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 Michelene Wandor

Website: MWandor.co.uk

In addition to being a short-story writer, Michelene Wandor is a poet, playwright, and musician. Her adaptation of The Belle of Amherst received and International Emmy and her dramatization of The Wandering Jew was performed at London's National Theatre. She also teaches writing workshops on fiction, poetry, and drama.
Short Story Collections

False Relations
Five Leaves Publications, 2004

Reviewed by M Bobowski

Guests in the Body
Virago, 1986

 Interview with  Michelene Wandor

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Michelene Wandor: Very difficult to say exactly: probably the stories accumulated over 2-3 years.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

MW: Not consciously. But, of course, I was amassing stories with the possibility of getting them published once I had enough for a collection.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

MW: Again, this isn't easy to explain simply. I chose the stories I thought were "complete", and which would combine well. The order gradually fell into place, but there were a couple of carefully considered decisions in relation to the first and last stories. As your reviewer noted, some of my stories have interpolations, and have parallel narratives. People sometimes find these tricky, since realism is still the most familiar mode for most people. I wanted to start with a relatively conventional (!) story, which would read continuously all the way through. So "The Devil in the Cupboard" seemed the best choice, and I love its title. The final story is about an Israeli and a Palestinian, with what is perhaps some difficult content. I wanted to lead up to that, and it kept being put later and later in the order, until it ended up last!

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

MW:  A short piece of fiction, complete, generally between 2000-7000 words.

TSR: Do you have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?

MW:  No.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

MW: Not really. However, I am very interested indeed/keen to know what people's responses are. Not just did they/didn't they like the stories, but what do they think about the content, the meanings, do they have any questions, etc.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

MW: Great. Unfortunately, however, the book is in virtually no bookshops. And yet peopel seem to like it when they read it, or hear me read stories at events. So I hope your review will encourage some interest, and perhaps persuade bookshops to stock it.

TSR: What are you working on now?

MW: Three things: a novel, set in the 17th century; a third creative writing book (I have written two others, 'The Author is Not Dead, merely Somewhere Else: Creative Writing Reconceived', and 'The Art of Writing Drama'), and i am completing a play about the British Mandate in Palestine.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

MWIt may sound odd, but I tend not to read short story collections, much as I love writing them. Perhaps because I love writing them?