July 2023: By Turns Slow and Spontaneous

July 2023: By Turns Slow and Spontaneous

Hello pals!

July has seen me on the mend, slowly coming back to myself. I took a spontaneous trip with my fiancé to Gothenburg in Sweden full of many delights including writing research opportunities at the Maritime Museum and Aquarium and Lisenburg: a theme park established in 1923. Many of these details have made their way into hijinks on the high seas novel and a backburner theme-park horror project!

I'm currently on a wee writing retreat by the Scottish coast with a fellow writer, which has been such a balm. I'm absolutely ecstatic to have completed the second draft of my seafaring novel! These revisions have really helped me hammer it all into shape, especially thanks to my agent's frustratingly astute comments on worldbuilding and the logistics of sailing. It's been a heady combination of steady plodding and flurries of inspiration. I'm going to let this draft breathe, and ride this feeling for a bit before sending it off.

This month's been fairly light on reading as I've replaced much of my reading time with podcasts and video games.

This is My Body, Given For You by Heather Parry
Ever since sharing a stage with Heather, I knew we were swimming in similar strange waters. I keep coming back to many themes in this collection in my own writing – femininity, eroticism, queer parenthood, abject, body horror, monstrosity, religion, and identity. The titular story is a stand-out for me but the whole collection is darkly comedic, visceral, and disgusting in all the best ways.

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
I had been buzzing for this book ever since I heard about it. I was familiar with Kuang's other work, having chaired her for The Poppy War and enjoyed Babel. I read this addictive and pacey literary thriller in a couple of days. If you live for Twitterati drama or devoured Cat Person and Bad Art Friend, check out Kuang's heady cocktail of unlikeable characters, unreliable narrators, and a meta evisceration/dissection of the ugly sides of writing and publishing.

Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval
I read this in a couple of sittings in Sweden and enjoyed the lyrical dream-like quality of the prose, which is translated from Norwegian by Marjam Idriss. The story follows international biology student Jo as she studies abroad and is enveloped into an intoxicating relationship with her flatmate Carral. It's visceral, abject, and perfectly encapsulates toxic queer longing, disconnect, and morbid obsession all in a bite-sized surreal reading experience.

Next month is a busy one as I'm phasing back to work and will be around the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Fringe.

Until August, stay soft, light, slow
Kat x

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