Our British Council International Writer in Residence programme is now in its third groundbreaking year. After an arduous selection process sifting through many fascinating and worthy applications, we zoned in on Helen Klonaris, who we are thrilled to welcome to Small Wonder.
Helen Klonaris is a Bahamian writer, performer, and teacher who lives between the Bay
Area, California and Nassau, Bahamas. As a human rights activist, she co-founded several organisations including The Rainbow Alliance of the Bahamas, and Woman Speak: A Journal for Caribbean Women’s Literature and Art, among others. Her work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies and her short story ‘Cowboy’ was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Helen is the co-editor with Amir Rabiyah of the anthology Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices, and her debut collection of short stories, If I Had the Wings, has just been published.
Helen says: “I was quite emotional when I found out I had been selected for the British Council’s Writer in Residence at Small Wonder. I felt seen and valued as a writer. I love the attention Small Wonder gives to the short story and I’m looking forward to being
in the thick of the energy of writers passionate about the form and their craft. I’m an islander, and I like to think of short stories as small places where the possibilities for
transformation are potent. I’m excited to experience that potency at Small Wonder, to partake of it, to be inspired to experiment and to write new stories from it. These times need our stories, I think. And the Small Wonder Short Story Festival is an incredible
convergence of some of the world’s most captivating storytellers. I’m thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to experience Small Wonder, its writers, and the magic of Charleston!”
Helen will be attending all events, responding to the festival in writing, and appearing in Welcome to the Caribbean on Saturday 30 September. Please give her a warm welcome.
This opportunity had been made possible through a partnership between Small Wonder and the British Council.
Born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, Kagiso Lesego Molope moved to Canada in 1997 to study. She has written three novels for young adults, published by OUP SA: Dancing in the Dust, The Mending Season, which is now included on the national school curriculum in South Africa, and This Book Betrays My Brother, which won the 2014 Percy Fitzpatrick Prize, awarded by the English Academy of Southern Africa. Kagiso will be attending all events at Small Wonder, meeting with our authors and responding creatively to the festival. On learning she had been awarded the residency, Kagiso said: “The most exciting part of this residency is spending time with other writers. Writing can be a very isolating profession, so I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to get out and connect with authors and improve my short story writing skills. I’ve written novels but I’ve been more intimidated by my short stories, so this is a chance for me to take them out and work on them in a supportive environment.”
Read Dust-and-No-Dahlias – based on Kagiso’s experience at Small Wonder
Read Kagiso’s blog
“It’s the first time I’ll be at a festival dedicated solely to the short story, my absolute favourite form. I’m devoted to Alice Munro’s work above all, but I’ll just as happily read and reread Chekov in translation or Carver or Welty. So it’s a thrill to know I’ll be completely immersed in short stories and short story writers for a long weekend. If I’m not too overawed, I’m gonna have me the time of my life. Then there’s Charleston House and its ghosts to investigate. I’m particularly interested in Vanessa Bell’s daughter, Angelica Garnett, and her bittersweet relationship with the house and its history.”
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