First Book Contest sponsored by MFA in Creative Writing Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Serving House Books
Sub-genre: Women’s fiction, Jewish fiction, Contemporary
About the book:
Ida Mae Glick, a critically acclaimed Jewish filmmaker, has lived and taught in the small town of Willow Bend, New York for five years without drawing attention to her troubled past. But when she suffers a near fatal heart attack, the result of trying to live on the same meager rations as a group of homeless people she is filming, she winds up in intensive care under the scrutiny of a neurotic psychiatrist who believes she’s unstable. To make matters worse, her mother’s ghost has appeared at her bedside with old gripes, and her angry, estranged identical twin, Lisa, is heading toward town intent on having her committed. Ida Mae is desperate to escape with her freedom intact, but knows she’ll have to get past her psychiatrist first. The only question is, can she? Shadows and Ghosts is Ida Mae’s tale of artistic passion, fierce sibling rivalry, failed love affairs, substance abuse, and the magical redemptive power of cinema.
At its core, Shadows and Ghosts is like much contemporary women’s fiction. It is purely character-driven, its settings are modern, and its main characters are female. There are men in the novel, all of whom are essential to the story, yet they play supporting roles. Having said that, I do think the work is unique because of its non-linear construction, and the fact that it is told from two points of view—first person, past tense, and third person, present tense. The former describes the events leading up to the main character’s cardiac arrest, and the latter allows the events resulting from that arrest to unfold. This intertwined narration is then framed within the context of famous film images. My idea was that the two points of view—one which functions as a voice-over, and the other that presents action in real time—would give readers both a literary and cinematic experience.
Genre: Anthology (Flash Fiction and Poetry)
About the book:
“The title we’ve given this anthology, (After)life, indicates the broad range of cultural experiences and encounters with death, whether actual or imagined, that the stories and poems relate. Collectively, the pieces in this anthology pose the question, What does death mean? Death used to be simple. It was the moment when the heart stopped beating. When does death occur now? Does death mean only endings for those left behind? If not, what are the ways in which we live on, after life? The stories and poems in (After)life explore or meditate on answers to these and other questions. The works we selected for (After)life reflect the complexity of our experiences with death.”
“Ghost Nebula” by Deborah Walker — Queensferry Press Best Small Fictions Finalist 2016
“The Beating Heart of the Wristwatch” by Martin Espada — Pushcart Prize Winner 2017