Reading Series

In celebration of the fifth year of the Literary Taxidermy Writing Competition, we're pleased to continue our series of readings by some of the remarkable literary taxidermists who have participated 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.)

Khariya Ali — "A Songbird’s Silence"
Steve Amos — "Thirty-four Stories"
Kerri Ashes — "Thursday Afternoon"
Nathan Baker — "The Last Directive"
Thomas Baldwin — "The Crystal Tower"
NEW Erika Bauer — "A Dark and Final Space"
Ned Herbert Boyden — "The Library"
Asumini C — "Assumptions"
Cuifen Chen — "Sunshade, Starlight"
Sean Fallon — "Me and Mimi"
Josephine Greenland — "Compass of the Winds"
Arynn Haws — "Everything After"
NEW Mariah Hopkins — "Waiting for the Great Fire"
Julia Jordan — "The Salvation of 1-2-4"
Mel Kennard — "Attila the Hen"
Amanda le Bas de Plumetot — "Cornucopia"
Josh Lefkowitz — "My Final Lover"
Amber Logan — "KTN 2.3"
Katy Madgwick — "Dust Jackets"
Christopher Rowson — "The Beginner's Guide to Endings"
Shannon Savvas — "Ronnie"
Anna Shannon — "The Tenant"
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.

2/10/22

Asumini C — “Assumptions”

Asumini C is a graduate from San Francisco State University with a BA in Africana Studies. “Assumptions” is her first published story.

Asumini C's story appears in AGAINST THE BAR, the 2018 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Dashiell Hammett's novel The Thin Man. The first line of the novel is "I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on 52nd street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me." The last line is “That may be,” Nora said, “but it’s all pretty unsatisfactory.” What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Asumini C imagined:

She says: “I was born Black and proud and I desire to be informed, educated, and empowered. I pour that into my writing. My story is a brief and witty look at current matters that are vital.” Back to top.


Sean Fallon — “Me and Mimi”

Sean Fallon is an education consultant in Victoria, Australia. He is currently working on a novel about John Wayne running for president, and has had his fiction published in The Big Issue and Reader’s Digest. His submission to the Carroll contest, “The Kitten God Heresy,” received honorable mention, as did his submission to the Parker contest, “Sext.”

Sean Fallon's story appears in AGAINST THE BAR, the 2018 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Dashiell Hammett's novel The Thin Man. The first line of the novel is "I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on 52nd street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me." The last line is “That may be,” Nora said, “but it’s all pretty unsatisfactory.” What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Sean Fallon imagined:

He says: “I was waiting for a meal in a restaurant while on a business trip and I saw this competition on Facebook. As soon as I read the first line of The Thin Man, the story jumped into my head pretty much fully formed, and I wrote the first draft on my phone in-between forkfuls of the fish and chips I had for dinner. The biggest struggle for me was the ending. Trying to fit Hammett’s words into the story was very tricky and took quite a few tries before I could make it work.” Back to top.


Kerri Ashes — “Thursday Afternoon”

Kerri Ashes recently graduated university in Liverpool, England, with a degree in Linguistics. When not studying or writing, she’s a barista, pulling shots. Her work has been published in the Young Writers Poetry Anthology and she was shortlisted for the Lancaster Writing Awards.

Kerri Ashes's story appears in AGAINST THE BAR, the 2018 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Dashiell Hammett's novel The Thin Man. The first line of the novel is "I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on 52nd street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me." The last line is “That may be,” Nora said, “but it’s all pretty unsatisfactory.” What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Kerri Ashes imagined:

She says: “The pieces fell into place fairly quickly, with the final story coming together in a day. I focused on making Nora and Elizabeth’s relationship as authentic as possible; Elizabeth’s first thought at every turn is Nora, so I wanted readers to understand why she cares so much about her. I really enjoyed writing about Elizabeth as she’s such a conflicted character — her curiosity and impulsivity fuel the story, but they also cause her the most regret in the end.” Back to top.

3/3/22

Ned Herbert Boyden — “The Library”

Ned Herbert Boyden is trying to feed and shelter a family of four in a wildly-overpriced city in British Columbia, Canada. His story “A Certain Degree of Latitude” was published in Shadows Express (Fall, 2010).

