A little belatedly announcing the wonderful news that Office at Night, which Kate co-authored with Laird Hunt, was a 2015 nominee for the very cool Shirley Jackson Awards in the “Novelette” category. Office at Night is a response to Edward Hopper’s iconic painting, and was a co-commission of Walker Art Center and Coffee House Press. You can read the entire book on the Walker Art Center website (or you can buy an e-book in all the usual places one can buy e-books). Kate and Laird were interviewed about the project this summer by Tobias Carroll for his article “A Kind of Artistic Seance: The New Phase of Literary Collaborations.”
Please join Kate at Blanton Museum of Art (on The University of Texas in Austin campus) Thursday, September 17, 2015, from 6:30 PM – 7:30 pm. She’s appearing in their “Perspectives” series to talk about the Natalie Frank exhibit “The Brothers Grimm.” (One of Kate’s favorite scholars, fairy-tale hero Jack Zipes, wrote the introduction to the recently published book collecting 75 of Frank’s Grimm drawings.) Admission on Thursdays is free.
Kate is honored to be traveling to Southeast Missouri State University as the Nilson Endowment Visiting Writer next week, where she will visit classes and offer a public presentation — of and about fairy tales, of course! — on Tuesday, September 15 at 7 p.m.
Along with the phenomenal author Ander Monson, Kate will be reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center on January 22, 2015, 7 p.m. Ander will be handing out a limited edition card from his cool new book “Letter to a Future Lover” to the first 250 audience members to arrive at the reading, so come early!
How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales has just been listed as an Honorable Mention on Time Out New York’s list of “The 10 Best Books of 2014″ – with probably the best caption an author could dream of: “Most likely to replace The Brothers Grimm.”
Just in time for Halloween, Kate has published a brand new short story for The Masters Review‘s “Scary Stories” month. You can read “The Punk’s Bride” here. Kate’s story is based on the awesome Brothers Grimm tale “The Hare’s Bride.” In her author comment Kate says, “Fiction is my way of doing punk rock: I can’t sing so I do fairy tales—generally weird, sad, and violent ones.” (The Masters Review also just gave How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales a great review.)
In the opening paragraph of a review for The New York Times (of Jean Thompson’s The Witch: And Other Tales Retold), author and critic Laura Miller refers to Kate’s body of work in a beautiful context: “The practice of retelling fairy tales in the form of literary fiction is, if not quite hallowed, certainly established. The great Angela Carter’s revelatory 1979 story collection, The Bloody Chamber — a brocaded work of heady sensuality, intelligence and violence — remains the benchmark, but Kate Bernheimer’s Fairy Tale Review and the several excellent Bernheimer-edited anthologies spun off from it carry the standard forward.” You can read Miller’s review here.
In a lovely review, Bookpage writes, “This fall, two accomplished short-story writers are lending a kind of dark beauty to the season with their enthralling collections of modernized fairy tales . . . How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales is a remarkable compilation of stories.”
Here is an excerpt from Kate’s recent review of William T. Vollmann’s new story collection Last Stories and Other Stories, which she was delighted to be asked to write for The New York Times:
“In a recent Vanity Fair article, the critic James Wood was quoted as saying, “You can be a good storyteller . . . and still not be a serious storyteller.” He went on to claim that a novel “is not a serious one” when “it tells a fantastical, even ridiculous tale, based on absurd and improbable premises.” Taken to its necessary and logical conclusion, this statement excludes an entire line of “serious” works by writers like William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, Jorge Luis Borges, Angela Carter, Gabriel García Márquez and so many others — including, yes, William T. Vollmann. Really? Speaking of survivors, and despite such gratuitous attacks, fabulism remains a most vital form.”
“You cannot argue with a fairy tale,” writes Katy Waldman in Slate, in a lovely review of the “hauntingly strange fairy tale collection” How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales. She continues, “Adulthood does not lack for capricious brutality and loss. What it does lack, for the most part, is animate toys jumping out of windows.” (Yes, dolls defenestrate in Kate’s new collection.) Thank you Slate!