2015: My Writing Year in Review

This has been the best and wildest year of my writing career (and my life!) thus far. While I’ve been super-busy and very stressed out, there has been quite a lot of wonderful reaping of what has been sewn, which sounds weirdly scary and Biblical but is in this case entirely positive.

Four original stories of mine came out this year: “Transcription of an Eye” in the anthology Watchlist, “Descent” in Nightmare Magazine, “I Bury Myself” in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and “Horror Story” in Granta. Of those four, three of CSkLhdAWEAAgDLxthose stories were solicited; I wrote them along certain thematic lines with the purpose of selling them to the market that asked for them. “Horror Story” was the only published fiction from this year that… how do I phrase this? Emerged naturally? The point is that I was very busy and while I had a lot of ideas for stories, and chipped away at a bunch of them, it was a slower year than usual. Plus, I spent six months in very unproductive book-on-the-market anxiety. (I also wrote another original story that’s currently on the market, and wrote and sold an adaptation of a Giambattista Basile fairy tale, “The Old Women Who Were Skinned,” to the 2016 issue of Fairy Tale Review.)

BASFF-2015That being said, I had a ton of reprints this year. Most notably, my 2014 story “Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead” was selected by Joe Hill to appear in Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015. Two others, “The Husband Stitch” and “Observations About Eggs…” were selected for Year’s Best Weird, Volume 2, edited by Kathe Koja. “The Husband Stitch” was also translated into Chinese for Science Fiction World, and reprinted in The Long List Anthology.

It’s also been a great year for awards, nominations and otherwise. 2015-06-06_1433557657“The Husband Stitch” was nominated for both a Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award, longlisted for the Hugo Award and Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 7, and given a Special Mention for this year’s Pushcart Prize. (Nick Offerman was the Nebula ceremony’s toastmaster, and I got to meet him and write him a weird prophecy, which basically made my year.) “Inventory” took third place in the Million Writers Award and was a finalist for the Calvino Prize. “Observations About Eggs…” was also a finalist for the12182425_10101134215659595_3594191409585030521_o Calvino Prize. “Mothers” took third place for the Franz Kafka Award in Magic Realism. I also managed to secure myself two fellowships/grants this year: the Iowa Writers’ Workshop’s Michener-Copernicus Fellowship, and the SLF Diverse Writers & Diverse Worlds grants.

On the nonfiction front, I’ve done a ton of reviews & essays this year. Among my favorites: “O Adjunct! My Adjunct!” in The New Yorker, which went online while I was flying to Seattle to visit a friend and when I turned on my phone after I landed I had, like, 500 emails in my inbox and got to go on a local NPR affiliate to talk about adjuncting and 2015-03-25_1427310107the whole experience was wild and wonderful. Also “A Girl’s Guide to Sexual Purity” (one of their most-read essays of the year!) and “Unfilmable,” both appeared in LA Review of Books. I was also interviewed for Electric Literature and Al Día, and was written about with thoughtfulness and love at The Butter and LA Review of Books.

I did a lot of events this year, including a signing/panel with Joe Hill at Forbidden Planet in NYC and a2015-11-11_1447220498 Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy reading with Seanan McGuire for New York Review of Science Fiction‘s reading series (you can watch a recording of it here, complete with my tears). I’ll be doing a ton of traveling in the upcoming year as well, with readings/panels/events at AWP, the LSU Delta Mouth Literary Festival, the State Street Reading Series in Media, PA, and a Watchlist event at The Strand in NYC.

I also had my first guest-editing gig this year! Best Human & One of My Favorite Writers in the Universe Sam J. Miller and I co-edited the fall issue of Interfictions. Editing is awesome but unbelievably hard, as I’ve discovered. We’ll be putting together the fiction in the spring issue as well.

HUGEST NEWS OF 2015: After six months of biting my nails, angsting to Val, and uncontrollable weeping, I finally sold my debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, to Ethan Nosowsky at Graywolf. I’m a huge fan of Graywolf, so the fact that my collection is coming out with them is basically one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Ethan is amazing, and I can’t wait to meet the book that emerges from our mutual edits.

PW Announcement (FB)

In non-writing news, Val and I got engaged this year. That means in 2017 I’ll be2015-03-06_1425675438 getting married and my debut book will be coming out. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat. 2016, you better do something impressive, because 2017 is already outshining you.

Re: last year’s resolutions, I’m two for five (oof!). I sold my collection (the redacted resolution) and took on only two good-cause no-pay freelancing projects. I didn’t do as much reading or reviewing as I wanted, and I started two entirely new projects, so Venus Would Freeze is currently languishing unloved in a folder.

In any case, here are my 2016 Writing New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Complete Her Body and Other Parties edits.
  2. Finish draft of [redacted nonfiction project].
  3. Attend at least one full-length residency.
  4. Make headway on [redacted fiction project].
  5. Only take on two good-cause no-pay freelancing projects.
  6. Read at least 3 books per month.

