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MORE NEW RELEASESedited by S J Bradley (also includes poetry) (Valley Press) RISING ABRUPTLY: STORIES by Gisele Villeneuve (University of Alberta Press)IN THE NOT QUITE DARK: STORIES by Dana Johnson (Counterpoint Press)THE PRE-WAR HOUSE by Alison Moore (Salt Publishing)SEX & DEATH edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs (Faber) REFUGEE TALES edited by Anna Pincus and David Herd (Comma)Fen by Daisy Johnson (Jonathan Cape)‘the landscape seemed to have been waiting for me to remember it’GERMAN COUPA UK writer who moved to Germany in 1992 has won a top German writing award with her first, and so far only, short story – in German. Sharon Dodua Otoo moved from a ‘strict Ghanaian household’ in Ilford to Hanover as an au pair, and now lives in Berlin. ‘Herr Gröttrup sits down’ is about scientist Gröttrup, inventor of the integrated circuit (chip) card, and is told partially from the point of view of a boiled egg. The deliberations of the jury for the €25,000 (£21,000) prize were screened live over threedays on Austrian, German and Swiss television. They called ita ‘surrealist parable grappling with fundamental philosophical issues around identity and otherness’. Dodua Otoo has been swamped with offers and plans to turn the story into a novel.REGIONAL VOICESWeidenfeld & Nicolson (W&N) are looking for unpublished novella writers from under-represented UK regions to include in Hometown Tales, a new seriesof short books. The series aims to launch writers who ‘wouldn’t ordinarily be found through conventional channels’. Each new voice will be paired with an established writer from the region. W&N are looking for submissions of 15,000 wordsby 31 Jan 2017 on the theme of ‘hometown’. www.orionbooks. co.uk/Articles/Promotions/ Hometown-Tales.pageTOO SHORT STORIES Short stories are being used as an innovative way of highlighting cases of long-term missing persons in Australia. Launched during National Missing Persons Week, the Too Short Stories initiative matches writers, artists and actors with the families of missing persons to create a ‘reimagined’ missing- person poster. Each poster tells the story of a life cut short, alongside an image of the person and a request for help to 'continue’ the story. Posters are displayed at the last place the person was seen, to encourage people to come forward with information. ‘Who knows where it will lead?’ says Loren O’Keeffe, Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) founder. 'The impact has been incredible.' The stories will be published in a book this month; money raised will go to MPAN.minutia of country life.It’s rare for a short storycollection to gain momentumon Instagram, but between the striking cover – a curled streakof paint like a lock of jet black hair spread across a pillow – and its empathetic characters, Fen is being heralded as an unmissable addition to the British short story canon. ❐HOW I DID IT‘I grew up in the fens of England, and when I decided I wanted to write short stories that landscape seemed to have been waiting for me to remember it.An idea or line will come first.The challenge is always working out how to best narrate it. I’man exuberant first draft writer. Everything goes in, is piled on top. The finished story will rarely look like the first draft.In Greek myths, often a god will come down to earth disguisedas a bull or a shower of gold and rape a woman. This was an idea I’d wanted to explore in a story for a long time but could never quite get right. The story only worked when I gave up, left it for a while and then wrote it from scratch. It became ‘Heavy devotion’, which is narrated by a mother as she addresses a stranger who has arrived at her house.’DAISY JOHNSONREMEMBERING OLUWALEWHAT'S NEWSHORT STORIESSHORT STORY REVIEW teenagers starve themselves intoReview and interview by ALICE SLATER 68 Sep/Oct/Nov 2016 mslexiametamorphosisIn the marshy fenland of East Anglia, familiar themes of adolescence – dating, disordered eating, fractured relationships, sexuality – are transformed into uncanny allegories in Fen, the début collection from Oxford graduate Daisy Johnson.The eponymous Fen is a liminal place where vampires prowl the sweeping country lanes, teenagers starve themselves into metamorphosis and buildings fall in love with their occupants. The dead come back to life, words slice into flesh like razor blades and foxes have a glint of human understanding in their eyes.Fen is also very much rooted in the real world as Johnson recreates the claustrophobia of small-town country life: a world in which everyone thinks they know everyone else’s business, where locals gather for pintsof ale at the Fox and Hound,where teenagers sneak drinks, play netball and go on dates to Subway.The stories weave into one another: a hyperbolic rumour mentioned in ‘Starver’ is later fleshed out in ‘How to lose it’. The same characters, places and anecdotes appear repeatedly, creating a sense that one doesn’t just read Fen, but visits it, like a stranger walking through the door of the Fox and Hound and ordering a round at the bar.Johnson places her young flawed characters in the dark realm of folklore, a strategy that has gained Fen a following on Instagram and praise from the likes of Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent), and Evie Wyld (All the Birds, Singing). Reminiscent of magical realists Angela Carter, Angela Readman and Kirsty Logan, Johnson plays withmyths and fairy tales to create a magical, often eerie, backdrop for stories anchored by the mundane


































































































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