Posts by: Claire Burgess

This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, a woman mysteriously becomes pregnant with a lizard egg in a short story at Guernica that is weird, funny, and surprisingly sweet. By Benjamin Schaefer, Prose Editor of Fairy Tale Review, “Lizard-Baby” explores themes of motherhood, difference, and community, and all through the fresh new lens of immaculate lizard-birth.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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At Catapult, Arielle Robbins writes a powerful story of coping with the legacy of sexual abuse. “From the Abuse Survivor’s Workbook” delivers the story, as the title suggests, in segments from the guided-journaling workbook sometimes prescribed as part of therapy, offering glimpses into the memories, anxieties, and daily life of the story’s survivor, Brie.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, a short story collection written by an author in North Korea and smuggled across its borders is reaching readers in North America. The Accusation is the first known story collection written by an author still living inside the totalitarian state to have escaped its iron curtain, and it is now being published across the globe.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, the bimonthly magazine of international literature World Literature Today released its March 2017 issue, with the timely theme “Dystopian Visions.” The issue features thirteen writers’ dark speculations on the future, crossing the globe from Cuba to Japan. In this time in the United States when dystopian fiction isn’t seeming quite so fictional anymore, the international voices contained in this issue are illuminating and chilling, highlighting themes of autocracy, bureaucracy, government rhetoric, and class stratification, to name a few.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, Joyland has a new story from poet and fiction writer Joanna C. Valente about gender, sexual intercourse, and sexual violence. Their story, “You’re Gonna Scream When You Die,” opens with a scene that immediately backs up the dire tone of the title.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, C Pam Zhang has a flash fiction story at The Offing that is maybe about vampires but probably about girls, Chinese girls in particular. “Are They Vampires, or Are They Just Chinese?” is written in five brief paragraphs of atmospheric prose that is beautiful and barbed at the same time, like cotton candy wrapped around a railroad spike, or like girls.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Well, it’s been one week under the Trump administration, and already we are living in a land of “alternative facts.” After Kellyanne Conway used the term to defend Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s falsehoods regarding the inauguration crowd size on Sunday, the American people were, understandably, reminded of George Orwell’s 1984, and sales of the book skyrocketed to #1 on the bestseller list by Tuesday night.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, a new Maggie Shipstead story at Virginia Quarterly Review explores love, infidelity, and the ways life can slip from under your feet like an avalanche. Bonus: there is also a literal avalanche. The story, “Backcountry,” follows a twenty-five-year-old ski instructor named Ingrid (#1 baby name for future ski instructors) who meets a fifty-plus-year-old married (he tells Ingrid he’s divorced) man with big dreams of building a ski resort on a nearby mountain.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, rising voice Emma Horwitz writes about teenage girls looking for some under-the-pants action (if you know what I mean (I’m talking about fingering)) at Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Horwitz’s story, appropriately titled “Fingering,” is a welcome and refreshing addition to the small range of narratives that show teenage girls as the single-minded, sex-mad creatures they sometimes are, because high sex drives aren’t just for boys, you know.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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If you recall your Greek mythology, you’ll remember Cassandra, princess of Troy, priestess of Apollo, seer of prophecies, and patron saint of women everywhere screaming themselves blue but never being heard. Cassandra’s prophecies unfailingly proved to be true, but still she was seen as insane by her family and the Trojan people and, in some versions of the story, often locked away for it.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Tomorrow night, we denizens of planet Earth will gather with friends and family, or with complete strangers at a bar somewhere, or with a mob of people in an over-crowded and freezing square, or we will stay home alone, taking a bubble bath and with a bottle of wine (or two), and enjoy our solitude because we’re so over 2016, and we will all say goodbye to a year that has unanimously been ranked by mankind as a touch worse than the year in which that meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week at Guernica’s newly re-designed website, author Jean McGarry has a short story, “Come to Me,” about an abusive relationship and the tangled dynamics of power and devotion that can hold its victims in place.