This year has been intense but amazing. 2016, I’m ready for you. Give me all you got.

“Horror Story” in Granta; Interview at Electric Literature

An end-of-October update:CSkLhdAWEAAgDLx

I have a brand-new story up at Granta, just in time for Halloween! You can read “Horror Story” here.

There’s also a wonderful interview with me over at Electric Literature, published last week. There, Rebekah Bergman talks to me about sex, horror, formal constraints, fantasy, gender, and the apocalypse.

Also, speaking of Halloween: I just found out that last year’s Halloween story of mine at Granta (is this a thing now?), “The Husband Stitch,” received a Special Mention in 2016 Pushcart Prize XL: Best of the Small Presses. So exciting!

Happy Halloween, all.

Best American SF&F 2015, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and The Rumpus

Three bits of news!

First, a story of mine (the title of which is currently top-secret!) is going to be in Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, edited by Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams. The lineup in this anthology is sort of unreal; I’m going to in be there alongside Karen Russell, Kelly Link, Sofia Samatar, Nathan Ballingrud, Sam J. Miller, T.C. Boyle, Neil Gaiman… I’m so excited.

Next, I have a new story, “I Bury Myself,” in the newest issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet! You can order a hard- or e-copy at the link. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

Here is what you do when you need to choose the end.
First, find a person who knows your body, and fuck them for three days.
Then, drive to a meadow, where there is so much life.
There, dig a hole long enough and wide enough for your body to fit.
Next, climb in.
Then, wait…

Last, there’s a lovely essay about Angela Carter and the writers she influenced over at The Rumpus, and Claire Burgess takes a minute to talk about my story “The Husband Stitch.” “Like [Angela] Carter before her,” she writes, “Machado combines humor and horror to an evocative and disturbing effect.” Thanks, Claire!

The Shirley Jackson Awards & Love from The Toast

Two bits of wonderful news from yesterday!

First, there was a lovely write-up about my fiction in The Toast/The Butter yesterday: “This Writer’s on Fire: Carmen Maria Machado.”

“Machado tells the stories that are hidden just beneath the stories you think you know. The stories you’ve been waiting for without knowing it…She reveals new shapes, new forms, what’s been hidden right there all along: pain, joy, pleasure, horror.” — Melissa Moorer

Second, my story “The Husband Stitch” was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. The award was established in 2007 for “outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.” I’m a huge Shirley Jackson fan, so I’m really, really honored to have been nominated.

“The Husband Stitch” has been nominated for a Nebula Award!

nebulaHere’s some awesome news that I’ve been sitting on all week: my story “The Husband Stitch,” originally published in Granta, has been nominated for a Nebula Award.

Congrats to all the other nominees, including Rachel Swirsky, Mary Rickert, Richard Bowes, Kai Ashante Wilson, Aliette de Bodard, Matthew Kressel, Usman T. Malik, Sarah Pinsker, Alyssa Wong, and especially my beloved Sam J. Miller, who went to Clarion with me and is delightful and talented and amazing and I am incredibly honored to be next to him on the novelette ballot. I can’t wait to see the results in June!

Franz Kafka Award in Magic Realism & Tor.com mention

A few small updates:

Sabrina Vourvoulias wrote a lovely bit about me (and dozens of other incredible writers) in “Putting the I in Speculative: Looking at U.S. Latino/a Writers and Stories” at Tor.com. Thank you, Sabrina!

Also, I found out this weekend that my story “Mothers” is a finalist (and still in the running) for the Franz Kafka Award in Magic Realism.

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2 Cover & ToC

Editors Michael Kelly and Kathe Koja have just released the complete Table of Contents & the cover for Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2. I’m so excited to be in such good company!

  • YBWF-2“The Atlas of Hell” by Nathan Ballingrud
  • “Wendigo Nights” by Siobhan Carroll
  • “Headache” by Julio Cortázar. English-language translation by Michael Cisco
  • “Loving Armageddon” by Amanda C. Davis
  • “The Earth and Everything Under” by K.M. Ferebee
  • “Nanny Anne and the Christmas Story” by Karen Joy Fowler
  • “The Girls Who Go Below” by Cat Hellisen
  • “Nine” by Kima Jones
  • “Bus Fare” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • “The Air We Breathe Is Stormy, Stormy” by Rich Larson
  • “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado
  • “Observations About Eggs From the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa” by Carmen Maria Machado
  • “Resurrection Points” by Usman T. Malik
  • “Exit Through the Gift Shop” by Nick Mamatas
  • “So Sharp That Blood Must Flow” by Sunny Moraine
  • “A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide” by Sarah Pinsker
  • “Migration” by Karin Tidbeck
  • “Hidden in the Alphabet” by Charles Wilkinson
  • “A Cup of Salt Tears” by Isabel Yap