Contributor Update: Deborah Bogen

In Case of Sudden Free FallWe are glad to announce that past contributor Deborah Bogen has recently released a collection of poems titled In Case of Sudden Free Fall. The collection has already received recognition from poet and actress Hélène Cardona, who called Deborah’s writing “a delicious gem” worth revisiting. Purchase a copy of In Case of Sudden Free Fall from Jacar Press here.

To read four poems by Deborah in Issue 4 of Superstition Review click here.

Congratulations, Deborah!

Authors Talk: Jonathan Cardew

Today we are pleased to feature author Jonathan Cardew as our Authors Talk series contributor. Jonathan discusses the work experiences that let “The Story of the Elephant” and its characters come to him.

Jonathan speaks intriguingly about what draws him to flash fiction. He notes his love for ellipses and the fact that anything can happen even after the end of such a short story, that the story “could be about anything or nothing.”

If you’d like to develop your own theory, you can read and listen to Jonathan’s story in Superstition Review Issue 19.

#ArtLitPhx: Alejandro Zambra in Residency

Alejandro ZambraAlejandro Zambra will be in residency the first week of October – Cardboard House PressCALA Alliance, and Palabras Bilingual Bookstore is hosting three free events with Zambra throughout the week. These events include a bilingual workshop, a visit to ASU, and a talk at Changing Hands in Phoenix.

The New York Times Book Review named Zambra “the most talked-about writer to come out of Chile since Bolaño.” He has published poetry and five novels: Multiple Choice, Bonsai, The Private Lives of Trees, Ways of Going Home and My Documents. His stories have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harper’s, Tin House, and McSweeney’s. He was also named one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists in 2010. Born in Chile in 1975, Zambra’s fiction often explores how a society is haunted by legacies of the past. He often toys with originality and humor – his new book, Multiple Choice, is even written in the structure of Chile’s Academic Aptitude Test, the standardized college admissions test in Chile until 2003. In it, he explores how education and testing restricted art and ideas during the dictatorship.

The first event is a bilingual workshop titled “How To Forget How to Write Fiction.” The 12 workshop participants will “explore and break conventions of fiction writing based on a text about their first memories.” The workshop will be conducted in both English and Spanish, and it will take place October 3-6. Unfortunately, the deadline to apply for the workshop has already passed. However, if you missed the opportunity to apply, you can still attend the other two events!

The second event is a visit to ASU, in which Zambra will discuss his works and fiction. It will take place on Thursday, October 5 from 12:00pm to 1:15pm on the ASU Tempe campus in COOR 184. For more information, check out the Facebook page.

The third event is a bilingual talk and reading at the Phoenix Changing Hands Bookstore (300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, Arizona 85013). It will also take place on Thursday, October 5 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. For more information, check out the Facebook page.

Editorial Preferences in Fiction: John Chakravarty

Reading submissions for Superstition Review allowed me to think about the stories I love to read. I’ve found that the best stories have a character I can connect with, and also an interesting problem.

There are so many elements that can make a piece of writing good. The first thing that comes to mind is characterization, which means creating round characters, with both internal and external struggles, and a full life that exists outside the page. My sister says that when she finishes a good book, she sometimes misses the characters and the time that she’s spent with them. One of my professors will always remind us in class not to say the word character, because writers are actually creating souls.

But it’s not enough to have an interesting character sitting in a room doing nothing. What makes a character truly endearing and relatable is their problems and how they choose to deal with them. Even Nick Carroway and Jay Gatsby without their dramatic love affairs would likely not hold a reader’s attention very long.

This is where I feel we get the human experience: when we read about someone relatable that has a problem foreign to us. Or someone that is completely foreign to us, and how they’ve overcome their problems (or not). Stories are about what a character wants and what they are willing to go through to get it. These struggles create an empathetic connection between the reader and the outside world.

Scientific American recently highlighted a study that found reading literary fiction helps young students to learn empathy. The experiment presented young groups with various types of reading; literary fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, and nothing. The young readers that read literary fiction were significantly stronger at inferring others’ thoughts and emotions. Through seeing someone else’s trials and tribulations, a person is able to learn better how to interpret other people.

Interesting souls with interesting problems create the basis of fiction that empathetically moves readers. These are the kinds of stories that I love; stories that help to build an understanding of the world around us.

Fiction Editor for Issue 20 of Superstition Review

Bio: John Chakravarty is an undergraduate student at ASU majoring in English and Creative Writing. He is the Fiction Editor at Superstition Review. He also interns at Four Chambers Press reading submissions. When he graduates he hopes to write, edit, and publish for the comic book industry.

Contributor Update: Brian Doyle

Today, we here at Superstition Review want to take time to mourn the loss of past contributor Brian Doyle, who passed away in May at the age of 60. Brian’s writing first appeared in Issue 2 of Superstition Review, and he later became a frequent guest post contributor for our blog. Author Brian DoyleWe will always remember Brian’s abundant generosity.

We were grateful for the announcement of the release of his book Eight Whopping Lies and Other Stories of Bruised Grace, which he was working on at the time of his tragic death. In this collection of essays, Brian writes about the “I love you” that goes unsaid, the brooding shadows in our hearts, and finding God in the unlikeliest of places. We are honored to have been given the opportunity to read and share his extraordinary tales with the world, which left a legacy of love and compassion that will not be easily forgotten. Eight Whopping Lies and Other Stories of Bruised Grace

Purchase a copy of Eight Whopping Lies and Other Stories of Bruised Grace from Franciscan Media here.

Click here to read Brian’s guest posts for our blog, and here to read his essay, “Welcome Home Dick Queen!” in Issue 2 of Superstition Review.

 

#ArtLitPhx: Young Authors’ Studio Workshops

Young Authors' StudioThe Young Authors’ Studio is a free writing program for kids in grades 5-12, designed to bring young writers together to learn the ins and outs of writing in a wide variety of styles and genres. ASU mentors, taught by Wendy Williams, will lead 6 free writing workshops throughout the months of October, November, and December.

The mentors will guide the students through writing activities, and the program will hold a public Performance and Writing Gallery at the end of the semester. This opportunity is open to first-time writers or experienced writers – as long as they’re in grades 5-12!

The Parent Information Session will be held Saturday, September 30 from 9:30am to 10:30am in SANCA 130 on the ASU Polytechnic Campus (see map above, 7271 E. Sonoran Arroyo Mall, Mesa, AZ 85212). You can RSVP to the Parent Information Session through the Facebook group or by emailing young.authors.studio@gmail.com. They recommend that you RSVP as soon as possible because space in the program is limited!

The workshops are from 9:30am to 11:30am on the following dates:

    • October 14: Narratives
    • October 21: Music & Poetry
    • October 28: Art & Writing
    • November 4: Drama & Writing
    • November 11: Genres
    • November 18: Revision & Rehearsal
    • December 2: Performance and Writing Gallery

Be sure to check this program out if you know any interested young writers!

Guest Post: Beth Gilstrap

After Nick Hornby

Self Portrait

School Years

Bathroom Floor

Not As Long As You'd Think

English Class

Cornell Quote

Knife

Journal Entry

Remember Me

Self Portrait

Pills

It's Dark In Here

Dedication: For all writers who struggle with mental illness. But particularly, for Aubrie Cox Warner and Jill Talbot who, whether they realize it or not, continue to inspire me to be vulnerable and open. With thanks to Ben Barnes for assistance with self-portraits and so much more.