10 March 2012

Trailers of the City #2

Second in an occasional series publicising the forthcoming Tales of the City anthology -- although yes, I have to admit I haven't posted anything here since the last one.
Elizabeth Evershed is a freelance writer based in London. Since graduating from Durham University in 2009 with a PhD in late medieval and early Renaissance literature, she has worked in various capacities as a tutor and researcher, proofreader and copy-editor, and freelance consultant on plain English in the public sector. She is a regular contributor to Literature Online, where she has written critical biographies of a wide range of science fiction and fantasy authors from JRR Tolkien to China MiĆ©ville. The world of the City has provided her with a rare opportunity to combine science fiction, quasi-historical and campus fiction in ‘The Socratic Problem’, as well as have some fun sending up famous philosophers. Elizabeth writes comic literary fiction in her spare time and has just completed her first novel.
I've known Liz for a while: she was one of the founder members of a writers' group called Subway to which I belonged in the early noughties. (The group produced an anthology, Emerge, which included 'Scapegoat', my second published piece of fiction.)

Though Subway was a product of the internet era, we occasionally met in person for readings, workshops and social events, and I knew from these that Liz was a gifted, witty and highly intelligent writer. When pondering which authors I might bring in as contributors from outside Obverse Books' usual talent pool, Liz was one of those at the top of my list. I was delighted when she said yes, and I very much hope it won't be the last work she does for Obverse.

'The Socratic Problem' is, as I expected, a very clever and funny piece. It's a campus story, dealing with academic rivalries and clashes of ideas as the City's University of the Seven Ages appoints a historical celebrity as its Visiting Lecturer. Here's the first sentence:
     No doubt about it: Inigo Faber was having a dog of an afterlife, and, as dog days went, this was an uncommonly hairy one.
To read the rest of the story, order Tales of the City from Obverse Books.

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