The latest issue of the award-winning Asymptote Journal takes readers back in time with exclusive writings and translations from 24 countries exploring the theme of time travel.
The trailer for the Fall 2015 issue starts with a curious quote from Stephen Hawking, “Why do we remember the past, and not the future?”, introducing the fact that the stories, poems and interviews will be focused on the psychological arrow of time. Writers featured include Thomas Stangl, Yasutaka Tsutsui, Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Richard Weiner, Lok Fung, Paul Wilson, Richard Zenith, Matéi Visniec and Magnús Sigurðsson – all incredible writers from near and far.
An absolute highlight is the Twitter story Mexican writer Alberto Chimal, translated to English by George Henson.
Chimal is the author of two novels and numerous short-story collections, all in Spanish. He is based at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City where he teaches creative writing. He is an award-winning writer considered a leading practitioner and researcher on the “fantastic” and online writing, Asymptote writes in their introduction to his work.
Chimal’s story, titled “The Time Traveller”, is mesmerising and will surely take you on a magnigicent journey. Enjoy this week’s Sunday Read:
Good morning, afternoon, evening, says the Time Traveller when his machine is moody and doesn’t ask him where (or to when) he’s going.
The Time Traveller holds out his hand and traps the first raindrop. All the others prevent the world from learning about this feat.
The Time Traveller dreamt a “flashforward,” in which he awoke, traveled backwards in time, slept, and dreamt a “flashforward.”
The Time Traveller’s passport recognizes him as a citizen of a land that doesn’t exist yet and that no one will remember when it disappears.
The Time Traveller uses a machine propelled by lost, ignored, and wasted hours. He’s pleased: he’ll have fuel forever.
The Time Traveller says hello, leaves 4 ten yrs, wants 2 see you again, returns seconds be4 the first time. Déjà vu, you’ll think. Or think.
Read the Editor’s Note to see what else you can expect from this time-travelling issue of Asymptote:
Translation is a time-traveling art, transporting readers to a previously inaccessible place in another’s past or present. Asymptote’s Fall 2015 issue (video trailer here) is full of such trippy revelations: from poet Yves Bonnefoy glimpsing the hands of a young girl in those of an old woman, to Alberto Chimal’s sharply funny 140-character peeks at a time traveler’s troubles. In an exclusive story by Yasutaka Tsutsui (writer of stunning anime classics Paprika and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), a modern Orpheus journeys through a mysterious time-warping web to find his fallen lover. Yet nowhere are the side effects of time travel as poignantly described as in Gostan Zarian’s eerily familiar descriptions of the Armenian genocide, which started 100 years ago this year: orphans, refugees, “broken people in the streets with horror in their eyes.” Throughout this brand-new edition, Manchester-based guest artist Samuel Hickson’s evocative art graces our pages, complementing an exciting lineup that also includes Sjón, Ursula Andkjær Olsen, Ottilie
Images courtesy of Asymptote and Alberto Chimal
1. Don DeLillo’s new novel, ‘Zero K,’ announced
From Los Angeles Times: “This week, Don DeLillo will accept the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters — its lifetime achievement award — at the National Book Awards. But that doesn’t mean the author has stopped writing.
On Monday, Scribner announced that DeLillo’s next novel, “Zero K,” will be published in May 2016.”
2. 17 Books Everyone Should Read, According to Bill Gates
From Time: “While Bill Gates has a schedule that’s planned down to the minute, the entrepreneur-turned-billionaire-humanitarian still gobbles up about a book a week.
Aside from a handful of novels, they’re mostly nonfiction books covering his and his foundation’s broad range of interests. A lot of them are about transforming systems: how nations can intelligently develop, how to lead an organization, and how social change can fruitfully happen.
We went through the past five years of his book criticism to find the ones that he gave glowing reviews and that changed his perspective.”
3. Are we different people in different languages?
From Literary Hub: “‘The problem,’ he explained, ‘is that this is a very dark story and Latvian is just not that kind of language.’
I asked him what he meant.
‘You see,’ he replied. ‘Latvian is a very sweet and beautiful language.’”
