Twelve Days of Giving Reason Four: Anna Saikin and our Monthly Reviews
NANO Fiction: Tell our readers a little about yourself. What do you like to read? And Write?
Anna Saikin: It varies! My “day job” as a graduate student means that I spend a large amount of time thinking and writing about British Romantic writers—I recommend Frances Burney’s novels, letters, and diaries for Jane Austen lovers who crave more. I’m also a huge fan of the gothic novel (The Toast has a list of some for those interested) Favorite contemporary writers include Lauren Groff, Dorianne Laux, Sheri Holman, and Katherine Howe, to name just a few.
When I’m not working on my dissertation or book reviews, I write historical novels, short stories, and poetry. A longer piece of flash was recently published at Vinyl Poetry.
NF: What got you interested in flash fiction?
AS: Flash fiction in the 21st century functions a lot like the early novel did in the 18th century. It’s a wonderfully flexible genre that allows writers to experiment with style and function to produce inventive works that traditional forms such as short stories and poetry can’t replicate. It becomes a meeting ground where novelists, poets, and nonfiction writers can mingle—like a cocktail hour at the most interesting dinner party you’ve ever attended.
NF: Which reviewers do you read? What kind of books will you be reviewing for NANO?
AS: Rather than list individual reviewers, I’ll highlight some venues that I think do great work: SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, the academic journal where I was a copyeditor for several years, publishes an omnibus review in each issue of the books published in a given field over the past year and usually provides an entertaining insiders glimpse at the world of academic criticism. I love Pleiades book review section for highlighting small presses, and my TBR list always grows after I read Tin House‘s “Lost and Found” section.
Here at NANO Fiction, I hope we can review books, chapbooks, and broadsides by writers who are at the cutting edge of flash fiction—reinventing and remixing words and text to create beautiful and sharp, strobe-light stories. And while the printed word will always be near and dear to my Luddite heart, I hope we can also review writers who are using multimodal platforms (apps, blogs, zines, who knows!) to create new narrative forms.
NF: How can readers send you proposals for reviews?
AS: I welcome reviewers or proposals for reviews at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m also open to informal pitches on Twitter: @AnnaSaikin.
NF: Why should people donate to NANO?
AS: I could say to support artists and our literary community, but you’ve probably heard that already. Instead, people should subscribe for stories that begin like this: “I ate an entire terrycloth bath towel. Are you going to jump and raise your hand in the air and say, Oh me too! Me too!?” (“Corner,” Jessica Richardson, 7.1). Or: “Sex for her as a teenager is like a trip to the eye doctor.” (“No Talking,” Harry Leeds, 5.2). Where else can you find stories like Lay’s potato chips, salty and crisp, with enough feel-good fat to keep you coming back for more?