Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Out of Print Author Series: R K Biswas

Congratulation to R K Biswas on her new collection, Breasts and Other Afflictions of Women. The collection includes the story, Word Among Poets that appears in Out of Print.

Asked about putting together the collection, she said:

I love short stories, as a reader and as a writer. I find them enjoyable and challenging. I seriously don't understand why people say short stories are hard to sell. I usually try out a new writer through his/her short fiction. Most of the stories in this book were written a few years earlier, and published in various journals and anthologies around the world. The oldest - Sunset in the Hills was published in 2001 in Gowanus. I keep writing stories and sending them out. Strangely, it had not occurred to me before to put them together as a collection. When I did get down to the task, I found (after sorting through them) that they needed to be collected into more volumes than one or two. One bunch of stories contain tales with men as the protagonists, and this bunch had women, so the first two collections (the second is on its way) was easier to put together. The subsequent ones will need more planning, I guess. In Breasts and Other Afflictions of Women I've tried to put in those stories that best represented the frailties of women, physical, social and psychological. I hope at least some of the stories resonate with readers.

We, at Out of Print, are quite sure that more than one story will resonate with our readers!

RK Biswas' short story collection Breasts and Other Afflications of Women is a garden of delights. Each story is a nugget of wit and wisdom plumbing the depths of what it means to be a woman at different stages of her life-- single, married, widowed. Biswas writes with an emotionally fluid pen, her descriptions crisp and precise whether we are following an aged maid who finds herself out of a much needed job, or a modern woman desperately seeking a job for self-fulfillment.  Biswas takes us to simmering kitchens in India and rainy streets in Singapore, to marital battlegrounds and playgrounds where teachers and students connect and, as her characters find meaning in their lives, so you too will see your hopes and dreams reflected in these heartfelt stories. 
Soniah Kamal author of the novel An Isolated Incident, and the satire Hairy Potter: Collected Columns. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sexual and Gender Violence Issue March 2015: Call for Submissions

So many of us have been victims of or witnessed sexual violence or are likely to know someone who has. But if we speak of it all, we do so in whispers.

Unspoken, unshared, these stories haunt us with fears we are too ashamed to name.

Yet every day we read about rape and other forms of sexual and gender violence in our newspapers. But sometimes violence is implicit, revealed in a glance, a stance, a touch. Sometimes it is far more explicit. It is almost always layered. Inequities -historic, gendered, socio-economic - participate in violence.

A newspaper article, rooted in fact and objectivity, does not always permit exploring multiple aspects and perspectives in the way that stories allow. Stories express ambiguity, confusion. Enable us to navigate a world that is not always black and white, to understand the complexity of choices and prompt introspection. The best literature changes us by helping us understand ourselves, others and the world around us better.

The act of telling stories, of articulation, can empower us. It can be a way of changing the narrative, exploring alternatives, achieving catharsis. We are no longer silent. We take control of the narrative. We take control of our fear.

The next issue of Out of Print is themed around sexual and gender violence.  For the first time, Out of Print, in addition to fiction, will also welcome creative non-fiction.

The last date for submissions is 20th February and the issue will come out in early March. This issue will be guest-edited by Meena Kandasamy and  Samhita Arni.

Submission guidelines here: