End of year round-up.
I started 2021 with an essay about colonialism and hedgehogs, published in The Clearing: https://www.littletoller.co.uk/the-clearing/on-entering-the-wrong-carriage-by-rachel-j-fenton/
'Everywhere is Now', my graphic poem about war, was picked up by Word City Monthly after I posted it on my blog. https://snowlikethought.blogspot.com/2021/01/everywhere-is-now.html https://miombopublishing.org/2021/02/09/everywhere-is-now-a-graphic-story-by-rachel-j-fenton-rae-joyce-wordcity-monthly-february-2021-issue6/
I reviewed Nigel Pantling's It's Not Personal (Smith | Doorstop, 2020) over on Everybody's Reviewing.
My poem ‘Dregs' was published in Neologism Poetry (technically their December issue but I didn’t see it until January): https://www.neologismpoetry.com/december-2020/?fbclid=IwAR1QB6Ttx9WpmsnR6vnJrvksPkzDMCA0Bit4BeY9NjxejkrzpzPkhVy3Rog
My story ‘We Are Not Victorians’ was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Competition and included in their anthology.
My poem ‘Miscarriage’ was published in Writing in a Woman’s Voice.
A selection of my poems made the shortlist out of over a thousand entries in the Disquiet Literary Contest: https://snowlikethought.blogspot.com/2021/03/disquiet.html
My review of Becky Manawatu’s novel Auē was published in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/apr/28/it-was-so-gripping-i-read-it-in-two-sittings-11-books-to-pull-you-out-of-a-reading-rut?fbclid=IwAR1Cc0EZ6RgZQ1FPXPNJm7_YsbEuv7bTmyWabSTW0s8sm4os1oal4htXWsw
Between the Flags, my first foray in YA novel writing (and the sequel to Some Things the English which was longlisted in the inaugural Michael Gifkins Prize https://authors.org.nz/three-talented-kiwis-shortlisted-for-michael-gifkins-prize/ and went on to be shortlisted for the Cinnamon Press Debut Novel Prize and placed second in the Dundee International Book Prize) made it to the longlist of 12 out of over a hundred entries in the Michael Gifkins Unpublished Novel Competition https://snowlikethought.blogspot.com/2021/05/ya-listing.html.
My debut poetry collection Beerstorming with Charlotte Bronte in New York was published by The Ethel Press: https://www.ethelzine.com/shop/beerstorming-with-charlotte-bront-in-new-york-by-rachel-j-fenton
Nuala O’ Connor – author of acclaimed novel NORA – interviewed me about my debut poetry collection Beerstorming with Charlotte Bronte in New York. https://nualaoconnor.com/writers-at-work-rachel-j-fenton-interview/
Playwright and lesbian feminist activist Carolyn Gage interviewed me about Beerstorming with Charlotte Bronte in New York: https://carolyngage.weebly.com/blog/rachel-j-fenton-on-the-trail-of-charlotte-brontes-best-friend?fbclid=IwAR2xCBm8QMfBH2moAcUHLP9dZo13_KElNDFbCE_UHvrx0rCBc24FJbgkYxQ
And novelist and publisher Sylvia Petter penned this creative response to Beerstorming with Charlotte Bronte in New York: https://www.sylviapetter.com/2021/06/08/on-reading-rachel-fentons-beerstorming-with-charlotte-bronte-in-new-york/?fbclid=IwAR015GB722DWsiuTPHRbB06eFwiGTqwZRTb_biGMYLf0lIbs_gTwkXoGCRI
Beerstorming also got a mention on the University of Leicester blog: https://creativewritingatleicester.blogspot.com/2021/06/rachel-j-fenton-beerstorming-with.html?fbclid=IwAR3QKkCDL722J4xiA883NWSrzJbxlYSJnNxvRyvu535NJiZT3ilImr9RLAI
I was invited to give a talk bout Mary Taylor, at the Hampden Community Library, and was scheduled to talk at the Oamaru Public Library https://culturewaitaki.org.nz/waitaki-district-libraries/event/cancelled-rachel-j-fenton-biography-red-how-mary-taylor%E2%80%99s-blankets, and the Victorian Literature Festival, but these talks were unfortunately cancelled due to Covid restrictions.
I was interviewed three times, by the Oamaru Mail and Otago Daily Times. https://www.oamarumail.co.nz/community/writer-overcomes-tyranny-of-distance/
And in July I was in the shortlist of seven out of hundreds of entries into the Text Publishing Prize for my debut YA novel Between the Flags.
I reviewed Denise O’ Hagan’s poetry collection The Beating Heart: https://snowlikethought.blogspot.com/2021/08/the-beating-heart.html
Beerstorming was given a brilliant review by Emma Lee: https://emmalee1.wordpress.com/2021/09/29/beerstorming-with-charlotte-bronte-in-new-york-rachel-j-fenton-ethel-zine-and-micro-press-book-review/?fbclid=IwAR2RlCd2nHHdT7axGYifBxSLmJ6v1mczOMGAW6wjqqXAKu0ad_5JGkY-ogY
And my graphic memoir ‘Dance the Night Away’ was published in Overground Underground: https://overgroundunderground.co.uk/issues?fbclid=IwAR37AEn1wdT5hO-VmAL8fZAnNYXmOeciMZ06F5WdaKkX3cCi_DeAJBP4SU0
I also did the cover illustration for Robert Sullivan’s poetry collection Tūnui/Comet.
In October I took over as Curator at Janet Frame House: https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/north-otago/janet-frame-house-curator-moving?fbclid=IwAR3nUBd2mg-eUzlZE8XE9vA4ZrToVU--db-MDZsVc-kNajkfAnc4_QQHn7k
I taught zine-making workshops at the Forrester Gallery in Oamaru and judged the subsequent competition. https://culturewaitaki.org.nz/forrester-gallery/event/zine-workshops-rachel-fenton
I gave the Subhi Tresa Sebastian Memorial Lecture at Sacred Heart College, Kochi, India. https://twitter.com/RaeJFenton/status/1462875838559371264
And here we are in December and I’m mentoring a third year undergrad student for the Hallam Collective at Sheffield Hallam University – more on this soon!
I had a few other things published here and there and I’ve also been working on a novel and a collection of poetry, and I’m pleased to announce that my graphic biography of Mary Taylor, Betweenity, is forthcoming from Mary Egan Publishing.
It’s been a busy year and it’s also been a personally very challenging year. As ever, my work has given me something to focus on and pulled me through, as has reading the work of others. I wish you all much creativity and a happy New Year. Onward and upwards.
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