too long to wait!
Here’s the full announcement from 404 Ink.
As an aside, I went for a photoshoot with 404 Ink and photographer Sinéad Grainger – the pictures she took are great and you can see a couple via the link. Here’s my favourite, and new author photo:
credit: Sinéad Grainger
I have a kind of a companion piece to the personal anthology of flash that went up the other day: an essay on how to read things that we don’t think are for us, including flash fiction (which plenty of people struggle to read, I’ve found, and not wish was something else)
Here it is: You know what you like. You read a particular type of book, but you won’t venture into certain territories, because they are boring, or they are Not For You. You don’t “get” poetry. You only get poetry of a certain type. You only read macros on Instagram. You don’t see the point of flash fiction. Short stories are fine (but you haven’t read any all the way through in a few years). Harry Potter inspired your adoration for reading, but nothing has lived up to that thrill.
It’s basically a love song to the joys and rewards of reading indiscriminately but attentively. Check it out here. If it makes even one person take a breath and read something new and challenging, I shall be happy.
Writer and critic Jonathan Gibbs has created a tinyletter in which he invites other writers to make up a personal anthology of short stories – and he has very kindly asked me to give mine. I chose flash fiction, beloved genre, and found a lot of enjoyment in researching just which stories I wanted for this hypothetical project. In the piece, I’ve linked to a lot of excellent fictions, so I’d encourage you to go over and take a look (brew yourself a big cup of tea or a whole cafetiere) and take this lazy day to read through them all. Especially so if you haven’t read much flash before now, or haven’t heard of it before (welcome, if so, please thing about buying my collection, and some of the books mentioned in the link, may this form delight you). Under each link to excellence, I try to break down what I love about it. A snippet:
This story recently placed third in an online flash fiction contest and to my mind is one of those pieces that shows how much can be packed into a small space – like a suitcase that is not just overflowing, but so full it seems to warp the notion of a suitcase at all.
Read my piece in full here, and subscribe to Gibbs’ weekly tinyletter here (highly recommended).
Let me know if you go on to buy a flash anthology or loved (or did not love) the stories I link to!
A story from the newest collection I’m working on – While We Have the Light – is up on The Wild Hunt:
I have arranged my shoes in their boxes from the smallest size to the largest, around my body, which is only one size, the size it has been since I was thirteen. I am an adult now but a coiled one, waiting in this body yet to spring.
Read the full piece here.
I say it’s a story but there might be some debate over that – is it in fact a prose poem? It has a kind of narrative, but also circles around itself. Read it, and let me know what you think either here or on twitter, I’d love to know where you fall on it.
The second #ScotLitFest is coming up this weekend!
There are lots of things planned for this online book festival (for the full catalogue check out their website) – my event is an online flash fiction workshop, taking place on Facebook on Sunday between 1-2pm (BST). To sign up for a place, tweet ScotLitFest (through this link) and ask to be added. Alternatively, contact them through the ScotLitFest Facebook page. There will be writing prompts, a bit of feedback, tips for revision and a recommended reading list to help you with your writing, and I can’t wait!
In other news, there have been a few thoughtful, generous reviews of Flesh of the Peach recently – including The Writes of Woman, The Bottle Imp, Scots Whay Hae and The F Word. For more, check out my Press tab, recently updated.
Naomi at The Writes of Woman interviewed me when I was down in London, and she had some fantastic questions for me. Make yourself a cup of tea and have a listen. The real star may be my hands, which are animated by a force I do not understand.