In an effort to broaden my network of fellow contemporary writers, I have invested more time lately in reading & reviewing other independent authors. My goal is to discover and “collect” my personal favorite authors whose voice and talent rival those in the mainstream. Of the dozens I’ve come across, here is my shortlist of the best & brightest literary artists peddling their wordy wares today.
Sylvia McKenzie (?)
My jaw dropped when I read this somewhat secretive author’s The Pugilist.
I cannot compliment its form, style, and language enough. Come to find out, the author has written dozens of books, some under this pseudonym, some under others, and “Sylvia McKenzie” has collected almost zero book reviews, which is an odd find. I am anxious to read more of her repertoire and work out in my mind the kind of person and artist she is.
Jaq Hazell (London, England)
Although I have not yet read her more acclaimed I Came to Find a Girl
, I did thoroughly enjoy her short story collection London Tsunami.
Her stories convey a very modern sense of desperate struggle against ordinary life, perhaps epitomized by the story Stuff
. If anything negative can possibly be said of her stories, perhaps some are simply too short – and that’s a compliment.
Dan Buri (Portland, Oregon)
I am very pleased to have gotten in on the “ground floor” of this author’s brand, being among the first to read and critique his first book, Pieces Like Pottery.
When read as a collection, it stands out for its emotionally intelligent treatment of ordinary people facing difficult real-life situations. But I must commend him for his form. It can be read as a collection of connected
pieces, with very subtly overlapping characters and references the astute reader will be thrilled to hunt down.
David Hull (Toronto, Canada)
I read David’s wonderful novella, The Man Who Remembered the Moon
and was sold by its eerie charm, originality, and plain, compelling language. The book jolts you into a parallel world in which every single aspect is exactly the same except for one surgically excised omission: Earth has no moon, and nobody you talk to knows what you’re talking about. Would this existentially disturbing change drive you crazy?
Think you have what it takes to make this list? Submit your short story or collection here.