15th International Conference on the Short Story in English

Thanks to a Canada Council for the Arts Grant I am a participant at the 15th International Conference on the Short Story in English, taking place from June 27-30, 2018 at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. The theme is: “Beyond History: The Radiance of the Short Story.

In an age when private lives appear to be ruled by the force of historical events, we are contradictorily challenged by creative achievements that, even if originating in History, develop a self-sustainable energy, a radiance, so to say, that supersedes material circumstances and/or envisages alternatives for them.

The 15th International Conference on the Short Story in English brings writers of many nationalities to Lisbon, a city where the cultures of the world meet and stories of history unravel around every corner. In this scenario, fiction writers in English, or authors who have been translated into English, together with scholars of the short story, will join in reading sessions, roundtable discussions and panels, as well as in the more traditional paper presentation sessions.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Society for the Study of the Short Story, the Conference looks forward to the opportunity of highlighting the variety of ways in which the Short Story becomes a specific form, blurs the boundaries with other literary forms, goes beyond the written medium and borrows from other artistic processes/languages, shaping itself anew in an endless process. Indeed, proving to be an extremely resilient medium, the Short Story has been changing throughout the times and aesthetic tendencies, without losing the kernel that makes it a distinctive mode of the human expressive genius.

On Thursday, June 28th, I’ll be on a panel discussing Flash Fiction in Method and Meaning with Nuala O’Connor and Tracey Slaughter, and on Friday, June 29th I’m reading one of my short stories as well as participating in the round-table discussion on Politics and Short Fiction, with Garry Craig Powell, Rebekah Clarkson, David James, and Robin McLean:

An age-old question for many writers and artists has been to what extent should politics intrude on art: should we write above politics or face it head on? Can fiction affect or even transform the political climate? Should it even try? Then again, is it even possible to avoid a political stance of some kind?

You can download the program of events from the website – there are a number of exciting authors reading their work, and a packed program of panels. See you there!

Gone Fishing in Wasafiri

Photo on 21-08-2014 at 13.57 #2

How I love the smell of a newly minted literary magazine! I am so proud to have my short story ‘Gone Fishing’ published in Wasafiri‘s 30th birthday magazine, issue 79. This issue is actually not available to the public yet, but why not join me for the launch at the special birthday event on the River Thames when Wasafiri hosts ‘Words on the Water’ a literary boat trip on Sunday 21 September. Tickets for the event include a copy of the magazine…

My short story is included in the issue’s section on New Writers. The section is introduced with the following:

“Wasafiri has a longstanding reputation for discovering ‘the best of tomorrow’s writers today’, but if we were to try and include all the authors we know to be on the cusp of great things, we wouldn’t have enough room in a whole year’s worth of issues! Instead, we have focused on just three for this thirtieth birthday issue, all of whom cross generations in their fictional pieces, a theme which  captures the essence of this issue, which looks both back and forwards. Balvinder Singh Banga touchingly presents a loving mother – son relationship which is tested by the cruellest of conditions – poverty and ignorance. Meghna Pant’s ‘The Gecko on the Wall’ skilfully depicts a man who, as a father, cannot communicate with his daughter, but who forms a bond with the next generation – his granddaughter. And ‘Gone Fishing’ by Sandra Jensen is a sensitive snapshot of a man whose troubling present is contained within the tragedy of his family’s past. Together these stories are a powerful reminder of how the present is shaped by the past, which also shapes the future. And, most importantly, they are told by three writers whose literary futures look very bright indeed.”

Photo on 21-08-2014 at 13.57

 

 

Photographs from the 13th International Conference on the Short Story in English

P1010296I loved the 13th International Conference on the Short Story in English that was held 2 years ago in Little Rock, but I have to say this year’s conference was very special. I suspect the reason for this is that the organisers decided to invite twice as many authors as they did in Little Rock. There was a downside: many more panels and readings, and so also many conflicts.  It was impossible to go to all the events I wanted to go to, but I had a spectacular time. I thank everyone involved in this inspiring conference, particularly Sylvia Petter,  Dr Susan Lohafer and of course Dr. Maurice A. Lee.

I was particularly delighted to re-connect with writers I’d met in Little Rock, and to meet so many new writers and academics in the field of writing, men and women I feel are now part of my extended family. There are too many to name, but here are a few….  Adnan Mahmutovic, Lauren B. Davis, Vanessa Gebbie,Robert Olen Butler and Kelly Lee Butler,  Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Tania HershmanRebekah Clarkson, Valerie SirrThomas E. KennedyBharati Mukherjee, Velma Pollard, Nancy Fruend, Paul McVeighRhoda Greaves, , Dr Suzanne Scafe, Anna Solding and so, so many others.

