Celebrating Indigenous Literary Arts & Culture Across The Valley
Join the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing in their NEA Big Read: Phoenix. Here is their message about the event:
“Working with over 40 authors, speakers, and community organizations, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is proud to announce the NEA Big Read: Phoenix, a celebration of Indigenous literary arts and culture across the Valley in February and March 2021.”
“Inspired by The Round House, an award-winning novel from Anishinaabe author Louise Erdrich, the NEA Big Read: Phoenix features over 25 talks, workshops, performances, art exhibitions, book clubs, and other virtual events centered around creative writing, community archiving, storytelling, and family history…”
“The majority of events are open to the public and free. For events with limited capacity or paid registration, members of Indigenous communities receive discounts and priority seating.”
To learn more or to view the full schedule, visit their website here.
Found in Translation: Blood of the Dawn by Claudia Salazar Jimenez
Changing Hands Book Club
This month we’ll discuss Blood of the Dawn by Claudia Salazar Jimenez.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler, a voracious reader, or a dreamer who wants to see the world, all are invited to our newest book club focused on international literature. Sometimes visiting other countries doesn’t always give travelers an insider’s view into foreign cultures; sometimes we are still too outside, too different, to get at the heart of a place. Often the best way to understand distant lands and peoples is to read their literature, to get inside the head of a foreign author, to hear their myths and fairy tales molded around words they penned in their mother tongue.
In Found in Translation, we will delve into a work of international literature in a small group setting while enjoying coffee, beer, or wine drinks from First Draft Book Bar, located in Changing Hands Phoenix.
Stop by Changing Hands Phoenix or Tempe (or order online by clicking “add to cart” below) to get your copy of Blood of the Dawn for 10% OFF.
Then meet us at First Draft Book Bar to discuss the pick and enjoy happy hour prices all through the event.
FREE PARKING / LIGHT RAIL
Don’t want to drive? Take the Light Rail! It lets off at the Central Avenue/Camelback Park-and-Ride, which has hundreds of free parking spaces across the street from Changing Hands.
ABOUT THE BOOK Blood of the Dawn follows three women whose lives intertwine and are ripped apart during what’s known as “the time of fear” in Peruvian history when the Shining Path militant insurgency was at its peak. The novel rewrites the conflict through the voice of women, activating memory through a mixture of politics, desire, and pain in a lucid and brutal prose.
Claudia Salazar Jimenez (b. 1975, Lima, Peru), critic, scholar, and author, founded PERUFEST, the first Peruvian film festival in New York, where she lives, and won the 2014 Americas Narrative Prize for her debut novel, Blood of the Dawn.
Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Enter a commercial bookstore – say, Barnes and Noble – and take a look at the display sections. Likely what you will find are different novel-length books, be it fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, or young adult. Enter the shelves and, if you search a little, you will be able to find collections of short stories by some particularly well-known authors, or maybe an entire section devoted to short-story form. For many amateur writers there is a sense that one starts writing short stories only to better understand the structure of a story, but “real writing,” successful writing, involves novels. Short stories are a way of getting one’s name known to better sell a novel later, or a way of generating ideas and themes that will eventually show up in a later novel.
This is not to say that short stories are not an often-used form, but rather that they are not marketed or praised with as much enthusiasm as novels. Book clubs, college essays, even library shelves are more likely to be promoting novels than short fiction.
Is that still true? There are thousands of literary magazines with focus on short stories across the country, and MFA Creative Writing programs are bursting at the seams with hopeful writers – most who are learning to write short stories as their primary craft. Almost three weeks ago, Junot Diaz, an author who won the Pulitzer Prize for his first novel released not another novel but a book of short stories. It is currently fifth on the New York Times Bestseller list for hardcovers. A book of short stories selling well to the general public.
Other writers are taking this risk as well. Emma Donaghue was a finalist for the Man Booker prize for her best-selling novel Room, and recently she released a collection of short stories named Astray. No longer are short stories something authors do until they can get a book deal – now the short stories are book deals in themselves.
Olive Kitteridge is a best-selling “novel in stories” by Elizabeth Strout – a marketing tool that has been popular lately. Is it a collection of short stories with a central character, or is it a novel separated into different stories? Likely, in the interest of a more mainstream readership, the publisher decided to market it as a novel.
For many readers, short stories are a form used only for convenience in classroom settings or slipped into magazines they were already reading, but this is beginning to change. The market is finding more and more value in short stories and the public is beginning to recognize and buy these collections. Is their smaller form easier to finish in our busy-bee lifestyles? Are they better suited to our oft-thought shrinking attention spans? Is it a result of a plethora of talented short story artists coming out of MFA programs? Or perhaps the many different places to find short stories – literary magazines, collections of prize-winners, e-books, online?
The makeup and background of literature is changing, from MFA programs to e-books. It will be interesting to see if novels soon become less ubiquitous and short stories more popular and accessible. In a few more years, will bookstores be selling out of popular short story collections more often than popular novels?
Writing is a lot of work. Even when they’re not actively writing, writers are often thinking – even obsessing — about what they’re writing. One of the best ways to give your brain a break without the guilt of straying too far from work is to think about what other people have been writing. The site www.goodreads.com is the perfect way to relax between chapters. It’s like a Facebook for bookworms, where you can rate and discuss the books you’ve read with your friends and see what they think of the books they’ve been reading. You can rate books anywhere from one to five stars, and then you can write your own New York Times-style review to accompany your rating. But don’t forget to include a spoiler alert if you’re going to write about how it ends.
Goodreads also has digital book clubs you can join and offers recommendations based on the books you’ve read and rated highly. They also sometimes put on special events, such as live video chats with authors. In August they interviewed Jennifer Egan, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad, and the moderator pulled many of his questions from the Goodreads users participating in the live chat forum. It was a great way for readers to get insight on Egan’s writing process. They also have contest for free advance copy giveaways so a select few readers can review new releases for the Goodreads community. It’s an excellent website for bibliophiles of all kinds.