Ned Herbert Boyden's story appears in ONE THING WAS CERTAIN, the 2018 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Lewis Carroll's novel Through the Looking-Glass. The first line of the novel is "One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it: — it was the black kitten’s fault entirely." The last line is “Which do you think it was?” What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Ned Herbert Boyden imagined:

He says: “My co-worker was unwillingly assigned to the library of the law firm I work for, so I jokingly said I would write a story for this contest called, ‘The Girl Who Went to the Library.’ I tossed it three times. I credit my writers group for helping me break through when someone posted an article on ‘How to Write Great Villains.’ Twenty-five cups of coffee later, the villain was a person — an ugly one, but with a backstory.” Back to top.


Amber Logan — “KTN 2.3”

Amber Logan is a PhD student in creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, where her thesis is examining the intersection between Hans Christian Andersen’s dark fairy tale “The Shadow” and the works of Haruki Murakami. A number of her poems and short stories have been published in Strangeling: The Art of Jasmine Becket-Griffith (2013) and Forever Strange (2018).

Amber Logan's story appears in ONE THING WAS CERTAIN, the 2018 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Lewis Carroll's novel Through the Looking-Glass. The first line of the novel is "One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it: — it was the black kitten’s fault entirely." The last line is “Which do you think it was?” What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Amber Logan imagined:

She says: “My story was inspired by the short story ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ by Ernest Hemingway. I’ve always wanted to try writing a piece where the real story is in the subtext, not in the character’s actual conversation. Once I decided to go with this approach I thought ‘well, I can’t make the kittens actual kittens then,’ so I decided to use a fun acronym (KTN) which then inspired the tech-y setting.” Back to top.

3/24/22

Josh Lefkowitz — “My Final Lover”

Josh Lefkowitz is a legal practice specialist from Brooklyn, New York. His poems have been published in Electric Literature, The Huffington Post, Washington Square Review, Barrelhouse, Shooter Literary Magazine (UK), Southword Journal (Ireland), and many other places.

Josh Lefkowitz's poem appears in TELEPHONE ME NOW, the 2018 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Dorothy Parker's story "A Telephone Call." The first line of her story is "Please, God, let him telephone me now." The last line is “Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five.” What kind of poem would you write between those lines? Here's what Josh Lefkowitz imagined:

He says: “I felt a familiarity with the despair of the first line, as I definitely know what it’s like to be hoping and pleading to some deity for the phone to ring (or a text message reply in today’s preferred communication methods). Then, eyeing the final line, I tried to think of the most dramatic situation that might warrant the counting. I (aim to) write a poem every day, so this was a great opportunity to step outside the autobiographical impulse and work within Parker’s provided constraints. She’s a real hero of mine.” Back to top.


Arynn Haws — “Everything After”

Arynn Haws is a library clerk from California, in the United States, and a graduate of California State University, East Bay. Her fiction and poetry has been published in the 2017 edition of the Suisun Valley Review.

Arynn Haws's story appears in TELEPHONE ME NOW, the 2018 anthology of literary taxidermy inspired by Dorothy Parker's story "A Telephone Call." The first line of the story is "Please, God, let him telephone me now." The last line is “Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five.” What story would you write between those lines? Here's what Arynn Haws imagined:

She says: “Out of all the options for this competition, Dorothy Parker’s story was the one I was not familiar with. What I felt upon reading those first and last lines, however, was something deeply sad — I couldn’t explain the feeling, but it was there, and it ached. I knew that whatever story I created from those words would need to emulate that emotion. In truth, that is how most of my stories come to life — with me, feeling and then typing out that feeling the best I can.” Back to top.

4/14/22

Shannon Savvas — “RONNIE”

Shannon Savvas is a New Zealand writer who divides her heart and life between Cyprus, England, and New Zealand. She takes photographs of unnoticed things, particularly the small marvelous structures in nature, and the beauty of plants past their prime. She is a former-nurse, and has been published both online and in print. In addition to her success with literary taxidermy, she is the short-fiction winner of the 2019 Over the Edge New Writing Prize at the Cúirt Literary festival in Galway.

Shannon Savvas'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 Shannon Savvas imagined:

She says: “A newspaper article about a nightmare guest in a small hotel sparked this story, but it never felt right or complete until I considered fitting it into the 2019 Literary Taxidermy prompt. Doing so breathed life into the story, giving me a real sense of my narrator.” Back to top.


