Sophie Powell's Blog
May 13, 2010
Long time, no blog – it's been a frenetic semester, though my classes at Boston College were exceptionally rewarding – I had two super-talented sets of students. So super-talented, in fact, that I went and got an anthology of their work published through the Espresso Book Machine in the Harvard Bookstore. I asked each student to select 5 pages of their best work from the semester and compiled each class' work into a PDF file, which I emailed to the Harvard Book Store. Poof! Like magic, the...
September 5, 2009
Ethan Gilsdorf, a former Dungeons and Dragons addict and seasoned pop-culture and travel journalist, chronicles his international odyssey through the worlds ofHarry Potter bands, medieval reenactment societies, World of Warcraft guilds and massive fantasy conventions, to name only a few. In the process he learns to come to terms...
June 23, 2009
My review of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide To Flash Fiction, as published in The Fiction Writers Review:
"Alice Munro is mostly known as a short story writer and yet she brings as much depth, wisdom and precision to every short story as most novelists bring to a lifetime of novels." So Jane Smiley, a judge on the2009 Man Booker International Prize, told of its beloved Canadian winner last month. It was the first time a writer who exclusively produces short stories was awarded this...
April 24, 2009
My review of A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff, as published on The Rumpus.net:
"With their shining hair and bright, clear eyes, they, all of them, were the dewy flowers of the upper middle class…" writes Joanna Smith Rakoff in the first chapter of her superb, acutely insightful first novel, A Fortunate Age. "But this group, our group, wanted nothing to do with money, the whiff of which had, they thought, spoiled their brash bourgeois parents… [they:] were interested in art, though...
April 1, 2009
My review of Anne LeClaire's magical new book "Listening Below The Noise: A Meditation On The Practice Of Silence", as published on http://www.therumpus.net, the new Harper's:
Anne LeClaire's new book explores the many faces of silence
I have never felt comfortable with silence. Alone in the house, I insist on having the radio or television playing in the background. I write in cafés, not in libraries or log cabins in the middle of nowhere. If there is a gap in a conversation, I feel the...
January 17, 2009
As for me, I'm particularly excited about my role as Assistant Director of Abroad Writers Conferences (http://www.abroad-crwf.com). We have an incredible conference in Calcutta planned for September, with an outstanding array of Pulitzer/Booker/National Book Award winners. Currently on board are: Junot Diaz, Chris Abani, Amy Bloom, Robert Olen Butler...
July 24, 2008
The past few weeks I have been in a fascinating email dialogue with Hernan Torres, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the Universidad del Cauca in Popayán, Colombia. Previously a Fulbright Scholar and Research Fellow at Washington University in St Louis, he is now in charge of editing Cuadernos de Antropologia y Poética, an interdisciplinary publication on poetics and interpretive anthropology. He also translates English, French and German poets into Spanish. He explained that his reasons...
June 24, 2008
And here I am, behind my cloak
An ardent hope and a burning fever
I thirst for meeting with you,
But there is my veil, my curse,
O my beloved.
—(M. al Sharafi, 1970, translation Carla Makhlouf)
A week ago, I came across the book "Changing Veils" (1979), an absorbing study of women and modernization in North Yemen (the former, pre-unification Republic Of Yemen). The author, Carla Makhlouf, is an anthropologist by...
May 6, 2008
I've just returned from New York where I attended the panel discussion 'Writing Sex and Sexuality', one of the many and varied events hosted by PEN as part of their festival of international literature. I was particularly interested in this event since my novel The Mushroom Man included some sexually explicit scenes which provoked quite a few comments from readers, and recently I had an essay on sex forthcoming in the upcoming anthology Behind The Bedroom Door until I chickened out and...