Thursday, 7 January 2010


See - it gets everywhere. My batty writer says...

The next stop on my bloggy tour is with The Short Review blog. Editor Tania Hershman has a great essay in the book - actually, an essay that had one writer (an editor as well) messaging me this week to say it had completely changed her view of flash fiction, and above all, the flash writing process.)
Tania asked me a very good question - would readers, as opposed to writers, find Short Circuit an interesting book? Would it make them read more short stories??? Get thee over there to find out what I said.

And visit The Short Review too! I reviewed a book called The Town of Fiction, by The Atlantis Collective. And there are some terrific collections up this month - so much to read, so little time!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

I HATE that book...

I HATE Short Circuit. It is a snooty, horrible piece of work if you ask me. Well, OK, no one did ask me but I'm saying it anyway.

Its only been around for six weeks, and today, O dreadful day - my batty writer looked at the Amazon statistics for Salt Publishing, and Short Circuit is at NUMBER TWO!!! Out of hundreds of books.

Well. Someone must be mad, that's all I can say. BUY ME!!! I am MUCH better than him!

(I was at Number Three, which isnt baaaaad. But still. Id like to ovetrtake him. Must be a bloke, dont you think?)

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Its not fair...I have a rival!

Well, I dont know. A girl goes to sleep for a few weeks on her shelf and wakes up to find she's got a rival. Huh. My batty writer seems to have another book out there.
I dont like the title - its called Short Circuit. What sort of title is that? And whats more there is just a brain on the cover, a lightbulb and a plant. I ask you. Not a whiff of a pink jumper.
And what's worse, people seem to be buying this monstrosity. Look! It got higher than moi in the Salt bestsellers list before christmas and that is sheer poo.
I'd love to be a fly on the wall when they open the thing though! There isnt a decent story in the whole book. It's all boring old essays by people I've never heard of. About how to write. Codswallop. I can write. I've got a crayon. I didnt need a book with a brain on the cover to show me how.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Salt Publishing bestsellers of all time

Well, I can't tell you how many books Salt Publishing has been midwife to, over the years. A lot.
And it is extraordinary, see that there are a few familiar books in their All-Time Bestseller list, posted this week on their website.

Who Says?

People have been talking about moi and I didn't even know. It's all that batty writer's fault, she never bothered to teach me to READ did she, silly woman. Mind you, I cant say I am surprised. It's all on a silly place that calls itself Amazon, apparently, well who wants to be called after a smelly old river anyway, that's what I want to know. And I wouldn't read it anyway even if I could.
So I dont know what they are saying, but my batty writer seems pleased. Doesn't take much, that's all I can say.
And do you know WHAT?? Not ONE has the decency to remark on my pink jumper. I call that rank ignorance. (Did I spell that right?)

Brave New Writing

The characters in Vanessa Gebbie's stories are perfectively idiosyncratic and developed with sensitivity, bravery and a robust sense of wit. It is no coincidence that Gebbie's craft is at the forefront of a new-wave of literary storytellers. Her work is fine-tuned and Words.. comes as a remarkable debut for a versatile and extraordinarily talented writer.
Melissa Lee Houghton

Exquisite, disturbing, compassionate
This is an exceptional collection of short stories. I am not usually a great short story reader, preferring the immersion one gets with the world of a novel, but there have been a few short story collections recently that have created as much impact as a novel in just one story. This is one of them. 'I Can Squash the King, Tommo' is my favourite - understated yet emotionally devastating. Almost every story made me put the book down to savour the writing and think about the layers that are so skilfully floated under the surface of the story. On second reading I enjoyed them just as much in a different way and suspect I could read them again and again and find new meaning. This is an exceptional achievement. The two other collections I'd recommend are Junot Diaz's 'Drown' and Christopher Coake's 'We're in Trouble.'
Umi Sinha

Loved this collection of short stories, some funny, some tragic, some downright dangerous and all written expertly.
Nik Perring

We read this collection in our book club and found it fascinating - and not all of us are fans of short stories. There was a majority verdict, too: the style and narrative of each story sat perfectly within the format, and the format provided a compulsion to read on. We look forward to Ms Gebbie's next book of short stories!
The content is often centred around loss, providing a springboard for acute observations of human behaviour. Ms Gebbie has created page-turner stories by looking at the minutiae of life from vivid angles, and by dealing deftly with the challenge of beginning, developing and ending a critical episode in the life of each of her protagonists.
V. Down

One of the finest collections available
I have admired Vanessa Gebbie's short stories since she first started to write fiction seriously, and it was no surprise to me when prestigious prizes and awards began to come her way. Many of the stories that won those accolades are included in this collection, and I urge anyone who enjoys good literary fiction to buy this book.
Gebbie has a gift for creating memorable, often quirky characters, and conjuring up the appropriate situation that will bring them out in a multi-layered, memorable story that conveys much more than the words on the page. Her stories can be poignant, funny, all things between but above all they are alive, as only character-based stories can be.
DJM King

Absorbing and thought provoking,
I'm not usually a short story reader but I was lucky enough to meet Vanessa on a recent holiday and so decided to 'take the plunge' and I am so glad I did. As soon as I started to read 'Bones' I could visualise the Jewish cemetery in Prague and have found out that it was indeed that cemetery that was Vanessa's inspiration. I don't know if I have a real favourite among the collection but I thought 'I can squash the King, Tommo' utterly brilliant. I'm looking forward to Vanessa's next collection.
Linda Witts

