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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Thumbs_down_smiley2Careful What You Wish For!

If you read my latest Poetry Has Value update, you saw me (semi-) whining about seemingly slow response times. Well, within the past few days I’ve received three responses on poetry submissions: all rejections.

 

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From My Bookshelf: Looking Ahead During Women’s History Month

As mentioned today on the Fig Tree Books blog, March is Women’s History Month here in the USA (and today is International Women’s Day), which means that it’s an especially propitious moment to consider women’s contributions to American Jewish fiction. And the Fig Tree blog post does a good job doing that (if I say so myself).

Here on the My Machberet blog, I’d like to shift focus slightly and alert you to some forthcoming fiction titles by American Jewish women. (Disclosure: All three authors are friends of mine.)

In order of publication:

Emily Barton‘s The Book of Esther is animated by this premise: “What if an empire of Jewish warriors that really existed in the Middle Ages had never fallen—and was the only thing standing between Hitler and his conquest of Russia?” What if, indeed? The Book of Esther is billed as “a profound saga of war, technology, mysticism, power, and faith. This novel—simultaneously a steampunk Joan of Arc and a genre-bending tale of a counterfactual Jewish state by a writer who invents worlds ‘out of Calvino or Borges’ (The New Yorker)—is a stunning achievement. Reminiscent of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America.” Sounds good to me! This novel, Barton’s third, will be out in June.

In Anna Solomon‘s Leaving Lucy Pear, the action 9781594632655begins one night in 1917, when “Beatrice Haven sneaks out of her uncle’s house on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, leaves her newborn baby at the foot of a pear tree, and watches as another woman claims the infant as her own. The unwed daughter of wealthy Jewish industrialists and a gifted pianist bound for Radcliffe, Bea plans to leave her shameful secret behind and make a fresh start. Ten years later, Prohibition is in full swing, post-WWI America is in the grips of rampant xenophobia, and Bea’s hopes for her future remain unfulfilled. She returns to her uncle’s house, seeking a refuge from her unhappiness. But she discovers far more when the rum-running manager of the local quarry inadvertently reunites her with Emma Murphy, the headstrong Irish Catholic woman who has been raising Bea’s abandoned child—now a bright, bold, cross-dressing girl named Lucy Pear, with secrets of her own.” Leaving Lucy Pear will be published in late July; you may recall Anna’s debut novel, also a work of historical fiction, titled The Little Bride.

Photo credit: Pamela Frame.

Photo credit: Pamela Frame.

Rachel Hall‘s Heirlooms “begins in the French seaside city of Saint-Malo, in 1939, and ends in the American Midwest in 1989. In this collection of linked stories, the war reverberates through four generations of a Jewish family. Inspired by the author’s family stories as well as extensive research, Heirlooms explores assumptions about love, duty, memory and truth.” Heirlooms will be published in the Fall of 2016 by BkMk Press as the most recent winner of the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. I’ve had the good fortune of reading the manuscript, and I can tell you that this book won’t simply make my list for favorite reads of 2016; it has secured a place on my list of favorite books, forever.

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Monday Markets for Writers

dollar-sign-mdMonday brings the weekly batch of no-fee competitions/contests, paying submission calls, and jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction). Continue reading ›

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Sunday Sentence


In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

But then, almost overnight, it seemed perfectly acceptable, just as most everything in my life that had ever made me inconveniently queasy (i.e.: my parents’ grisly divorce, my absurd broken engagement in college, my temp-job career) had swiftly morphed into perfectly acceptable.

Source: Susan Perabo, “Why They Run the Way They Do” (the title story in her latest collection)

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Friday Finds for Writers

Treasure Chest
Writing-related resources, news, and reflections to enjoy over the weekend. Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Mazal tov to Ruth Knafo Setton on winning the latest Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award. Read the winning story–about a young Jewish boy in World War II Casablanca–online.
  • New addition to the English-language writing community in Israel: WriteSpace Jerusalem.
  • Ben Nadler chats with Catherine Tung about Judaism, punk rock, and his newest novel, The Sea Beach Line.” Courtesy of Fiction Writers Review.
  • “The Bardejov Jewish Preservation Committee (BJPC) is seeking a writer/editor to work on a new book publication, starting immediately. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, BJPC is dedicated to the restoration of the Jewish sites in Bardejov, Slovakia – a UNESCO World Site Heritage; and to documenting the heritage and history of Jewish Bardejov. The writer/editor’s main task will be BJPC’s new publication, focused on pictures and documents that tell the stories of Jewish Bardejov before, during, and after the Holocaust.”  NB: “Preferable” job location for this position is Pasadena, California; “optional” location is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Job available in Los Angeles: “Reporting to the Program Director, PJ Library, the Program Coordinator helps to create, implement & promote PJ Library programming in addition to assisting with the general work of PJ Library in Los Angeles as needed.”
  • Shabbat shalom!

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