December 18, 2013

A Stranger in Olondria in the Guardian!

My wife's novel A Stranger in Olondria has been selected by the Guardian as one of the year's best (together with Margaret Atwood, Jeff VanderMeer, Stephen King, and others). I think it would make a nice Christmas present.

August 31, 2013

Making Strange

Seamus Heaney has died. Here's one of my favorite poems:

Making Strange

I stood between them,
the one with his traveled intelligence
and tawny containment,
his speech like the twang of a bowstring,

and another, unshorn and bewildered
in the tubs of his Wellingtons,
smiling at me for help,
faced with this stranger I’d brought him.

Then a cunning middle voice
came out of the field across the road
saying, ‘Be adept and be dialect,
tell of this wind coming past the zinc hut,

call me sweetbriar after the rain
or snowberries cooled in the fog.
But love the cut of this traveled one
and call me also the cornfield of Boaz.

Go beyond what’s reliable
in all that keeps pleading and pleading,
these eyes and puddles and stones,
and recollect how bold you were

when I visited you first
with departures you cannot go back on.’
A chaffinch flicked from an ash and next thing
I found myself driving the stranger

through my own country, adept
at dialect, reciting my pride
in all that I knew, that began to make strange
at the same recitation.

August 30, 2013

Tom Sawyer

Hemingway famously said that all American writing comes from Huckleberry Finn. But Huckleberry Finn comes from Tom Sawyer.

July 25, 2013


I have a new story up at the Center for Mennonite Writing website. It's called "Furlough," and is not my usual fantasyish stuff. This one draws on my childhood growing up in Kenya.

July 4, 2013

The Book on Fire in process

For some reason, I kept every scrap of paper I used while writing The Book on Fire. Before we left Egypt, I took a picture of the stack, then dumped it in the trash.

Here's the first page. As you can imagine, much of my time is spent trying to decipher my handwriting.

May 26, 2013

The Tale of Robin Duck

I have a new story called "The Tale of Robin Duck" up at Interfictions. It's a click-through slideshow, and has lots of pictures!

May 19, 2013

Del Samatar

My brother-in-law, Del Samatar, is a wonderful artist. Check out his website. The image above is from a project he's working on with my wife.

May 12, 2013

African Flavors

My mother, who is a wonderful cook, has put together a cookbook that combines her love of African food with recipes from across the continent. It's a feast for the senses and the mind! It's available from Amazon.

April 12, 2013

A Stranger in Olondria

My wife's gorgeous first novel, A Stranger in Olondria, is now shipping! It's the story of Jevick, the Tea Islander who learns to read, and the ghost who haunts him, and the journey they must make together. It contains great sorrows and great joys, told in the finest prose this side of Angela Carter. You'll love it.

It's available as a paperback, hardcover, and ebook. Sofia also now has a nifty website where you can learn a bit about her and meet all the books she likes.

March 17, 2013

The Book on Fire on Kindle


The Book on Fire is now available as a Kindle ebook. This is the updated version and includes the story "City of Bones."

For those who have other ereaders, Smashwords offers several options. It is also available for Barnes & Noble's Nook.

March 10, 2013

Fahrenheit 451 Cover Design

This is designer Elizabeth Perez's cover for Fahrenheit 451. The spine is a striking surface, and it includes a match.