Our New Voices series publishes fiction by emerging authors exclusively on the magazine’s website. Here we catch up with three more of our writers: What did being a Granta new voice do for their careers? What are they working on now? Any advice for writers starting out?
Well, first and foremost, it helped me find an agent. David Godwin read the extract that appeared on granta.com; it was then a novel in progress. He immediately got in touch with me. He wanted to read the finished novel, and, having read it, he took me on as a client. The novel was a success in India, but hasn’t yet appeared in the UK. It was a great honour – appearing in Granta is something that was a dream from the time that I wanted to be a writer (without quite knowing what one should write about).
I hesitate to talk about what I am working on at the moment because it’s far easier to do the talking about what one is writing than it is to do the writing itself. My memoir about cricket and India – a sort of sequel to my first book – is just out in the UK. I am off next week to the University of Chichester in Sussex as a writer in residence for two months. I hope to be able to figure out over there what exactly I am working on now. I suspect it will be a collection of loosely linked stories about people who live in the same apartment building in Bombay. I am also due to finish a memoir about the perils and pleasures of 21st-century fatherhood. It’s based on a weekly column I do for my newspaper, the Hindustan Times.
There’s no education like reading. And writing. And rewriting. And being patient, and humble, and ambitious and aware of the canonical writers, and learning from them. And being ready to live with the loneliness and agony and self loathing and occasional bursts of joy of writing.
Read Soumya Battacharya‘s story, ‘If I Could Tell You’
Well, I just finished a collection of interconnected short stories that includes ‘Fox Deceived’, so in a way, being published on the Granta website gave me the confidence to go ahead with that project, which I had been contemplating for a while. I’ve also been lucky to win several grants and fellowships over the past couple of years, and I’m sure ‘New Voices’ helped with that.
Mainly I’m writing short stories and essays, but I’ve recently begun research for a novel. I’m also helping to edit Amherst College’s new literary print journal, The Common, which just came out with its first issue this month!
My advice is to read first thing in the morning, before you start writing. Develop good posture at your computer. Use the internet-blocking software, ‘Freedom’.
Read Hannah Gersen’s story, ‘Fox Deceived’
Evan James Roskos
Being a New Voice got me some attention – I was contacted by a couple of agents, and an editor who saw the feature and asked to see more of my work. Considering how hard it is to get an introduction sometimes, this proved to be quite valuable. A couple of short story publications at competitive journals followed my appearance.
I’m working on a novel about parental angst. I became a dad for the first time last year and it has me full of anxiety – so I thought, why not put it to good use? But rather than wallowing in self-analysis, I’m writing about a woman with an older son. After seeing him arrested on TV, she begins to suspect – even hope – that she is not his biological mother. So, she goes on a quest to figure out if it’s her fault he’s such a screw up. Despite the grim nature of some of my other work (including my New Voices piece), this manuscript is designed to be funny. Hopefully I won’t be the only one laughing…
Here in the United States, agents are not interested in short story collections. So, use your stories to become a better writer – experiment, find your voice, master the core elements of storytelling – but don’t expect stories alone to be your ticket to book publication. I have received many positive rejections for a story collection that all ended with, ‘Definitely contact me when you’ve completed a novel.’ Positive rejections are fantastic – you can certainly refer back to the rejection when you DO finish that novel and query the same agent.
Read Evan James Roskos’s story, ‘Conspiracy of Males’
Photograph by Maria Martinez