SHORT STORIES/AWARDS 2016/17
Small Change: Hon Mention
JEWELS WE TOOK WITH US
Being us is the best in the world. Lucee is sixteen, Mouna and Batoul are fifteen. Me, Yasmine, I am thirteen.
Mouna is small, like me, but she is tough. She can beat me at arm-wrestling. She has a pretty nose, one of those girls who is pretty even when she is scratching her legs.
My nose bends over like a hunchback. I am not pretty. The husband says the only reason he married me is because I’m young and can bear children. He is looking for a better woman.
Lucee has a dimple in her right cheek and we see it all the time when she laughs. Lucee is my best friend and she takes care of me.
--We don’t know the way. We will be lost and eaten by wild dogs.
Lucee, dimple flashing, laughs.
--No wild dogs will eat us. We will eat them.
Fishers of Men: Short List
For Barni and me, it is our job to do the plastic ties. The captain says our fingers are quicker than the bigger boys. Also, we do the look-out, too, because our eyes are very sharp, and we can move fast around the boat. It is a big responsibility. I am twelve and Barni is thirteen and we are the youngest on our crew.
When we were just children we looked after the goats. But the war came and took many of the fathers, and then we became the men. That is a big thing. You must pay for the rice and the goat-meat and the flour for the anjera, and then if one gets sick, you must buy the medicine. These small children get sick very easily. And then you have the repairs for the house and the fees ones who are in school. You cannot do all of that by looking after goats.
Fishers of Men: Finalist
Curt Johnson Prose Awards
Barni told me about the manatee. It is a big, soft, sea-fish. Mammal, says Barni. And now we have tied up this very big man and he is lying down, just like a manatee, behind the bulkhead at the back of the boat. He came with his friends to kill us, but we were too many and we got him down and now he is in the plastic ties.
The captain tells Barni and me to watch this one while they organize with the others at the front and tie up the other boat that is smaller than ours. It is new and now we can have two boats.
Ours a good, long boat. It used to be for fishing, but the fish ran out so the captain put a strong motor and brought us to do this work. We sleep below and there is a kitchen, too. Our boat is fast. We can catch anyone very quickly and we go on board and they give us the money and we leave. We are the good guys. We take from the rich and give to the poor.
Across the Wires, a collection: Finalist
6th Ever Contest 2016
“And here’s Adriana singing just for you.” But this is not the famous Voces del Secuestro radio station, and this isn’t Colombia. And I am not sitting on some scrap of canvas or drinking coffee or wondering when I’ll get a chance to shave. I am not expecting to grab my cloth bag with the notebook and pen, the dry highlighter, the small tin that used to hold mints. I am not walking through long wet grass that whips my face. I am not stumbling across the ankle-bending rocks in a dry river bed. Muffled words are not shouted from behind a green scarf, and I am not clubbed to the ground because I didn’t know I was being told to lie down. I am not being slapped across the face because I looked up at the wrong moment. I am not thinking This is not me in this body in this place forced to walk and squat, to be pushed around with the muzzle of a gun.
NOVELS and COLLECTIONS
Small Change, a collection of short fiction
Winner, Gold Line Press Competition 2016
A boy crawls through a tunnel in the Gaza Strip to bring back supplies to his family and neighbors despite the high risk of the tunnel being flooded, gassed, or bombed. On the eve of the Arab Spring in Libya, a girl and her best friend disguise themselves as boys to train for a school sports competition, knowing that if they’re caught they will be severely punished. Four young girls, three of them pregnant, decide to escape their abusive husbands and attempt to cross from Morocco to Spain.
Set against these turbulent backdrops, the children’s voices are free of political influence and remind the reader of the distilled best of human relationships. With no resources and armed with only loyalty, guts, and tenacity, they risk their lives for their friends in the belief that this is the only right thing to do.
The Geography of Kitchen Tables
Novel-in-progress set in post-apartheid South Africa.
I’m not an expert on weddings, but Motsumi looked a million times more beautiful than any bride I’ve seen, even the ones on TV. She had this dress that went in and out in all the right places. White, I think. Or ivory or ecru or some color only a woman could think up. And there was a thing in her hair—not the veil, but a kind of jewel that caught the light wherever she turned. And she wore red lipstick. I remember that because she didn’t usually wear lipstick and her mouth was a flower. I couldn’t look anywhere else.
