The Winner of the 2020 A.C. Bose Grant

Congratulations, Asha Thanki!

2020—The Speculative Literature Foundation and DesiLit are pleased to announce that Asha Thanki is the winner of the $1000 2020 A.C. Bose Grant.

Thanki’s winning piece is titled “Somewhere in Bombay, a Fog Descends.” Thanki is a fiction writer and essayist living in Minneapolis, where she is completing an MFA at the University of Minnesota. She is the winner of the 2019 Arkansas International’s Emerging Writers Prize and a finalist for Redivider’s 2020 Beacon Street Prize. Her work has appeared in Platypus Press’ wildness, The Common, Catapult, Cosmonauts Avenue, Hyphen, and more; more information can be found at ashathanki.com.

Read the story here: https://www.arkint.org/asha-thanki

Grant info: http://speculativeliterature.org/grants/slf-ac-bose-grant/

Montreal Coverage for Feast

Woot — Montreal coverage for Feast! This is our first international coverage aside from the actual Sri Lankan coverage, so lovely to see. Canada peeps, look!

https://montrealgazette.com/…/six-oclock-solution-beet…

Although I have to note, someone wrote a subhead that says: “If you can’t find curry leaves, you can substitute them with lime zest and basil leaves in this recipe for beet curry,” and I disagree. If you can’t find curry leaves (they can be ordered online at Amazon and elsewhere), leave them out. I haven’t found anything that replicates that particular flavor.

And in fact, in the article itself, the writer includes this:

“Shopping for the essential seasonings is easiest in Indian stores, but supermarkets increasingly stock these products, says Mohanraj, who includes one of the best ingredient chapters I have ever seen in a book. Avoid yellow curry powder; Sri Lankans use dark-roasted, and she includes a recipe so you can make your own. Curry leaves come fresh, frozen or dried; if you can’t find them, skip them, Mohanraj directs.”

They also changed my recipe a bit, adding this parenthetical:

“green chilies (jalapeño, Anaheim, banana or poblano)”

Um, no. Serrano is your best bet for something readily available in North America, and what you’re ideally looking for is green fingerhot chilies. I wouldn’t use Anaheim, banana, or poblano, which have very different and distinct flavors.

I hope I’m not being churlish here — I do appreciate the coverage, very much. But it’s a little distressing seeing them leading people astray, flavor-wise. I know they want to be helpful, but I wish they’d dropped me a note to check these changes.

Six O’Clock Solution: Beet curry straight from Sri Lanka

Think of curry with a salty-sour-sweet taste and a bit more heat than in Indian cuisine, and you have the most popular dish from Sri Lanka, the island off the coast of India that was once a crossroads of European exploration and trade.

Rewarding, But Challenging

Last paper graded, and mid-semester grades in, a solid 51 minutes before the deadline. Go, me. What I really want to do is thank the student whose paper I happened to read last, because it was a truly lovely piece, and instead of critique, I got to write suggestions about how she might develop it further, should she decide to go on with upper-level or graduate classes in lit.

That’s a rare treat, when you’re teaching a 100-level class, where so often, your students are trying to manage challenges with basic English while also learning essay structure, struggling to understand the readings (often in archaic or academic prose), and figuring out how to convey their arguments clearly. Reading their papers and trying to decide what is the next best thing to ask them to work on can be challenging. Rewarding, but challenging.

This was a lovely, relaxed way to end the night. 🙂

Publishing My Jump Space Sci-fi Stories

Okay, here’s another question for you folks, while we’re brainstorming. We were thinking of putting together little selections of my Jump Space sci-fi stories and releasing them as mini ebooks. Keep in mind that you can read them for free on the web! But this would let you have the convenience of reading them from your e-reader device, nicely formatted, etc.

Does this sound interesting? If so, should I do:

a) only already published stories (presumably vetted by excellent magazine editors) or include some original stories too?

(NOTE: If I include original material, I’m forgoing the chance of publishing it in a magazine, so that’s $300 – $500 not in hand, plus the visibility of the magazine bonus. On the other hand, people like original material, and it’d be an extra reason to buy something, since those aren’t up on the web already.)

b) put them out in little sets of 3 stories (about 15,000 – 20,000 words) for $1.99

c) put them out as a set of 5-6 stories (about 30,000 – 40,000 words, or half a novel) for $3.99

d) something else?

What are people doing, what seems appealing to you? Bujold, for example, is releasing her Penric novellas directly, about 125 pages, for $3.99. I need some market research here!