My Geppetto by Polly Dee

Puppet or not ?

He cuts a strange figure. Is too hard and too fast, deliberate, dark eyes and a mechanical grin. I am soft and white next to him, thin-skinned, fungal. I’m picking at a scab on my wrist. 

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Guest Article : Test and Invest to help your Manuscript Sell

by Karen Charlton
Artwork by Bradley Wind

If authors are not prepared to invest in themselves, why should anyone else?’

OK, I hold up my hands at the start. I manage a company which makes money out of helping aspiring writers to fine tune their manuscripts until they are of publishable standard. So I have a personal interest in promoting the idea that paying for a professional edit is a sound investment.

However, even I was shocked when my business advisor, Paul Harper, blurted out the comment above. We were chatting over coffee and I said that many authors didn’t seem to realise the hours of work involved in properly editing a manuscript, that many baulked at the cost of hiring a professional to undertake the work. Paul is not a man who suffers fools gladly.

‘But if authors are not prepared to invest in themselves, why should anyone else?’ he snapped. ‘Why should publishers invest in their damned book, if they won’t?’

The ferocity of his tone led to a sharp intake of breath, but it also made me think.

Spare Leg by Rebecca Swirsky

Mannequin Legs 

Let me tell you a true story. If you listen, I'll be honest. Remember those cold nights, a spate of them lasting a week, around two months back, when the frost tinged the air blue and made fingetips hurt?

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Susan Choi Interview

Interview with Susan Choi
by Jamie Guiney

SUSAN CHOI’s first novel The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and her third, A Person of Interest, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, in 2010 she received the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award. She teaches at Princeton and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and sons.

Where is ‘home’?

Home is Brooklyn, New York, where I live with my husband and sons, but it's also Houston, where I spent the so-called 'formative years,' and where my mother and many dear friends still live. Going there is always a homecoming.

When did you first think of yourself a writer?

I wrote a lot, for fun, from a very early age, but it wasn't until my early 20s, confronted with the hard fact that I had few (if any) other skills, that I started to think of writing as something I might do for a profession. It took a bit more than that - publication, mostly - before I could think of myself as a writer.

Sugar and Spice by Rhoda Greaves

As they look out of the large French windows, Emily’s foster father appears from behind the rose bushes, and makes his way over. He slips off his boots and gloves, throwing his arms around Emily; stifling her with the smell of frost-clung mud. He brushes her cheek with his: stands back, and takes her in.

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Tides or How stories do or don't get told by Elizabeth Baines

There’s a scene that keeps coming back to me: the two of us standing at a wall by the sea one evening in Wales, me and him. It was dusk, the tide was out and just beginning to come in. It feels to me as if this moment is the focus of a story, our story, the point from which the tale could go backwards to all that happened before, and forwards, beyond that night.

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