Issue #131 of The New Quarterly has just hit the shelves and has been shipped out to subscribers. The theme for this issue is War: An Uphill Battle, and there are some excellent works of fiction in there that relate to that topic, as well as some fine poetry and essays.
The story I got in there is called Spread low on the fields, and it is about a man coming back to his hometown to bury his father, who was killed under rather unusual circumstances in a nursing home. I won’t give it away too much, for those of you that have the gumption to read the story, but it gets into violent family histories and new battle lines that are drawn as a result of certain present-day deeds. It also has a bunch of drinking and cussing, because consistency is goddamn important.
Other than this story, I’m pretty damn excited to be sharing these pages with Tamas Dobozy, an incredible short story writer and the headliner of this issue. Justly so. A couple years back during the Journey Prize events of 2012, I was paired up with Tamas for a National Post interview where we talked about the craft of writing and a couple of other things. The folks at the Writers’ Trust who brokered this match (the relatively patient Becky Toyne and Elizabeth Cameron) got roughly 12548 more words of email back and forth than they asked for, with me and Tamas shooting the shit about writing and whatever else came up. In any case, he was one of the first writers that gave me the time of day and supported my writing since I started making some inroads with my work, and I’m honoured to be in the same journal. Back in those days I didn’t know anybody and sure as hell nobody ever heard of me. A lot has gone down since then, and this brings it full-circle to some degree. Anyway, after you read Tamas’ story in TNQ 131, go out and get his prize-winning collection Siege 13, if you haven’t read it already. If it doesn’t blow your mind you probably should just go take a nap.
So, do yourself a favour and grab a copy of The New Quarterly, Issue 131, and get some of this work rattling around your brainpan. Also, there is a little feature on the site, called Who’s Reading What, where a number of the authors in this issue talk about what they’re reading, or re-reading in my case, because I don’t like new things. Check it out and see what writers get into while they write stuff.
Massive thanks again to Pamela Mulloy, and all TNQ staff. Pamela gave one of my very long stories a shot last year, and worked with it pretty extensively to get it sorted out, and that is not the usual deal, as many writers will tell you. That story, Hunted by Coyotes, came out in TNQ 129, just two issues back, and this new story got a real quick turnaround to show up later in the same year. Probably it is safe to say that TNQ gets a look at the vast majority of Hardcastle short stories that get wrote going forward.
Both of the TNQ stories are going to be in my short story collection, Debris, coming out next year with Biblioasis, and by the looks of it they will be the only journal to repeat in that book. Hell, there is time yet before the books comes out, so maybe I’ll write and submit something magical soon and we can go for the threepeat. It’s worth giving it a go.
I still have work forthcoming in Joyland, probably this summer also, and a story in The Fiddlehead that does not have a release date yet. Also, Old Man Marchuk, from EVENT Issue 42/3, will be in Best Canadian Stories, curated at Oberon Press by John Metcalf, my editor at Biblioasis. Finally, the title story from my collection, Debris, will be published in Shenandoah this fall. Keep an eye out for all that. There is also a secret thing that I can’t tell you about. But I’ll drop it when I can.