A Brilliant Storyteller
Intriguing, gripping and poetic stories whose characters live in your mind long after you've finished the book.
Fia Mackenzie

Beautiful, lyrical writing, by turns thoughtful, passionate and funny. I loved it.
My favourite stories would have to be 'Dodie's Gift' and 'Harry's Catch' - they are masterpieces of understanding and compassion, without ever seeming mawkish or overly sentimental.
All of the stories are great, though. I just can't recommend this highly enough.
Lee Williams

Highly recommended
It's just a brilliant collection, from start to finish. It has a number of different moods that intertwine through the course of the book to create a marvellous smorgasbord of stories There are colourful epic tales, steady, mellow meditations, and shorter piquant and mordant interludes.
Ogden Gnash

Magical reading
These are wonderful, insightful stories, the sort that make you want to tread more carefully through life after reading them; stories which enrich and deepen the reading experience. And such range! Humour, history, anger, love and pathos. Everything you could ask for from a short story collection. All beautifully packaged in a slim hardback volume that feels just right in your hands. Writing - and reading - at its very best. Brava, Vanessa!

For lovers of great writing
This book is exactly what a short story collection should be: vivid, varied, moving, lyrical, disturbing, entertaining, thought-provoking, original. Ms Gebbie is award-winning, and reading her stories it is clear why they stood out for the judges. A wonderful read.
Tania Hershman

Bubbling Over With the Good Stuff
Words from a Glass Bubble" by Vanessa Gebbie is a collection of nineteen of her short stories, compiled in a handsome hardback from Salt Publishing. There's no overarching narrative, but although the stories are very different, some themes and images crop up more than once.
Gebbie's talent is to shine a light onto her characters, giving us brief insights into their lives, their hopes, their disappointments, and--most of all--their mistakes, before moving on, leaving us with the hope that the characters too will carry on, make better decisions, have better luck, once the spotlight is removed.
Each story has its own voice, from "Words in a Glass Bubble" itself, where a family tries to come to terms with the loss of their son, to "Smoking Down There", where a child naively recounts her friend's story of how she almost inadvertently saved her baby brother from being disposed of at birth. The fragmentary, butterfly narrative convinces as that of a child. 'But then, if you smoked down there why didn't the hairs catch fire? That's what I wanted to know. But the bucket. Why wash out of a bucket when there were perfectly nice china things?'
Gebbie doesn't shy away from the darker side of life. One story, "Irrigation", goes into great detail--too great detail for this reader--about an enema. In "Dodie's Gift", the central character is left lost and wondering, "...if someone takes something you were going to give them anyway, is that stealing?' Reading this story, it's hard to decide whether to give her a hug or a good shake. Either, you think, might damage her beyond repair.
This story contains an image that recurs--'But there, at the bottom of the hollow, a gull has had a meal, and the sand holds white bone, red bone, skin....' The predator devours, leaves what it doesn't want, and moves on. What's been devoured, abandoned, somehow has to move on, too. Its life now may not be what it envisaged, but it still holds significance.
None of the stories is too long, although it's easy to feel some are too short. The characters live on in our minds and we can't help wondering what will happen next. If they'll come out all right.
This collection is definitely one to savour. Read a story, put it down, think about it, come back--the whole can't be devoured in an afternoon.
D R Moorhouse

Powerful work by Gebbie!
Gebbie is a huge talent. Get in early on this author as this is a name that is soon going to be very well known indeed. People are already starting to talk and the tipping point for success and fame these days is far shorter than it used to be. Her gentle, lyrical voice is a sponge filled with emotional power. With each story I found myself with a knot in my throat and tears seeping down my face. Brilliant work!
Dr Gail Louw

A must for anyone who loves great writing
Vanessa's writing really paints pictures in your imagination, but what raises this above the rest is that they are so (un)usual and arresting. These stories will stay with you long after you've put them down.
Andrew Marshall

Sharp, smart and sad
Vanessa Gebbie has won more prizes for her short stories than you can shake an HB pencil at, and this debut collection shows off the best of them. She tackles tough themes with originality, subtlety and shows a humungous tenderness towards humanity's most vulnerable. Her language is often poetic, calling to mind Dylan Thomas or John Banville.
Really, really worth investigating if you're a fan of original literature.
Mrs Gene Hunt

My batty writer would like them all to know how much she appreciates their lovely words. But secretly, I KNOW they arent as lovely as MINE. So there.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

I am utterly invisible.

This is fun! No one can find me at all, and I am invisible. It's a good game.

It's too late to be sent to Ireland now, well goodie. I didn't want to go anyway. I LIKE Eastbourne. I think I shall go and play on the beach.

Yah boo sucks. It just serves them all right for taking me out of my nice hard covers and putting me in a paper one.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Batty as ever....

My batty writer was very naughty, and telephoned the distributors today. Oooo er. They were OK, and said they didn't know where I was. The lovely Salt Publishing have sent tlots of me and I have got lost. I have arrived, but no one seems to know where I am. They even sent a second lot cos there were some orders stacking.

I have absconded.

That is all very well, but my batty writer has got a lot of stuff lined up, and if I am not there, she will get all upset.

Well poo. I am hiding.

heard of hide n seek?