SELECTED PRESS AND INTERVIEWS IN AUDIO AND PRINT
“This haunting collection of 78 tiny but potent stories . . . are so sharp and disturbing . . . they are probably best consumed in small quantities.”
“Pursell is a master of the atmospheric moment. Precise, delicate, yet bloody-minded in their refusal to look away from the most painful moments of our tender lives . . . Tiny tales that resonate far beyond their borders.”
"Pursell’s surreal stories together form a familiar picture of a world full of love and yearning . . .”
San Francisco Chronicle
". . . she is dexterous in anatomizing the relationships between mothers and daughters, emulating Henry James-like restraint to articulate that which is left unsaid between them."
The Northern California Independent Book Alliance
A Girl Goes into the Forest short-listed for the Golden Poppy Award for Fiction
The Gravity of the Thing
2020 Best American Short Stories Anthology and Pushcart Anthology nominations for "In the Beginning" (excerpted from A Girl Goes into the Forest)
The Museum of Americana
2019 Best of the Net Anthology nomination for "A Man with Horses" (excerpted from A Girl Goes into the Forest)
Peg Alford Pursell and Jane Ciabattari discuss Peg's selection of great hybrid books.
Interview with Mitzi Rapkin (Aspen Public Radio)
"When talking about the writing process and the themes of her book, Peg said, 'I want to be going into the forest myself when I write. I don't necessarily want to know at all where I'm going, I need that mystery. . .' "
5 Books Not to Miss in July
"Thematically divided into nine sections, with the themes delineated by passages from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” these brief stories explain a woman’s life in a way I’ve never seen it explained before. "
Excerpt and my brief thoughts on the short story.
Interview with Taylor Larsen. We discuss my first psychology class in high school, my abiding love for compression in writing, the story "You Can Do Anything," and much more.
Inverview. ". . . mother-daughter relationships are absolutely affected by the fact that we live in a patriarchal society. "
Review. “. . . a girl undeterred ventures into the forest, overcomes obstacles, and ultimately saves the boy. Like 'The Snow Queen,' Pursell’s stories acknowledge female agency, where a woman is both author and hero.”
Interview with Sarah Stone. "Objects can be articles of emotional transference and allow writers to subtly and economically communicate the universal."
The Arkansas International
Review. "the stories create a stunning collage of the presence and the agency of women in the world. "
Review. "Pursell writes girls the way they need to be seen … searching, fraught, even lost, but they are also insightful, whip-smart, and do not have the time for your condescension … these stories, while lyrical, land so close to the bone, they hurt.”
Review. “It is altogether a different sort of feat from epic storytelling for an author to communicate all she wants to say in such a limited fashion and to trust that the reader will follow with her.”
Breadcrumbs for the Disenchanted
Review. “The elliptical intensity of Pursell’s tales brings to mind Yasunari Kawabata’s classic “palm-of-the-hand” stories, with revelatory flashes and glimmers registering in different tones. . . . A Girl Goes Into the Forest is also a survivor’s handbook, an oblique guide to self-preservation clothed in the skin and bones of modern lore.”
TBR [to be read] Interview Series
Interview. "It turns out that even when I think I’m not thinking much about food in this book, I’m thinking of food! There’s fudge with marshmallow and nuts, there’s roast beef, a cake with pink frosting, gingerbread man cookies, tomatoes, apples, hazelnuts, margaritas, key lime pie, smoothies, white Russians, vegetable soup."
The Rumpus: Interview
"What Turns Up". Interview with Kate Milliken in which we talk about the title of the story collection, real losses since the 2016 election, 63 pages of notes on laughter, and more.
The Lit Pub
Interview. "Language and Laughter: Two Writers in Conversation." Conversation with Nancy Au, in which we talk about Tzara’s Hat, science and the natural world as inspiration and influence, flash fiction collections, and more.
Write or Die Tribe
Interview for the Spotlight Series. When is a piece of writing finished?, endings, the genesis of WTAW Press, and more.