Her mother released her arm and Motsumi came to stand next to me. Somehow I’d moved into the right place. Maybe Frikkie pushed me but at least I was there. I kept staring until the pastor coughed and I remembered I had to face him. I have no idea what he said or what I agreed to. He had to remind me to reply because I kept staring at her like my eyes were dronk. And then I put the ring on her finger without dropping it, which was something I was scared of. And she put the ring on my finger and we had to wiggle it over my middle knuckle but then it was on and it looked lekker. A married man. Me. And then the pastor reminded me to lift the veil and her face was blooming out at me like an autumn rose and the pastor reminded me to kiss her. And she was laughing at me and I was laughing, too, and I did kiss her and everyone clapped. I knew I had to hold her carefully because of the dress. But she had her arms around me and was hugging me tight so I hugged her tight, too, and I knew that this, this was the most important thing about being married. That you held on tight no matter what. And I wished my Mum and Dad could have seen it. Seen me and Motsumi being married.
Arjun Kulkani brings his family to North West London, England, after Indian Independence. While he struggles to fit in, his family adapt almost seamlessly. When he is diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, he suffers a further loss of identity. Even as his body fails, Arjun gains more understanding of his youthful impatience, his careless cruelty to his family, and how to love even those he doesn’t like.
Excerpt: "Sometimes Sunila goes to stand at the bottom of the garden pretending to tidy up the compost heap, and allows the forbidden thought to come: divorce. She can only whisper it. It’s a bad word. Bad people do it. But in the Women’s Own magazine at the doctor’s office, she read that Elizabeth Taylor had done it. She’d done it so many times that it was just part of her normal routine. Get up, put on face cream, divorce Richard. How daring it sounds, so chic."
Click here to buy a copy.
Collaboration with Lisa Sanders, fine artist
The Shedding Fox
Prose-poetry and fine art
The Shedding Fox
lives in a shed and sheds
She cannot stop the shedding so it is better and warmer to be here in the dull sweet-wood room among the thin-pale layerings of her-fur her-skin
Sometimes it’s quiet and she thinks, my-fur my-skin falling, catching the light
Because light is where my-fur my-skin colors and turns and changes even as it is dying
That is the beauty of every great thing: to fall into color and die
Lisa and I spent two weeks developing this project at Centrum, an artists residency in Port Townsend, WA. I have now finished the prose-poetry narrative and Lisa is working on the textile art pieces.
News about the first exhibition coming soon!
To contact me directly, please use the form below.
Gold Line Press, August 2016.
Small Change does what great fiction should do. Rather than strive for newness for the sake of novelty, or reinvent language to showcase the writer’s chops, it approaches language in a new way because the material—struggling for life and love in the Middle East—demands it. Fresh, invigorating, and profound, I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I did.
Fiction judge of the 2016 Gold Line Press Competition
Each of Hunter’s three stories does what stories should do, using small moments in time to touch larger themes. Here the touching, sometimes tactile, sometimes cerebral, sometimes brutal, sometimes beautiful, presses against the Middle East, a place where turmoil too often touches its people. Small Change points to big change with quiet grace, touching hard places and hopeful places.
Author of Both Members of the Club, The Number of the Missing, Belmondo Style, and Headlock. He teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and is editor of J Journal: New Writing on Justice.
October 22, 2016.
Audio preview here.
Interview with Camille Bradshaw of Gold Line Press here.
Interview with Natalie McNair of Speaking of Marvels here.
Bios for re-use
Sandra Hunter’s stories have won the 2016 Gold Line Press Chapbook Prize, 2014 Africa Book Club Award, 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, and three Pushcart nominations. She is a 2016 Bridport Prize finalist and a 2017 MacDowell Fellow. Her books: a fiction chapbook Small Change and debut novel, Losing Touch.
Sandra Hunter lives in Ventura, California where she teaches English and Creative Writing and runs writing workshops in Ventura and Los Angeles. Her fiction received the 2016 Gold Line Press Chapbook Prize, October 2014 Africa Book Club Award, 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, and three Pushcart nominations. She is a 2016 Bridport Prize finalist and a 2017 MacDowell Fellow. She has written a fiction chapbook, Small Change (2016) and a novel, Losing Touch (2014). She’s currently working on a novel-in-progress, The Geography of Kitchen Tables, set in post-apartheid South Africa.
