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Meet the longlist: Alecia McKenzie, author of 'Trees'

Between now and the shortlist announcement on Sunday 28th July we will be putting the spotlight on each of 2019's longlisted authors in turn.

Today's author is Alecia McKenzie, author of 'Trees' a story about the possibility of new beginnings.

What inspired you to write the story? Is it drawn from personal experience?

I was inspired to write the story after spending time with a sculptor. Yes, it is partly drawn from personal experience surviving storms.

How does writing short stories differ from writing full-length fiction, and what do you enjoy about writing in the genre?

Every word counts in a short story, and the writer has to engage the reader quite quickly, as opposed to full-length fiction where there’s more time to develop plot and character. I enjoy the genre because it gives me the opportunity to highlight voice, character and form.

How do you write? Longhand or typed? Why does your chosen method work for you?

I usually start the story in longhand before continuing on the computer. This method works for me because the beginning of the story is important, and I can capture that better by writing it out.

Which short story collection by another author would you recommend?

I’ve enjoyed many collections of short stories by diverse authors. At the moment I would recommend “The Thing Around Your Neck” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

What’s your favourite short story of all time? Who would you cast to read it?

I do not have a favourite short story of all time. But Haruki Murakami’s stories “Lederhosen” and “The Second Bakery Attack” have stayed with me since I read them some years ago. I would like to hear the author reading them.

Who would you cast to read the story you have entered?

Writer and entertainer Louise Bennett, if she were still here. I also like to read my own stories.

What are you reading now?

I’m re-reading “Another Brooklyn” by Jacqueline Woodson.

TREES

'I want to think it is over now, but I know the weather just playing with us. The downpour start again before I can say “where mi umbrella”, and the wind making the trees bend left, right, centre. I feel sorry for them. Standing proud one minute, as if them going be there forever, and the next swaying and shaking like them have no will at all.

Nothing to do but wait it out. Three days cooped up in the house. The first day I sit at the machine and work on the two dress that I making for Miss Della. She need them for when she go travelling next month, she say. First she going to New York to see her son Stephen and then after that is big-big trip because Stephen taking her to France. To Paris. What a excitement. She ask me if I can take care of the house and the five dog-dem while she gone, and I say, of course, no problem'....


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