In 1995, Canadian novelist and critic Hal Niedviecki started publishing Broken Pencil, a magazine dedicated to the zine scene, the independent and alternative arts community that had been boiling below the surface of Canada's culture. Broken Pencil's mandate was (and is) to bring the submerged cultural urge into Canada's collective consciousness, to help lift it up and lend it legitimacy. And this includes promoting writing, from writers within Canada and outside it whom nobody here had ever heard of or wouldn't touch, that was too weird or uncomfortable for the (all-too) serious literary journals, too visceral and punk rock for the likes of the Margarets and their ilk. The stories in this anthology are outcasts. They don’t fit into traditional CanLit and, in most cases, they don’t even resemble the contemporary short story we’ve come to know and love. They are anti-literature. By and large, they read ragged, lacking the refinements of metaphor, magical realism, and perfect epiphany on the prairies. A few of them might even be badly written. On purpose? By accident? Who really cares? This is Broken Pencil, where the words do the work, voices are discovered and developed, and the place for sharp, offensive urban fiction. Includes stories by Sarah Gordon, Golda Fried, Martha Schabas, Etgar Keret, Ian Rogers, Ethan Rilly, Greg Kearney, Leanna McLennan, Craig Sernotti, Janine Fleri, Karen McElrea, Matthew Firth, Christopher Willard, Paul Hong, Josh Byer, Derek McCormack, McKinley M. Hellenes, Julia Campbell-Such, Zoe Whittall, Joey Comeau, Emma Healey, Robert Benvie, Grant Buday, Sandra Alland, Kate Story, Charlie Anders, Jake Kennedy, Kevin Spenst, Jessica Faulds, Joel Shneier, Esme Keith, Christoph Meyer, Tor Lukasik-Foss, Joel Katelnikoff, Janette Platana, Federico Barahona, and Dave Hazzan.
Emma Healey grew up in London where she studied for her first degree in bookbinding. She then worked for two libraries, two bookshops, two art galleries and two universities, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University East Anglia. Her first novel, Elizabeth is Missing, was published to critical acclaim in 2014, became a Sunday Times bestseller and won the Costa First Novel Award. Her second novel, Whistle in the Dark will be published in May 2018. She lives in Norwich with her husband, daughter and cat.
There were 4 or 5 stand out stories in this collection, but the majority of them were...just not good. It seemed to me to accomplish the opposite of what it stood out to accomplish. The best stories were the ones written by the authors I picked up the collection for (Golda Fried, Joey Comeau, etc.)