For those who may not know, Dame Edna O'Brien is an Irish novelist, memoirist, playwright, poet, and short story writer. This past week, she was given the PEN/Nabokov Lifetime Achievement Award "for breaking down social and sexual barriers for women in Ireland and beyond." I have always loved her short stories the most and have featured them in this series in the past. This month, let's celebrate and honor her with a roundup of some of these short stories (free to read online.) The themes she often returned to in these stories were of the challenges faced by Irish rural communities, mother-daughter conflicts, girls coming of age (with their "conscious innocence,” as John Mullan calls it), the other woman, and so on.
Last month, I shared three free writing how-to resources in the form of podcasts. This month, let's look at more free online resources — in the form of online blogs/websites. While there are way too many blogs and websites out there related to almost every aspect of writing beyond just craft, I am listing below only those related to craft and only those which, over the years have been my frequent go-to sites. This is not to say I have not found other many useful ones through google searches or recommendations from other writer friends. But, well, sometimes, you get hooked on a particular kind of advice delivered in a particular kind of way, right?
For November and December, let's revisit the best of the last ten months of short stories from this ongoing series. Why bother with this? For one, I find many short stories, when reread, give us new flavors, textures, nuances, etc., that we might have missed during the first read. For another, I do not want these amazing stories to simply get buried in the archives. So here are the five best-of-the-best from January-May 2017: stories by Karen Russell, Mohammed Naseehu Ali, Leila Aboulela, Robert Olen Butler, Helen Oyeyemi. These were very hard to pick, as you can imagine.