Mom Egg Review
Review. ". . . each [of the stories] opens up an entire life in these small spaces.“
New Books Network
Podcast interview. " . . . [Pursell's] writing is soothing, sparkling, opaque or mysterious, but it always packs a punch."
A Girl Goes into the Forest appeared on two “most anticipated” book lists.
The Millions Most Anticipated Book List for the second half of 2019
CRAFT Literary Magazine Most Anticipated for July 2019
And three best of 2019 lists.
Entropy Magazine’s Best Fiction of 2019
Independent Book Review’s 30 Impressive Indie Press Books
Large-Hearted Boy’s Favorite Short Story Books of 2019
Article by Nina Schuyler, "A Symphony of Endings."
Large Hearted Boy
My playlist to accompany A Girl Goes into the Forest.
The Other Stories Podcast
Interview and discussion with Ilana Masad about forests of long ago as communal places, losses as the inevitable living of life, the one and only play I've ever written.
New Orleans Review
Interview and discussion with Thea Prieto about "Diving into the Wreck", patriarchal masks and ideals, little Kay (the boy in “The Snow Queen”) who gets a piece of the magic mirror in his eye and one in his heart, and the yearning for artistic expression.
Poets & Writers second annual "5 over 50" feature.
Read an excerpt from Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow online.
Download the essay I wrote for the magazine for this feature.
Signing my Checks as Mrs. Franz Kafka: An Interview with Peg Alford Pursell
Connotation Press, with Jonathan Cardew
Hybridity, Compression, Shimmer: Q & A, by Sonya Chung, Editor, Bloom.
"Show Her a Flower is a gorgeous collection of short prose that lives in that maddening and exciting liminal space between prose, poetry, and something altogether its own. Each piece is like a crystal—complex, compressed, luminous . . . it took me a few months to read the slim collection, and this, to my mind, is high praise for the book. I experienced what Joan Silber called its “long, shimmering after-effect.”
Author to Author Q & A, by Mindy Friddle.
“I write first thing, for as long as I can, and that length of time will vary. Most often, the writing time never seems long enough, but I like that too, because I’m then eager to delve back in the following day.”
Prosody Radio (listen online here).
Pittsburgh Radio for Contemporary Literature. Western Pennsylvania's only regularly scheduled radio program featuring contemporary poets and writers, hosted by Jan Beatty.
The Nervous Breakdown (TNB) Self Interview
"Immersed in solving the artistic problem, I experienced the same sense of wandering lost in the forest that I do sometimes when in the middle of writing. The angst can be intense . . . . The creative process was exhilarating, worrying, daunting, intriguing, and all-encompassing. When it was finished, it seemed it couldn’t be arranged any differently."
Interview at The Rumpus by Linda Michel-Cassidy
"Lyricism played against the narrative arc of fiction produces a satisfying tension at the line level, for me. That tension can express the sense of yearning you speak of. Yearning, in one form or another, is the human condition, our shared story."
Interview at Hamline Lit Link: From a Publisher to Publishing Her First Book [Q&A]
"I enjoy that challenge of crystallization, which involves thinking deeply about the reader, imagining what she may fill in with her intelligence, intuition, and empathic imagination and invention."
7x7 Magazine's 7 Spring Reads: Books You Need to Read Right Now.
"Peg Alford Pursell's [collection] is piercing. With vivid characters and striking situations of loss and longing, this collection of lyrical prose is bound to sucker-punch you right in the soul. Yes, it hurts—but it's also dazzling, beautiful, and will give you those shimmery post-read chills."
Peg Alford Pursell featured at AWP's "In the Spotlight."
Interview published at Permafrost: "Goddess of Bibliotherapy."
The Rumpus "mini-interview project" on Peg's motivation for starting WTAW Press.
"Your work in the world" -- Story Makers Show podcast
Lit Chat Interview with Peg at LitStack
Below: artistic video by Marcia Pelletiere for "The Map She Is Trying to Follow" from Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow