The Craft of Writing
Eugen Bacon Talks Craft, Chasing Whispers, and Makes Strides in Literary World
Eugen Bacon is setting the literary world on fire globally with her distinct fiction. Her writing is trailblazing and important as we listen and learn from diverse voices and share their talents. Bacon’s work is seeped in the speculative but defies one genre as it lulls seemlessly between fantasy, science fiction, horror, literary, and the surreal. In fact, her work has been coined with a term of afro-irrealist for which she is a pioneer. In a nutshell, Bacon is a trendsetter for the modern age and readers are identifying with her and praising her innovative work and ingenuity.
At Raw Dog Screaming Press (RDSP), our indie press is pleased to be able to be a part of sharing her work with the world. As we strive to publish the best dark and unclassifiable fiction we can find, Bacon fits right in here.
In a recent article featured in Australian-based magazine, AUREALIS #157, editor and author Phil Nicholls walked with internationally successful writer Eugen Bacon in a discussion on writing short stories, including her RDSP published collection Chasing Whispers, which has been well-received and recently long-listed for the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Award for Best Artwork (artist: Lynne Hansen). Her book Danged Black Thing earned the 2021 Otherwise Award as a ‘sharp collection of Afro-Surrealist work.’
In conversation with Phil in the article, Eugen talked about the types of characters that draw her into a story, about collaborating with other authors, about editing her own and other writers’ stories, as well as sharing about her rough introduction to publication, compared to where she is now.
“Chasing Whispers is a complex collection of stories, so I asked Eugen a few questions about her writing in general, and the collection in particular. In this article, we highlight a few of the techniques Eugen uses to create her distinctive writing style,” wrote Nicholls in AUREALIS.
While speculative fiction—encompassing genres and sub-genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror—is a broad umbrella, Eugen is a ‘genre deviant’ who adopts a loose definition for the genre:
“Speculative fiction means, for me, deviant writing that broadens the horizons of what is ‘norm.” It is writing that imagines and examines possibilities of bending from traditional paradigms of genre fiction and its rules and conventions. It is a different calibre of story that is a question and a response in fiction, expansive in an immeasurable frontier where nothing is a limit,” said Eugen in the conversation.
In the article Nicholls stated that, “the collection challenges the reader in form and content. Eugen adores the short story and plays with the form as she blends African folklore and the modern world. Speculative fiction readers are frequently travellers in the past, present and future. This collection invites us to explore the uncertainties of humanity in these engaging short stories from Eugen.”
He continues to explain to the reader that, “When it comes to writing advice, especially about the craft of writing Chasing Whispers, Eugen has adopted a very ‘big-picture’ approach: ‘It’s about being open and immersive as a writer and a reader. Feeling the text as it flows and shapes itself.’”
Nicholls stated that just as every writer has a personal approach to writing, so too will they have an individual journey to being published. No two routes to publication seem to be the same, yet there are common traits across such journeys. Eugen’s route emphasises the virtues of persistence.
Read Nicholl’s full article in Aurealis #157 to find out more about Eugen’s journey, collaborations, and her Afro-irrealist short stories in Chasing Whispers.
Chasing Whispers, among accolades already mentioned, has also made the 2022 Locus Recommended Reading list (as well as some of her other works from last year, too), which is a list for voting public’s consideration – the poll that decides the winners of the annual Locus Awards. Additionally, it’s made multiple genre lists online as well as Shoreline of Infinity magazine’s best short story collection of the year.
A unique Afro-irrealist collection of black speculative fiction in transformative stories of culture, longing, hybridity, unlimited futures, a collision of worlds and folklore, it casts a gaze at mostly women and children haunted by patriarchy, in stories packed with affection, dread, anguish and hope. The connecting theme is a black protagonist with a deep longing for someone, someplace, something.
The collection is can be found at a good bookstore near you, online avenues including direct from RDSP, your local library, and is now also recently available in audiobook format at Amazon or Audible globally.
RDSP will publish Eugen Bacon again in 2024 with her dark speculative fiction and Afro-Irreal short story collection, A Place Between Waking and Forgetting. It houses transformative stories of culture, diversity, climate change, unlimited futures, collisions of worlds, and mythology. It cases black people stories in bold and evocative text, and at times deeply flawed, but potentially redeemable protagonists in rich hues of blackness and light. Something beautiful and something dark in lyrical language packed with affection, dread, anguish, and hope. You can read more about the collection and her book deal HERE.
Eugen Bacon, Biography –
Eugen Bacon was born in Tanzania and grew up in Kenya. She currently resides in Melbourne, Australia. She is a 2022 World Fantasy Award finalist and was included on the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships. She has also been nominated for the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Award, Australian Shadows Awards, and Nommo Award.
Her books published in 2022 include Mage of Fools (novel – Meerkat Press), Chasing Whispers (collection – RDSP) and An Earnest Blackness(essays – RDSP imprint). Visit her website at eugenbacon.com and find her on Twitter as @EugenBacon.