I'm pleased to share new reviews for A GIRL GOES INTO THE FOREST, forthcoming from Dzanc July 16, 2019. From Publishers Weekly: “This haunting collection of 78 tiny but potent stories . . . stories are so sharp and disturbing . . . they are probably best consumed in small quantities.” And "Breadcrumbs for the Disenchanted"from Riot Material: “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.”
A GIRL GOES INTO THE FOREST has been named the THE NERVOUS BREAKDOWN'S July 2019 Book Club Selection! You can sign up now through July 15.
Ever thankful to those who are interested in and have been supporting my new baby!
It's been a week or so of lovely news as A GIRL GOES INTO THE FOREST nears entry into the world.
The first review is in. "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.” Kirkus Reviews
Ilana Masad talked with me about forests of long ago as communal places, losses as the inevitable living of life, the one and only play I've ever written, among other things (while experiencing her first tornado warning) at The Other Stories Podcast.
Thea Prieto and I talked 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, yearning for artistic expression, and more for the New Orleans Review.
Many thanks to these fine people who are taking an interest in my new book.
Many thanks to Janice Lee at Entropy Magazine for publishing my microfiction "Baby Bird." You can read the whole thing here, and while you're there, check out the whole series on birds.
I've been the grateful recipient of good writerly news.
Two nominations for the BEST SMALL FICTIONS. One from Waxwing for "A Girl Goes into the Forest" and one from Mom Egg Review for "Starflower [I Want her Back]." I love these journals for the amazing work they are publishing, and I'm so proud to have my writing included in their pages, and even prouder to have their nominations.
Connotation Press published three hybrids: "Laundry," "Exposed," and "Schematics" and made me featured writer with an interview: Signing my Checks as Mrs. Franz Kafka. Huge thanks to editor Jonathan Cardew.
The Gravity of the Thing published "In the Beginning." (From the website: The Gravity of the Thing is dedicated to the publication of innovative and defamiliarized writing . . .since the journal’s inception in 2013, has been named one of thirty best online magazines . . . We publish work that is aware of its literary form, writing that defamiliarizes in craft or content for an enhanced rendering of reality.)
Magnify listed A GIRL GOES INTO THE FOREST as a most anticipated book of 2019. “The ordinary lives of parents, daughters, husbands, wives, illness and grief are transformed in A Girl Goes Into the Forest. Here, the lucky reader enters a “forest” brimming with enchantments.... Assembled like a luminous mosaic of stained glass, these 78 tales read like prose poems—a pitch-perfect condensation of moments, inflected by Pursell’s uncanny ear for the lyric."
A GIRL GOES INTO THE FOREST is now available for preorder from the publisher Dzanc Books!
I'm very happy to have this essay up at Books by Women, and grateful to Barbara Bos for inviting me to write it: "Writing Needs Solitude AND Community, Or How I Keep on Keeping On." Discussed are how plans can get derailed by relationships, mainly those with oneself that we may not always be totally in touch with. Also, my finding my path again, which may not be everyone's way, but has been and is mine to date.
I'm so grateful to Bending Genres and to Sara Fitzpatrick Comito for the review of Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow published online.
"Pursell’s rich images and musicality still leave plenty of space to imprint one’s experience while savoring the characters’ seductive gravitational slide through time, space, hurt, and heart."
My friend, the novelist Scott Landers, spotted this cool poster advertising my event at the Cloverdale Performing Art Center somewhere out in the wilds of Healdsburg. Books on Stage takes place this Sunday, Sept. 16, at 2 pm. All the details are here, at the performing arts center website.
If you're in the Bay Area and can make it out to the North Bay, do come! It promises to be fun with wine (and it's wine country, after all!), cheese, and conversation.
A wonderful week for which I'm so grateful. First to RHINO and Chloe Martinez for reviewing Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow. "These pieces beautifully enact the effort to contain and comprehend intense emotions and experiences. What happens when circumstances—such as those of family, culture, or violence—prevent us from expressing or acting upon what we feel? " Chloe Martinez's insights are so astute and so moving to this writer.
Bending Genre's Robert Vaughn and Meg Tuite: thank you for publishing "Rust" in your latest issue. I'm such as admirer of these two writers, editors, and teachers, and of the journal, that it's a thrill and honor to have my story published there. The piece is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, A GIRL GOES INTO THE FOREST, coming from Dzanc Books next year.
And enormous thanks to John McMurtrie of the San Francisco Chronicle for featuring Why There Are Words! His pick was a complete surprise and so exciting to see.
I had the great joy of curating a folio on the topic of mothering grown children for one of my favorite journals, Mom Egg Review. Here, you can read my introduction to the project, and from there follow each author, Maria Benet, Jacqueline Doyle, Rebecca Foust, Linda Michel-Cassidy, Stephanie Noble, Daye Phillippo, Dorothy Rice, and Angela Narciso Torres to her contribution, ending with mine.
The wonderful picture here accompanies Linda-Michel Cassidy's nonfiction piece, "We Want to See the Sun on Our Faces." Which begins like this: In the picture, we wear caftans and eclipse glasses. My daughter towers over me, a fact I forget until I see it documented. We look like celestial beings, not because we are heavenly or even good in the traditional sense, but because of the light.
I very much enjoyed this Q & A with the wonderful author Middy Friddle. Being compared to Virginia Woolf - what's not to like?
Middy is herself, as mentioned above, a wonderful author - of The Garden Angel (St. Martin's Press), selected for Barnes and Noble's Discover Great New Writers program, and of her second novel, Secret Keepers (St. Martin's Press), which won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. Read more about her and her other publications here.