Sandra Hunter lives in Ventura, California where she teaches English and Creative Writing and runs writing workshops in Ventura and Los Angeles. She is the author of the literary fiction novel, Losing Touch, that examines the double loss of identity through immigration and chronic disease. Her fiction chapbook, Small Change, won the 2016 Gold Line Press Chapbook Prize. The chapbook’s stories are set in Palestine, Libya and Morocco, and are told through the voices of children. Other awards include the October 2014 Africa Book Club Award, 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, and three Pushcart nominations. She was a finalist for the 2016 Bridport Prize finalist and has received a 2017 MacDowell Fellowship. She’s currently working on a novel-in-progress, The Geography of Kitchen Tables, set in post-apartheid South Africa. The story explores the changing bonds of race, family, and friendship through an interracial couple whose daughter is attacked by a street gang.
Professional Memberships: Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, PEN America, Association of Writers & Writing Programs, Hedgebrook Cedar Deep Giving Circle, Women's Writers Project, Women's National Book Association, American Association of University Woman.
What I'm up to
Work stuff: Just back from the MacDowell --yes, there was ice! What a gift this time was and I'm SO jazzed that I finished writing The Geography of Kitchen Tables.
Yum stuff: I will miss the chocolate, but I'm relieved to miss the chocolate.
Random stuff: It's a bit weird to make shopping lists and sort laundry and take out the recycling. Adjusting back to the routine!
WHAT'S HAPPENING 2016/2017
October 22 2016
Adam Berlin, author and poet, also writes highly-acclaimed articles about boxing. He is the editor of J Journal, a literary magazine based at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. His review of Small Change is in the October edition of the excellent Word Riot. You can read it here.
When: Thursday, Feb 2 2017
Where: 2476 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
This was such a blast! Ruth Thompson's new work, Whale Fall, was exquisite and moving and funny --everything you love about poetry. And I enjoyed myself reading part of "Jewels We Took With Us" with Ruth reading one of the narratives.
Writing like a mofo at the Colony
Where: Peterborough, NH
I'm just back from an intense and rewarding and enfolding three weeks at the MacDowell.
I finished The Geography of Kitchen Tables -- let's see if the publisher agrees with that! I also managed to get a short story written, too. What a gift it is to have uninterrupted time. And it doesn't hurt that it's in such a beautiful setting. I feel immensely grateful not only for this time but for the incredible artists I met there. I'm also grateful to the staff-- grounds, kitchen, Library, admin -- who did all the heavy lifting to keep the Colony functioning smoothly. Their place is writ in Paradise.
And now--back to work!
When: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Where: 31220 Oak Crest Dr, Westlake Village, CA 91361
Prepare to be rinsed out like a hot flannel: come for the writing, stay for the cookies.
When: Friday April 21 2017
Where: 208 EATM, Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Road, Moorpark, CA 93021
First ever writers festival at Moorpark! I'm jazzed as all get-out to be presenting a stellar line-up of poets and fiction writers who'll be teaching writing workshops that go from generating new work to an end-of-day performance at open mic.
Students and all college personnel with ID: $30
Community members: $60.
You can also donate a $30 sponsorship for a student and have your name and/or logo emblazoned on the Champagne and Chocolate section of the program. Call Tracy Stewart 805-553-4761 for more info.
Workshop and Reading
When: Wednesday May 10 2017
Where: 2349 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA
Coming at you, smoother than vanilla yoghurt (Mighty Boosh moment):
Fiction writer Barbara Ann Yoder, playwright Garret Groenveld and I, another fiction bod, will be hosting a fun writing workshop followed by brief readings of our work, and a free-for-all audience Q&A.
When: Thursday May 11 2017
Where: Studio 333, 333 Caledonia Street, Sausalito, CA 94965
Delighted to be invited back to WTAW--a constantly intriguing and engaging series run by the wonderful Peg Alford Pursell. I'll be reading from Small Change--but come for the other readers, too. Peg always gathers unique constellations of writers.
