You hear a fair bit about experimental poetry on these virtual pages, but perhaps a little less so about experimental prose. So now’s your chance, as Joanna Walsh has a new book out. Last year’s Seed was a constraint-driven experimental digital novella inspired by Balenstrini’s Tristano, Cortázar’s Hopscotch and Perec’s Life a User’s Manual, and, says, Walsh “the craziest thing I’ve ever made”. Which is a good start.
Her latest publication is Break.up: A Novel in Essays, out on Semiotext(e), and with this event its official launch. As the story’s narrator crosses Europe, she both runs from and pursues a lover via emails, texts and PMs, creating a dream-like, almost exclusively online affair, throwing up questions about connection and communication.
This is Joanna’s second novel – Hotel came out in 2015 on Bloomsbury – and she is also a prolific short story writer, with two collections published by Sheffield-based Northern Fiction Alliance indie house And Other Stories: Vertigo (2016) and Worlds From The Word’s End (2017). The title story of the latter found its way into the rather very good Best British Short Stories 2015 anthology (alongside the likes of Man Booker shortlistee Alison Moore and national treasure Hilary Mantel, no less), while another piece of her short fiction, Femme Maison, from her now out-of-print collection Fractals: Short Stories (3:AM Press), was included in Salt’s Best British Short Stories 2014.
Walsh’s work has been published by Granta, The London Review of Books, The White Review and elsewhere, and she’s a contributing editor at 3:AM Magazine. She’s also one of this term’s Centre for New Writing’s writers in residence, or Burgess Fellows, as they’re now known (the other being Kayo Chingonyi), but somehow she’s managed to find time to chat about her work to Dr Kaye Mitchell of the University of Manchester. Sounds as if they’ll have plenty to cover!