The 14th International Conference on the Short Story in English will be held in Shanghai, China, 13 – 16 July 2016. See you there!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

13th International Conference on the Short Story in English

I can’t believe that it’s less than a month before the 13th International Conference on the Short Story in English in Vienna, Austria. Very exciting!

The theme is “Unbraiding the Short Story”.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 17.14.24

This conference will bring writers of fiction in English (Irish, British, American, Canadian, Australian, Caribbean, South-African, Indian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian, etc.) and writers who have had (or will have for this event) their work translated into English together with scholars of the short story, and all will join in reading sessions, roundtable discussions and panels, including ones devoted to translation.

The 13th International Conference on the Short Story in English will also host a number of sessions, both in the more traditional format (with presentation of papers) and in other formats involving performance, dance, art, films, etc., having in mind that the form of the short story is not necessarily confined to the limits of the written page but may open up to manifold fields of expression.

You can download the program of events from the website.

On Wednesday July 16,  I’ll be reading one of my short stories, and on Thursday July 17th I’m on an extended length panel with Robert Olen Butler, Farhat Iftekharrudin and Billie Travalini. The subject of the panel is Liminality in the Threshold Story, moderated by Alice Clark from the University of Nantes.

There are a number of talks and workshops, and the guest author line-up includes Clark Blaise, Bharati Mukherjee, Tania Hershman, Vanessa Gebbie, Nuala Ní Chonchúir amongst many others, so I hope to see you there!

Descant Publication

 

Photo on 24-10-2013 at 15.06

Descant Magazine has just published its issue 167 “Masala” on the South Asian diaspora. My piece “Even in Ruin” is in it, an edited, reworked section of my novel-in-progress, a literary adventure based in Sri Lanka during the civil war. I’m very excited about this publication, and I’ve just started reading the other stories in the magazine, some truly wonderful pieces in here. As guest editor Pradeep Solanki says, “Masala is a heady concoction of spices..” so too this wonderful edition of Descant.


descant

 

Bridport Prize 2012

bridport
I’m delighted to announce that one of my short stories won a ‘Highly Commended’ award for the Bridport Prize, 2012. It is a great honour, the competition is one of the most highly regarded in the UK – and worldwide. There were over 6000 entries for the short story section alone.

patricksandra4-300x262

I attended the award ceremony and champagne lunch which was held at the Bridport Arts Centre on Sunday 14th October. The judge for the short story section of the prize was the wonderful writer Patrick Gale.

I had known Patrick in the 80’s – we both worked in the world’s worst restaurant in Covent Garden (it had a short life, it’s now no longer I’m happy to say). It was wonderful to see Patrick again, I’d been following his progress over the years and enjoying his novels. I hasten to add that the stories for the competition were read anonymously, and that there were no restrictions in the fine print about knowing the judge. ( I did in fact, decide NOT to submit a certain story that Patrick might have gleaned who the author was, set in that awful restaurant).

It was also lovely to meet some of the other award winners, and to wander around the very pretty village. I also went to my first Quaker Meeting on Sunday morning prior to the award ceremony, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

town1-255x300

Cork Short Story Festival and Other Bits and Pieces

corkshortstory

The Cork International Short Story Festival is coming soon — 19-23 September,  2012 – with some wonderful authors giving readings and workshops: Short Stories for Beginners with Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Advanced Short Story Writing with Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Writing Flash Fiction with Tania Hershman, I plan to attend Tania’s workshop, hope to see you there!

bosquefiction

A short story of mine, “117 Days” has been selected by Beverly Lowry as the winner of the second annual bosque Fiction Prize. The award includes a $1000 cash honorarium as well as publication in the Fall 2012 issue of bosque this November. The prize is awarded by the ABQ Writers Co-op, a creative writing community in New Mexico. Beverly Lowry is the author of six novels and several works of nonfiction. She teaches writing at George Mason University.

~~

In addition to my volunteer work saving slow lorises, I am also fundraising to support animal rights volunteers in Bosnia, where the situation with stray and abused dogs and cats is very bad. I fundraise to help pay for food, veterinary care and medicines. If you can help or have any ideas of how to help, please go to In Memory of Vučko.