University of the Pacific
Creative Writing Conference
When: Friday June 23- Sunday June 25 2017
Where: Benerd School of Education, University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211
Hold the dates! So looking forward to heading back up to Stockton next June. This little gem of a conference in NoCal has consistently thoughtful and practical presentations with engaging presenters. There is a place in literary heaven for conference organizers and Scott Evans' throne is guaranteed. Word.
GET PUBLISHED? SUBMIT!
This week: special literary smooches to the flash/nano fiction writers. Scroll down to "Flash Fiction/Nano Subs" and whip out your shorts!
Taos Literary Journal is opening submissions for the month of May. Monstering is a new mag that wants submissions from disabled, women, and nonbinary writers. Big Lit is a Scottish book festival scheduled 4/20-23. They want short poems they can post in shop windows –instant fame!
Literary magazine/publisher ||| Genre ||| Reading period ||| Pays |||
SINGLE SUBS ||| ||| |||
http://www.biglit.org ||| poetry ||| 3/20 ||| no
Boston Review: entry fee $20 ||| ||| |||
https://bostonreview.submittable.com/submit/55329/annual-poetry-contest ||| poetry ||| 6/1 ||| Yes!!
Glint ||| ||| |||
https://glintjournal.wordpress.com/glint-7-submissions/ ||| poetry, prose, hybrid, art, multimedia (such as visual poetry collaboration) ||| 3/30 ||| no
Guttural ||| ||| |||
https://www.facebook.com/GutturalMagazine/ ||| poetry, prose, reviews, art ||| 4/15 ||| no
Inklette Magazine ||| ||| |||
https://inklettemagazine.com/submissions/ ||| poetry, prose, art, graphic fiction and photography ||| 3/20-5/5 ||| no
Maine Review ||| ||| |||
https://mainereview.submittable.com/submit ||| poetry, fiction, nonfiction ||| 3/31 ||| no
Matador Review ||| ||| |||
http://www.matadorreview.com/submissions ||| poetry, prose, art ||| open ||| no
Monstering ||| ||| |||
http://www.monsteringmag.com/general-submissions/ ||| poetry, prose ||| 4/1 ||| no
Shantih Journal ||| ||| |||
https://shantihjournal.org/submissions/ ||| poetry, prose, drama, art/photography ||| open ||| no
Taos Journal: sensual organs of the living earth ||| ||| |||
Submit to: [email protected] ||| up to 4 poems ||| 5/1-5/30 ||| no
The Collagist ||| ||| |||
http://thecollagist.com/collagistsubmissions/ ||| fiction, non-fiction, poetry ||| 3/31 ||| no
The Criterion ||| ||| |||
http://www.the-criterion.com/submission/#.WMav4xjMxBw ||| poetry, fiction, essays ||| open ||| no
FLASH FICTION/NANO SUBS ||| ||| |||
100 word story: $2 fee ||| ||| |||
http://www.100wordstory.org/submit/ ||| fiction ||| open ||| no
Dogzplot: 200 or less ||| ||| |||
http://dogzplot.blogspot.com ||| fiction ||| open ||| no
Flash Fiction Online: no simultaneous subs ||| ||| |||
http://flashfictiononline.com/main/submission-guidelines-flash-fiction/ ||| fiction ||| open ||| no
Flash: The International Short-Short Magazine: up to 360 ||| ||| |||
http://www.chester.ac.uk/flash.magazine/submissions ||| fiction ||| open ||| complimentary issue
Nano Fiction: 300 or less, check website for more sub info||| ||| |||
http://nanofiction.org ||| fiction ||| ||| no
Nanoism: up to 140 characters ||| ||| |||
http://nanoism.net/submit/ ||| fiction ||| open ||| no
The Collagist ||| ||| |||
http://thecollagist.com/collagistsubmissions/ ||| fiction ||| 3/31 ||| no
Toasted Cheese ||| ||| |||
http://tclj.toasted-cheese.com/submission-guidelines/ ||| fiction ||| 1/1-3/31; 4/1-6/30; 7/1-9/30; 10/1-12/31 ||| no
Vestal Review: 500 or less ||| ||| |||
https://vestalreview.submittable.com/submit ||| fiction ||| 5/31 ||| no