Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bryn Chancellor

Bryn Chancellor’s debut novel, Sycamore, is now out from Harper. Her story collection When Are You Coming Home? won the 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and her short fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Phoebe, and elsewhere. Other honors include the Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award in fiction, and literary fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She earned her M.F.A. in fiction from Vanderbilt University and is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A native of California raised in Arizona, she is married to artist Timothy Winkler.

Recently I asked Chancellor about what she was reading. Her reply:
During the semesters, it’s hard for me to do as much reading as I’d like except for what I’m teaching. I keep teetering stacks at my bedside to catch snatches when I can, and I have managed to read a few lately with more queued up for summer.

I just finished two shortish works: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, a beautiful, eerily magical novel about refugees and loss but also very much about the passage of love over time with a slow-building power and resonance that hits hard at the end; and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s extended letter Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions, which I wish could be required reading for the whole world.

I am currently reading Ottessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World, a collection of stories so brilliant and unexpected that I find myself lying flat-backed and jaw-dropped after I finish each one. I also just started Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees; I’m mesmerized and haunted by these stories thus far, especially the opener, “Black-Eyed Woman."

Next up are Helen Oyeyemi’s What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, which I picked up because I loved her dreamy, powerful reimagined fairy tale Boy, Snow, Bird; Kevin Wilson’s Perfect Little World, because Kevin’s voice and wild imagination and heart in his previous books always rock my world; Derek Palacio’s The Mortifications, because I heard Derek read an excerpt of it a couple summers back and still can’t get it out of my head; and finally, a bit of nonfiction with Lauren Elkin’s Flâneuse: Women Walk the City, a subject in which I am deeply interested. I teach a workshop in which we study writers who walk and then complete our own walks/writing, so I’m delighted to delve into this gender-specific take.
Visit Bryn Chancellor's website.

--Marshal Zeringue