Reading Series

In celebration of the fourth year of the Literary Taxidermy Writing Competition, we're pleased to present a series of readings by some of the remarkable literary taxidermists who have particiated in our competition. It's a great way to visit (or re-visit!) some of the most-exciting stories and poems from all seven anthologies of literary taxidermy from Regulus Press. You'll get to hear each story (or poem) in its entirety, and learn a little bit about how the piece came to be written. We'll be adding new stories and poems every few weeks throughout the new year—so check back often. Big THANK YOU to all our writers who chose to participate and share their live readings. We loved this opportunity to meet you virtually, especially during these pandemic years, and we're certain all your fellow taxidermists will enjoy meeting you as well. (If you'd like to know in advance when the next recordings will appear, subscribe to the Literary Taxidermy Mailing List. It's the easiest way to get updates.)

NEW Khariya Ali — "A Songbird’s Silence"
NEW Julia Jordan — "The Salvation of 1-2-4"
Josephine Greenland — "Compass of the Winds"
Amanda le Bas de Plumetot — "Cornucopia"
Thomas Baldwin — "The Crystal Tower"
Cuifen Chen — "Sunshade, Starlight"
Stephen Yolland — "The Hunt"

12/9/21

Cuifen Chen — “Sunshade, Starlight”

Cuifen Chen is working towards her MA in Creative Writing in Singapore, but has spent many years abroad in the UK and Australia. Her poetry has appeared in the Southeast Asian Review of English, and in 2018 she was the first prize winner of the UK’s Troubadour International Poetry Prize. “Sunshade, Starlight” was her first published story, and the winner of the 2019 Literary Taxidermy Writing Competition. We loved the story’s setting, the tension between the characters, and of course the idea of magical papercraft.

Cuifen Chen's story appears in PLEASURE TO BURN, the 2019 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. The first line of the novel is "It was a pleasure to burn." The last line is "When we reach the city." What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Cuifen Chen imagined:

She says: “It was Qing Ming season when I discovered the Literary Taxidermy competition. Qing Ming is when we remember ancestors by visiting the temple and burning paper offerings, so when I saw the words It was a pleasure to burn, that was what came to me immediately. A girl in a temple, burning a paper offering. Who she was, and why she was doing that, took more than a month to get onto paper, but that opening image was vivid from the start.” Back to top.


Stephen Yolland — “The Hunt”

Stephen "Yolly" Yolland is a writer and company director in Victoria, Australia. He has an enduring love of language, a strong social bent, and a tragic addiction to the Southampton Football Club—tragic since they play on the other side of the world. He was recently a finalist for the Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize of 2019, and has a published volume of poetry called Read Me.

Stephen Yolland's story appears in PLEASURE TO BURN, the 2019 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. The first line of the novel is "It was a pleasure to burn." The last line is "When we reach the city." What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Stephen Yolland imagined:

He says: “I was instantly intrigued by the idea and discipline of literary taxidermy, and for any Australian, burn always means the bush. On the driest continent on the planet, bushfire is integral to our life. From there, the opportunity to contrast two utterly different cultures, as well as reflect a real, historic incident, was simply too tempting to resist.” Back to top.

12/30/21

Josephine Greenland — “Compass of the Winds”

Josephine Greenland is a Swedish English teacher living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her debut novel Embers was started during her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham, and will be published in early 2021. She plays violin, enjoys running and hiking in the great outdoors, is obsessed with herbal tea, and has a strong affiliation with black cats.

Josephine Greenland's story appears in 34 STORIES, the 2020 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World. The first line of the novel is "A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories." The last line is "South-west, south-south-west, south, south-east, east...." What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Josephine Greenland imagined:

She says: “My story was inspired by the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh in 2013 and the real case of a young girl who survived in the ruins for seventeen days. I spent hours reading articles and watching interviews about the event to make my retelling as authentic as possible, and to let the voice of the girl come through strongly in my narrator.” Back to top.


Amanda le Bas de Plumetot — “Cornucopia”

Amanda le Bas de Plumetot says she is “just a lady who sells popcorn in a cinema” in Melbourne, Australia. But we think she underestimates her success as a writer. Her work can be found in Best Australian Stories 2006 and the short-story collection Briefs. Her winning story for the 2020 literary taxidermy competition offers a unique take on Huxley’s first and last lines. The alien world she conjures is simultaneously primitive, futuristic, and surreal; and we loved the Joycean quality of her language.

Amanda le Bas de Plumetot's story appears in 34 STORIES, the 2020 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World. The first line of the novel is "A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories." The last line is "South-west, south-south-west, south, south-east, east...." What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Amanda le Bas de Plumetot imagined:

She says: “I’m a granny that works in a cinema so I’ve had a lot of spare time during lockdown. During a recent writing camp I wondered ‘what do monsters do with the children they steal?’ My friends thought the answer was obvious: sexual enslavement or cannibalism. But I thought there might be a different possibility....” Back to top.


Thomas Baldwin — “The Crystal Tower”

Thomas Baldwin is a journalist in Dunfermline, Scotland. He is married with three children, and most days commutes fifteen miles to work—by bike! “The Crystal Tower” is his first published short story.

Thomas Baldwin's story appears in 34 STORIES, the 2020 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World. The first line of the novel is "A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories." The last line is "South-west, south-south-west, south, south-east, east...." What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Thomas Baldwin imagined:

He says: “I’d recently read Brave New World when I came across the Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition. Shortly thereafter, this story arrived in my head, more-or-less fully-formed and, even more miraculously, the right length. The world of the story is obviously influenced by totalitarian regimes, but in the West we don’t need to look that far for brutally-exploited workers, pointlessly-grandiose projects, and leaders who are interested only in personal glory. I’d like to dedicate this story to my grandfather, Stan Baldwin, who passed away shortly before it was written.” Back to top.

1/20/22

Khariya Ali — “A Songbird’s Silence”

Khariya Ali is a paralegal living in London, in the UK. “A Songbird’s Silence” is her first published short story.

Khariya Ali's story appears in 124 BELOVED, the 2020 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Toni Morrison's novel Beloved. The first line of the novel is "124 was spiteful." The last line is "Beloved." What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Khariya Ali imagined:

She says: “The title was the last part of this story to be written. The rest was the occupation of a bright afternoon in May, and the copious free time afforded by lockdown. I’ve always been fascinated by the written word as an immersive experience; its ability to carry you away and draw you in, leaving you wanting more by the time it releases you. I was able to enjoy a small piece of that while Wren and her world coalesced on paper, and I can only hope that there is equal enjoyment for you in reading it.” Back to top.


Julia Jordan — “The Salvation of 1-2-4”

Julia Jordan is a part-time non-profit grant writer living in Melbourne, Australia. Although trained as a lawyer, she now spends most of her time raising two small children. Her favorite things include sunshine, porch swings, baked goods, and her family. “The Salvation of 1-2-4” is her first published work.

Julia Jordan's poem appears in 124 BELOVED, the 2020 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Toni Morrison's novel Beloved. The first line of the novel is "124 was spiteful." The last line is "Beloved." What kind of poem would you write between those lines? Here's what Julia Jordan imagined:

She says: “I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old, and my days are filled with picture books and toddler songs—so it is not surprising that my literary taxidermy features animals and rhyming verse! The idea came to me on a sleepless night, and the poem was tweaked over many subsequent nights as my mind travelled through the alphabet trying to find the right words to rhyme together.” Back to top.