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CLMP Publishers Literature & Fiction - Short Stories & Anthologies

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The Anchored World: Flash Fairy Tales and Folklore

ISBN: 9781941628270
Binding: Paperback
Author: Jasmine Sawers
Pages: 88
Trim: 5.75 x 8.25 inches

Finalist for the 2023 PEN America/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection

A goat begins to grow inside a human heart. The rightful king is born a hard, smooth seashell. Supernovas burst across skin like ink in water. Heartbreak transforms maidens into witches, girls into goblins, mothers into monsters. Hunger drives lovers and daughters, soldiers and ghosts, to unhinge their jaws and swallow the world. Drawing inspiration from a mixed heritage and from history—from the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen to the ancient legends of Thailand, from the suburbs of Buffalo, New York to the endless horizon of the American Midwest—Jasmine Sawers invents a hybrid folklore for liminal characters who live between the lines and within the creases of race and language, culture and gender, sexuality and ability. The Anchored World: Flash Fairy Tales and Folklore is equal parts love letter to the old tales and indictment of their shortcomings, offering a new mythology to reflect the many faces and voices of the twenty-first century.


Jasmine Sawers is a Kundiman fellow and Indiana University MFA alum whose work has appeared in such journals as Foglifter, AAWW's The Margins, SmokeLong Quarterly, and more. Their fiction has won the Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Contest and the NANO Prize, and has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and the Pushcart Prize. Sawers is proud to serve as an associate fiction editor for Fairy Tale Review. Originally from Buffalo, Sawers now teaches creative writing and pets dogs outside of St. Louis.


"Contrary to common usage across the globe, the fairy tale world is a dangerous place to be. There is a power in Jasmine Sawers's stories, an essence. They dazzle and cut, like the shards of a broken mirror. Inside these pages, you'll find the beating heart of the fairy tale." - Karen Joy Fowler, author of Booth

"In this slender book you'll find stories small as pills—and in each pill a stimulant, a hallucinogen, a vitamin. Jasmine Sawers is a practitioner of fine narrative pharmacology." - Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

"Reading Jasmine Sawers's The Anchored World, I became a tree, like many of the magical flora described in this book, rooted in the rich soil of these tales, nourished by this collision of song and story and criticism of a world that gives little but takes a bunch. I became immovable—reseeing (redreaming) familiar narratives with familiar characters cast in new lights and shrouded in new shadows. What is awe inspiring about The Anchored World was not just the beautiful stretches of Sawers's imagination, not just the poetic precision of their use of language, but the book's tender mix of stories inspired by a variety of countries and cultures, challenging the tyranny of normality, and creating—really creating—a literature that brings all voices into the fold, a truly inclusive form of literature." - Ira Sukrungruang, author of This Jade World

"A delicate, artfully arranged collection of very short fictions exploring the overlap between fairy tales and Sawers's Thai heritage. [...] The collection brings to mind a bowl full of colorful, glinting objects: seashells, fruit seeds and flower petals mixed among mirror shards and needles. The 'flash' in the subtitle refers to the pieces' formal brevity, but they also often have the knifing dazzle of bright light against the eyes. Some stories ('Still Life With Conch Shell,' 'Recipe for Constellations,' 'Mango Son Theen') are written conventionally; others are numbered lists or focused fragments gesturing at something bigger. Many read like poems intended for performance, or recall enigmatic postage stamps hinting at both a letter's origins and destination. Sawers's autobiographical author's note ought to be read as an integral part of the whole, necessary to its effect. Rose Metal Press describes itself as an independent 'publisher of hybrid genres,' and 'The Anchored World'—like Maria Romasco Moore's 'Ghostographs' and Sofia and Del Samatar's 'Monster Portraits' before it—is a fine expression of that mission, mixing memoir and fiction, poetry and prose, probing the boundaries between modes." - Amal El-Mohtar in The New York Times Book Review