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.
Here I was in love with Jan and I could not understand how it was possible, could not move away from the heat of him. We stepped over the invisible lines that separated us and, just like that, we were together.
His eyes showed me that he, too, could not see how he had come to fall so suddenly, so hopelessly. It was as though his mind was trying to catch up with the legs that had already sprinted away with his heart. I ran with him. I did not question how we got to this place. For a whole month we blistered each other with looks and passed secret scorch marks when our hands touched. We finally skipped afternoon classes and went back to the apartment.
He said nothing. Took my hands and put them around his neck,
--Now I have a necklace of Motsumi.
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
This installation is growing. Lisa's making some incredible sculptures: sheds, skins, and pattern pieces. I'll be heading into the studio to record the narrative, and shooting some video on the secretive life of the Fox!
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: Hanging out with a group of vagrants, sorry, students. Promo for the Festival is up to 11 this week.
Yum stuff: We found a new cauliflower recipe. Can you have too much cauliflower? Well, probably. But this one has pesto sauce, crispy shallot rings and beans with pesto. Can it be delicious and still vegan? Why, yes!
Random stuff: I'm still struggling to get my Zoom recorder files to work with Garage Band. I can upload okay but I can't edit them. Back to watching YouTube videos.
WHAT'S HAPPENING 2016/2017
When: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Where: 31220 Oak Crest Dr, Westlake Village, CA 91361
Dive in! Writing strategies to help you get started. 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/ on the day $35
Community members: $60/ on the day $65
Donate a $30 sponsorship for a student and your name and/or logo will appear 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!
Send your sexy bits (getting down at work) to Sincyr's call: Working It. Special shout out to tanka/haiku writers: Undertow is looking for your best briefs. Intriguing Re-Work the Psalm contest by Structo. In addition to fiction and poetry, Carte Blanche wants comics and audio submissions. Five:2:One wants your David Bowie poems, audio and visual art, and cross-genre work. Hot Tree Publishing wants your firefighter, soldier, doctor, paramedic, police office romances. What are you waiting for?!
Literary magazine/publisher ||| Genre ||| Reading period ||| Pays |||
SINGLE SUBS ||| ||| |||
A-Minor ||| ||| |||
https://aminormagazine.com/about/ ||| prose, poetry ||| reading for May edition: submit now! ||| no
Beecher’s Mag, contest entry fee $12 ||| ||| |||
http://www.beechersmag.com/guidelines/ ||| fiction, nonfiction, poetry ||| 3/31 ||| yes!
Beecher’s Mag, general submissions ||| ||| |||
http://www.beechersmag.com/guidelines/ ||| fiction, nonfiction, poetry ||| open ||| complimentary copy
Carte Blanche ||| ||| |||
http://carte-blanche.org/submissions/ ||| prose, poetry, comics, photography, audio ||| 3/16-5/1 and 10/1-12/31 ||| yes!
Carve: The Raymond Carver Short Story Contest ||| ||| |||
https://www.carvezine.com/raymond-carver-contest/?utm_source=Carve+Magazine&utm_campaign=937e751f62-RCC_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_03_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7d585d7bf4-937e751f62-91255981&mc_cid=937e751f62&mc_eid=38e2852a78 ||| fiction ||| 4/1-TBA ||| Yaas!
Five:2:One ||| ||| |||
http://five2onemagazine.com/submission-guidelines/ ||| prose, visual/written poetry, art, micro nonfiction, audio/visual/video art ||| open ||| no
Foundry ||| ||| |||
http://www.foundryjournal.com/submit.html ||| poetry ||| open ||| yes!
Hot Tree Publishing: Rescue Me novellas ||| ||| |||
https://www.hottreepublishing.com/rescue-me ||| fiction ||| open ||| no
Platypus Press: check website for a number of publishing options ||| ||| |||
http://platypuspress.co.uk/guidelines ||| prose, poetry, digital shorts ||| open ||| no
Platypus Press: A Portrait in Blues ||| ||| |||
http://platypuspress.co.uk/guidelines ||| poetry ||| 4/30 ||| contributor’s copy
Quail Bell: considering poems for short poetry films ||| ||| |||
http://www.quailbellmagazine.com/submit.html ||| narratives, including “semi-scholarly work”, photography/art ||| open ||| no
Structo: Lenten Psalms Translation Contest ||| ||| |||
https://structomagazine.co.uk/lenten-psalms-translation-contest-2017/ ||| translate, rewrite, or make up your own psalm ||| 4/20 ||| yes!
Poetry Leaves ||| ||| |||
https://poetryleaves.submittable.com/submit ||| poetry ||| 4/15 ||| no
Sincyr Publishing: Working It ||| ||| |||
http://www.sincyrpublishing.com/submissions.html ||| fiction, nonfiction ||| 5/31 ||| 60% of net royalties (check website)
Undertow ||| ||| |||
http://undertowtankareview.blogspot.com ||| tanka and/or haiku ||| 4/20 ||| no