My short story “Been Fighting Since” won second place in phoebe’s 2018 fiction contest! Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs, selected it.
“Been Fighting Since” is about twins, child soldiers, the old/new city of Berlin and the mysterious liminal state of blackout drinking. But really, it’s about whether it’s ever possible for someone who hasn’t experienced trauma to talk about it with someone who has. Even if she loves him. Especially if she loves him.
Last year, the story was longlisted for the Berlin Writing Prize. Now, it’s got a home online, in phoebe 47.2. Here’s how it starts.
Myriam drinks coffee with the ghost of Joseph’s twin as dusk falls on the Love Parade passing through downtown Berlin in a storm of techno noise. From where they sit, she can hear the amplified relentless bass and the roar of an intoxicated crowd on Strasse des 17. Juni. Earlier, she swallowed one little MDMA with the word “sky” printed on it; she knows that the drug must still be in her system because of what she’s seeing now. She sips her espresso.
Across the table from her, Joseph’s brother swings his legs. He is barefoot, wearing red shorts and a clean white tank-top. His name is Agun and he appears to be about eight years old. According to Joseph, he’s been missing – presumed dead – for two decades.
“Where is he?” Agun asks. His voice is deeper than one might expect, and he speaks English with the same incongruously posh accent that Joseph picked up in provisional schools at the refugee camps of his youth.
“I think he’s with our friends.”
“Joseph can climb higher in the thorn tree than anyone,” Agun tells her. “He always climbs when Baba calls us. Only I will come. It makes me angry.”
Read the rest — and all the other good stuff from the issue — now! For free!
The Writers’ Room of Boston Fellowship named me as Finalist for 2018-2019. At the WROB reading and celebration last month, I got the chance to meet lots of the other Fellows and hear about their exciting projects! (And I ate lots of free cheese! And when I left my notebook and library book at the party, someone brought them down for me. So overall, 10/10.)
I hope to get some work done there in the future.
Check out my bio on their website.
OPOSSUM’s beautifully-designed Fall 2017 issue is now out in print (and vinyl!) and available for sale. The issue includes “The Beard,” my short story about loneliness, culling produce, and the unpredictable repercussions of getting a visible tattoo.
Put it on the turntable and give it a spin.
Gute Nachricht! My short story “Been Fighting Since” was longlisted for the 2017 Berlin Writing Prize.
Though I’m slightly disappointed not to get to hang out in Berlin for a month, I send freundliche Grüßen to the winners.
I heard from a stranger that the Pushcart folks had given my short story about killer killer whales, “Pods,” a Special Mention in the The Pushcart Prize XLI anthology. Turns out the rumors are true — see the photographic evidence provided by my mom! (I’m listed under my old name, which is how the story appeared.)
Thanks to Pinckney Benedict for nominating me, to Fjords Review for printing the story, and to the anthology for including me in such good company!
And RIP Tilikum.
FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED, my debut novel, will be published next year. It’s literary sci-fi/alternate history that explores New York City, immigration issues, and how people deal with loss. (I’ll tag this post with one of my favorite disorienting NYC pictures.)
I’m delighted to be working with Tin House Books to bring this book to readers!
I got married so I changed my name! (Did you know this is a complicated and ridiculous process? It is!)
I don’t mean to confuse anybody. My parents gave me a perfectly good surname, of which I’m fond. I published my first stories as K Brattin, and I won a fellowship as her.
But, personally and professionally, I’m stoked to be K Chess now.
My music-and-obsession story “The Beard” will be published in a future issue of OPOSSUM. They do three music-themed online issues per year, plus a print edition that comes with a 7″ record! Pretty dope.
I’m now represented by Stacia Decker of Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.