That was day four; on day one, I found underwear, not my own, in my underwear drawer.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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In a political climate in which undocumented immigrants are painted as criminals and rapists and half the country is crying for deportation, this week’s story reminds us that immigrants are fathers who love their daughters, who work hard and send money home to dying mothers, who will go to the ends of the Earth for their loved ones—they are normal Americans with normal hearts, just like the rest of us.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, VICE’s 2016 Fiction Issue is out, with work from exciting voices like Ottessa Moshfegh, Rachel Cusk, Roxane Gay, and more. This year’s fiction issue, like the magazine itself, is an engaging, diverse, and sometimes in-your-face read with topics ranging from smart cars to campus rape, love triangles to the meaning of life.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Motherhood is an all-consuming thing. The sleepless nights, the endless diapers, the undying love, the absurd tasks that must be performed to ease a baby into nap time. But time and energy aren’t the only casualties of motherhood. In our culture, motherhood often demands one’s identity as well, consumes it whole as the woman becomes a public object for fawning over, for scrutinizing, for judging whether she measures up.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Following last week’s election results, the writing world has been full of voices reminding us of the power of words to protest, to heighten awareness, and to effect change. Whether through poetry, essay, memoir, fiction, or otherwise, words are an important vehicle for reaching those who need support, challenging those who need to be called out, bearing witness to injustice, and raising visibility of marginalized groups.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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With Halloween a scant three days away, it’s the perfect time to curl up with some spooky fiction and get yourself delightfully creeped out. But this week’s story doesn’t rely on your standard witches and vampires and werewolves, all easily dismissed and cartoonish Halloween fare.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Sometimes, literary magazines fold. It happens all the time because of funding, or manpower, or editorial differences. Usually, print back issues remain for sale and online content is preserved indefinitely, or at least until someone forgets to renew the domain. But this does not seem to be the case with Black Clock, the respected literary magazine out of CalArts that published the likes of David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Lethem, and Aimee Bender, to name only a few of the prominent talents from its pages.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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What would you give to be happy, fun, anxiety-free? Would you give your soul? This is the question Deirdre Coyle asks in her story “Fun Person,” up at Hobart this week. The story opens with the narrator vomiting on the sidewalk outside of a bar, but not for the obvious reasons one might vomit in such a location.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80s and 90s? These were the ones in which you, yes you, the reader, were the protagonist of the story. You made the decision to go into the mysterious cave or not, or break into the creepy mansion or not, or attempt to tame the vicious tiger or not.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, we all need a story with heart and teeth, a story that celebrates the glittering intelligence of women and the power of female friendship and dismantles the patriarchy while also being laugh-out-loud funny, a story with a happy ending.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week (or month) in short fiction (and poetry), it’s National Translation Month! Each September, the National Translation Month (NTM) initiative, started in 2013, celebrates literary works in translation and promotes cross-cultural readership with offerings of exciting new translations on its website.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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For a story in a different medium this week, check out Amber Sparks’s “Thirteen Ways to Destroy a Painting” from this year’s The Unfinished World—adapted to a radio play. It’s brought to your ears by NPR’s truly excellent storytelling podcast Snap Judgment and read by Thao Nguyen of the San Francisco-based folk-rock group Thao and The Get Down Stay Down.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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When The Bennington Review re-launched this past April after thirty years, its first issue packed a table of contents studded with prize-winning authors and exciting emerging voices. This week, to our good fortune, the biannual print publication has made several of its pieces available online, among them new short fiction from Iranian-American writer Porochista Khakpour, author of the acclaimed novels The Last Illusion and Sons and Other Flammable Objects.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Rion Amilcar Scott’s debut collection Insurrections—our July Rumpus Book Club pick—comes out from University Press of Kentucky on Tuesday and is a timely and vital look into the daily struggles of individuals in the mostly black community of Cross River, Maryland, a fictional town that was founded by slaves in 1807 after a successful revolt.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Irish author Danielle McLaughlin didn’t start writing fiction until 2010, but in the years since she has amassed an impressive collection of writing awards, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, and has twice placed stories in the New Yorker.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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The summer issue of Asymptote was published this week with a gorgeous spread of short fiction in translation from Spanish, Croatian, Persian, and more. If you’re not already familiar the journal, it publishes English translations of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and more from across the globe (the website cites 105 countries and 84 languages so far) alongside the original text and often accompanied by audio of the author or translator reading an excerpt in the original language, making it a treasure trove for language nerds and literature lovers alike.

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