4. Michel Houellebecq: How France’s leaders failed its oeople
From The New York Times: “Paris — IN the aftermath of the January attacks in Paris, I spent two days transfixed watching the news. In the aftermath of the Nov. 13 attacks, I hardly turned on the television; I just called the people I knew (no small number) who lived in the neighborhoods that were hit. You get used to terrorist attacks.”
5. Truman Capote’s early stories show a young genius at work
From The Telegraph: “Discovered by a Swiss publisher searching through Capote’s papers for evidence of that other hostage to literary fortune, an unfinished novel, these 14 stories were all written before the author was 20. Some had been published before, but only in Capote’s school magazine. His editors, and his literary executors, believe they already show ‘a young genius at work’.”
Bonus: Watch Nicki Minaj perform Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”:
Alert! The winner of the 2015 Short Story Day Africa competition has been announced at the Aké Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria.
South African author Cat Hellisen has taken first place, and R10 000, with her story “The Worme Bridge”.
Second place went to Alex Latimer for “Fierce Symmetry”, while third went to Mark Winkler for “Ink”.
Latimer and Winkler win R2 000 and R1 000 respectively, and all prize winners also win an online writing course from All About Writing.
Fred Khumalo’s story “Water No Get Enemy” received a special mention.
The judges said of the winning story: “‘The Worme Bridge’ stood out for us with its brave story and clear, distinctive voice; it’s a wonderfully dark exploration of the water theme. The story works effortlessly to construct an other kind of reality while grounding itself in the real world. The writing is compelling: the reader is drawn into this family and the strangeness that overtakes them. We found this a powerful piece of writing that continues to haunt the reader afterwards.”
Hellisen is the author of When the Sea is Rising Red, House of Sand and Secrets and, most recently, Beastkeeper.
Latimer is the author of two volumes of cartoons, six picture books and one novel, The Space Race.
Winkler’s debut novel, An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything), was published in 2013 and his second, Wasted, in February.
The winning stories, along with the rest of the 2015 longlist, will be compiled in Water: New Short Fiction from Africa, edited by Nick Mulgrew and Karina Szczurek.
The winner of the 2015 Short Story Day Africa Prize for Short Fiction has been announced at the Ake Art & Book Festival in Nigeria by Prize judge Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.
All twenty-one stories on the longlist this year were blind-judged by the Prize’s esteemed judging panel – which consisted of Kenyan Billy Kahora and South African Mary Watson, alongside Ibrahim. The twenty-one stories were selected out of more than 450 entries, after having been blind-read and compiled by SSDA’s continent-wide group of readers.
In the end, it was South African author Cat Hellisen who won over the panel with her story “The Worme Bridge”, earning herself R10 000 in the process.
Of the story the judges said: “’The Worme Bridge’ stood out for us with its brave story and clear, distinctive voice; it’s a wonderfully dark exploration of the water theme. The story works effortlessly to construct an other kind of reality while grounding itself in the real world. The writing is compelling: the reader is drawn into this family and the strangeness that overtakes them. We found this a powerful piece of writing that continues to haunt the reader afterwards.”
Second place went to Alex Latimer for “A Fierce Symmetry”, which “wonderfully observes the theme of the competition, has an admirably sparse style, interesting content and a strong voice”; while third went to Mark Winkler for “Ink”, which was “imaginative and evocative”, and reveals its “unfamiliar world in a vivid yet delicate way.”
Latimer and Winkler win R2 000 and R1 000 respectively. All prize winners also win an online writing course from All About Writing.
A special mention was reserved for Fred Khumalo’s story “Water No Get Enemy”.
The winning stories, along with the rest of the 2015 longlist, will be compiled in Water: New Short Fiction from Africa, edited by Nick Mulgrew and Karina Szczurek. The collection features a number of Caine Prize-winning and –nominated authors, including Efemia Chela and Pede Hollist, as well as a host of exciting emerging writers and established favourites from throughout the African continent and diaspora.
The cash prizes for the Short Story Day Africa Prize for Short Fiction are generously sponsored by Worldreader, Books LIVE, ANT ProHelvetia and All About Writing.
