HUGE congratulations are due to Seattle Review of Books contributor Nisi Shawl, whose amazing novel Everfair was just announced as a John W. Campbell Memorial Award finalist, alongside some incredible books by Colson Whitehead, Ben Winters, Don DeLillo, and Kij Johnson.
Are you an aspiring graphic novelist? Here's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: The Office of Arts and Culture is offering $50,000 to "commission one artist or artist team to research, write and illustrate a fictionalized historic graphic novel in relation to the history, story and significance of the Georgetown Steam Plant, a National Historic Landmark."
If you'd like to host a table at this year's Short Run at Seattle Center on November 4th, you should apply right here. We hear that this year's show will have an increased focus on independently published literature, so even if you're not a comics person you should check it out.
This time next week is the publication date for Seattle author Sherman Alexie's much-anticipated memoir about his complicated relationship with his mother, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me. This means you'll be seeing a lot of Alexie over the next few weeks, which is always a happy thing. First of all, his short story "Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest" was published in the fiction issue of the New Yorker. It's a wonderful story about a hotel maid that leaves you wondering how Alexie researched the story:
Over the years, thirty or forty women had quit without saying a word. Many of them never bothered to return their maid uniforms or pick up their last paychecks. Marie feared that some of those women might have been disappeared by the men in their lives. But most of them just didn’t care about being responsible. Some of those women were as nocturnal and untrustworthy as rats. Marie had been slapped, punched, kicked, and bitten by former maids. Her purse had been stolen three times. And her car stolen once.
Returning to the subject of his mother, Alexie says, “I don’t know that I forgive my mother for her crimes against me. But I think I’ve come to a place where I understand them. I can’t forget what she did to me as an individual. But in terms of the lives of Native American women of her generation, I can completely understand why it happened the way it did. So if not forgiveness, I certainly have empathy. And for me to be empathetic toward my mother might be the bigger thing.”
More to come, obviously.
Speaking of profiles, over at the South Seattle Emerald, Paul Nelson profiles Seattle poet Greg Bem:
Greg has given compelling literary performances in Seattle and elsewhere almost as soon as he landed and says he will continue to “explore and experiment.” He wrote a piece after “binge-listening to Sun Ra and Albert Ayler on I-5” and says from those Jazz artists he gets: “this greater cosmos level of… reality…” He likens the work to Dada performance art, to the time experiments of John Cage and the work of San Francisco poet Jack Spicer.