[img_assist|nid=685|title=Barbara Berot|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=150|height=196]What began as a fictional rendering of Barbara Bérot’s five month European journey in 1972 has developed into a book series that spans across Scotland and into the French Pyrénées Mountains. Bérot’s self-published and critically-acclaimed debut novel, When Europa Rode the Bull, is a novel about love, commitment, and passion that traverses two continents. Its success inspired Bérot to embark on the sequel, the recently published Lies & Liberation: The Rape of Europa. And she is not finished with her characters yet. Already in the works is a third book in Bérot’s intriguing and complicated series.
Elise Juska is in good company. Her writing has been compared to the work of Helen Fielding and Nick Hornby and her newest essay will appear in Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume this summer alongside noted women writers Meg Cabot and Jennifer Connelly.
Her work has also been published in numerous literary journals and her first novel, Getting Over Jack Wagner, was named a “Critic’s Choice” by People. Her second novel, The Hazards of Sleeping Alone, received similar praise. This June, Elise’s third book, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, will be published by Simon & Schuster.
Curtis Smith has the corner on the short story market. His fiction and essays have appeared in over fifty literary journals and anthologies, he has published two collections of short-short stories (Placing Ourselves Among the Living and In the Jukebox Light), and his third collection will feature both a novella and more short stories. He is also a novelist (An Unadorned Life), a special learning teacher, father of a four-year old and a husband.
Somehow, he manages to take on all of these roles and write short stories that Laurel Johnson, editor of The Midwest Book Review has said make his newest book, The Species Crown (June ’07, Press 53) “the latest literary gem.”
When did you decide to become a children’s book author?
I grew up in suburban New Jersey drawing and painting. I realized pretty early on that I liked to tell stories with pictures. I found the narrative aspect of it very appealing. As a kid, I read countless comic books and watched old movies, and it came into focus when I went to art school. I began to feel books were the form in which I wanted to do my art. I knew I didn’t want to do comic books — that world at the time seemed to stop at 14-year-old boys – and picture books felt like the right place.
Camille Paglia has never lacked courage. Her breakout work, Sexual Personae (1991) established her reputation as an American intellectual about whom no one is neutral. Her latest book, Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World’s Best Poems, is also an act of courage. It is her selection of 43 poems with literate commentary on each for a general readership, blending literature, psychology, and culture. Her literary roots rest in the soil of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, the eras of Ginsberg, Corso, Kerouac, and Ferlinghetti. Poetry was big and the poets were “street smart” American royalty. That prestige no longer exists today, but Paglia can serve as a guide to a return to the power of language and the magic of words.
Nathalie Anderson must have a very large shelf in her house for all of her awards. To name a few: the Pew Arts Award, the Washington Prize from The Word Works, the McGovern Prize from Ashland Poetry Press, the Academy of American Poets Awards … the list goes on.
The raw words of his novel depicted an eloquent, haunting, funny story that started on that fateful day in September that changed all of our lives. “He’s late for work and she misses her flight, but that morning, with the world shattered by grief, they each think the other’s dead and each is secretly delighted. They’re both soon disappointed, of course…”
I don’t consider myself a science fiction writer. I’m a fantasist, which means that almost everything I write has a fantasy element, but only perhaps a quarter of my fiction can be classified as science fiction. Most of it is just “weird” fiction. My novel, FITCHER’S BRIDES, is a historical dark fantasy novel based on the Grimm’s fairy tale “Fitcher’s Bird” (a variant of Bluebeard); my novel prior to that, THE PURE COLD LIGHT, was a science fiction novel set in an alternate Philadelphia; and the two before that, TAIN and REMSCELA, were retellings of the Irish Cu Chulainn stories and thus categorized loosely as “high fantasy”–which means there were swords and magic. I’m hard to pin down, which explains my life of abject poverty.
Damian McNicholl’s successful novel, A Son Called Gabriel, tells the poignant story of a boy coming to terms with his sexuality within the bosom of a family that’s hiding a dark secret from him in conservative Northern Ireland.
When local author Shawn McBride read at the recent Philadelphia Stories’ silent auction, he did what he does best in writing: merge art and humor in an entertaining way. He called up poet Daniel Abdal Hayy-Moore, who had just read from his vast portfolio of work, and asked him to accompany him on autoharp as he read his “Ode to Breasts.” His debut novel, Green Grass Grace, also combines humor and art – coupling lyrical prose with the comedy of raging hormones. The novel rang true to fans and critics alike, and it was selected by Barnes & Noble for its “Discover Great New Writers” series. McBride spoke with Philadelphia Stories about writing, not writing, and his love for Philadelphia.