The 2015 winners:
- “The Worme Bridge” by Cat Hellisen, R 10 000
- “A Fierce Symmetry” by Alex Latimer, R 2 000
- “Ink” by Mark Winkler, R1 000
The 2015 shortlist:
- “A Fierce Symmetry” by Alex Latimer
- “Water No Get Enemy” by Fred Khumalo
- “Finding Mermaids” by Chido Muchemwa
- “The Worme Bridge” by Cat Hellisen
The full longlist for the Short Story Day Africa Prize for Short Fiction 2015 – and the list of stories to be published in Water: New Short Fiction From Africa – is as follows:
- Alex Latimer, “A Fierce Symmetry” (South Africa)
- Donald Molosi, “Beetroot Salad” (Botswana)
- Wairimu Muriithi, “Love Like Blue” (Kenya)
- Christine Coates, “How We Look Now” (South Africa)
- Mark Mngomezulu, “Urgency” (Swaziland)
- Cat Hellisen, “The Worme Bridge” (South Africa)
- Louis Ogbere, “Were” (Nigeria)
- Efemia Chela, “The Lake Retba Murder” (Ghana/Zambia)
- Louis Greenberg, “Oasis” (South Africa)
- Chido Muchemwa, “Finding Mermaids” (Zimbabwe)
- Wesley Macheso, “This Land Is Mine” (Malawi)
- Siyanda Mohutsiwa, “And Then We Disappeared Into Some Guy’s Car” (Botswana)
- Alexis Teyie, “Mama Boi” (Kenya)
- Mary Okon Ononokpono, “Inyang” (Nigeria/UK)
- Dayo Ntwari, “Mother’s Love” (Rwanda)
- Thabo Jijana, “Native Mayonnaise” (South Africa)
- Pede Hollist, “The Tale of the Three Water Carriers” (Sierra Leone)
- Fred Khumalo, “Water Get No Enemy” (South Africa)
- Megan Ross, “Traces” (South Africa)
- Florence Onyango, “Nyar Nam” (Kenya)
- Mark Winkler, “Ink” (South Africa)
SJ Naudé, author of the award-winning collection of short stories The Alphabet of Birds, will be joining Ireland’s John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and Kirsty Logan, author of The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, for an intimate short story salon in London next weekend.
The event, organised by The Word Factory, will see these three esteemed authors discuss and read their short stories on Saturday, 28 November. Tickets cost £12, or £8 if you are a student, senior citizen, unwaged or disabled.
The Word Factory will also be hosting a masterclass titled “Be Seen and Be Heard – and beat digital depression” on the same day. Host Kristen Harrison, a “publisher and digital agony aunt”, will teach participants how to build and maintain a web presence for their writing and showcase writers who have done so successfully. Tickets to this masterclass cost £38 and includes free entrance to the evening’s event with Naudé and co. Find out more.
Don’t miss this!
- Date: Saturday, 28 November 2015
- Time: 1 to 4 PM – masterclass, 6 to 8 PM – salon
- Venue: Waterstones
W1J 9HD London
- Speakers: SJ Naudé, John Boyne, Kirsty Logan, Kristen Harrison and the Visual Verse team
- Cost: £38 for the masterclass; £12, or £8 if you are a student, senior citizen, unwaged or disabled for the salon
- Buy tickets: Eventbrite
Niq Mhlongo has revealed that his much-anticipated new book, Affluenza, will be available in March 2016.
Affluenza, Mhlongo’s first short story collection, is described as Mhlongo’s take on the madness of the last 20 years.
The book was first scheduled for release in March this year but, as the author explains, the reworking took longer than expected:
Just finished the very final edit of Affluenza before signing it off for publication (20 March 2016) by Kwela. As you may already know, this is my first short stories collection (11 short stories in total) that were supposed to be out in March 2015, and then postponed to September. Both dates never happened as I needed to fix few stories. As I think back to the process of writing, there was this particular short story that I could not write, read, or edit without the song “This Train” by Bunny Wailer. I would play this song over and over again during my writing, re-writing, writing, re-writing, editing, editing, editing, editing, re-editing, reading, reading, reading, and rereading processes. The short story is called “Passport and Dreadlock” and is set in Mosi-oa-Tunya. Now the court is in Kwela publishers’ balls to publish. But they already said YES …
Mhlongo is the author of three novels – Dog Eat Dog, After Tears and Way Back Home. His work has been translated into Spanish, Italian, French and German.
Author image courtesy of Victor Dlamini