Christopher Rowson — “The Beginner’s Guide to Endings”

Christopher Rowson is a UK writer who is taking a short break from his first novel to concentrate on short stories. When Christopher is not writing he is thinking about writing. And when he’s not thinking about writing he spends his time reading, which makes him think about writing. A small amount of time is set aside for eating and battling house cats. “The Beginner’s Guide to Endings” is his first published short story.

Christopher Rowson'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 Christopher Rowson imagined:

He says: “This story is definitely not based on my wife who is definitely not a serial snooper and is certainly not in possession of several salacious videos of strangers. This story asks how much our digital possessions are worth in a world of disposable content, and to what extent they are a true reflection of ourselves. Enjoy!” Back to top.


Katy Madgwick — “Dust Jackets”

Katy Madgwick is a private English tutor, baby swim teacher, and freelance writer, living in the northeast of England with two small humans, one larger one, and an unruly sprocker puppy called Skye. She holds an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature, and has a background in blogging. “Dust Jackets” is her first published short story.

Katy Madgwick'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 Katy Madgwick imagined:

She says: “I began writing ‘Dust Jackets’ without knowing where the story was heading, but my enduring affection for post-apocalyptic literature combined with acute climate-change anxiety shaped the story as I wrote. It underwent a few structural alterations before I was happy with it, and only after submission did I realise the story also touches on my recurring preoccupation with isolationism versus community, a theme that emerges from almost everything I write — whether or not I intend it to.” Back to top.

5/5/22

Mel Kennard — “Attila the Hen”

Mel Kennard is a student from New South Wales, Australia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Languages from The Australian National University in 2015, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts through the University of New England. A natural polyglot, she speaks English, French, Italian, German, and a little bit of Spanish. She won the inaugural For Pity Sake Publishing writing competition in 2017, and participated in both previous Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competitions: her story “Kit and Nella” was included in One Thing Was Certain in 2018, and her story “Children of Summer” was an honorable mention in Pleasure to Burn in 2019. We’re excited to welcome her back with another excellent story.

Mel Kennard'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 Mel Kennard imagined:

She says: “Most of the process for this story involved thinking up terrible names for chickens. These names were inspired by a friend whose family used to keep chickens with names such as Nugget, Vindaloo and, my personal favourite, Buffy the Egg Layer. In particular, I struggled to think of a name for the spiteful chicken. It was only after the story was written and I was almost ready to send it in with a nameless feathered protagonist that the perfect name finally occurred to me — Attila the Hen. I know nothing about chickens.” Back to top.


Nathan Baker — “The Last Directive”

Nathan Baker is a Software Developer living in Saint Anne’s on the Sea, in the UK. He has lived most of his life in the sunny North West of England, surrounded by the books, creatures, and people that he loves (although not necessarily in that order). When not writing or developing software, he enjoys reading, walking, and games of all kinds. “The Last Directive” is his first published short story.

Nathan Baker'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 Nathan Baker imagined:

He says: “There was a lot going on while I was writing this story. The UK was still in lockdown and the events in Minneapolis in the US were being felt across the world. At the time, I didn’t think I was writing about either of those things, but in hindsight, it’s not hard to see both of them reflected in this story.” Back to top.

5/26/22

Steve Amos — “Thirty-four Stories”

Steve Amos is a training consultant living in Hastings, in the UK. He tells us that his first school report said “Stephen has a good imagination, and enjoys writing long, interesting stories which are a delight to the rest of the class.” So clearly not much has changed! His first book, Two Sides of an Indie Dad, is a mixture of fiction and autobiographical writing, published last year.

Steve Amos'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 Steve Amos imagined:

He says: “As soon as I read the opening line, I had the idea of interpreting it literally, writing thirty-four interconnected stories all set within the same building. It seemed to fit with the world of Covid-19, and the way in which our lives have suddenly narrowed, and we’ve become increasingly confined to the buildings in which we live.” Back to top.


Anna Shannon — “The Tenant”

Anna Shannon is a writer in Calgary, Canada. As a child, she read every novel she could get her hands on — which turned out to be mostly Victorian gothics. This is one reason she’d recite Tennyson in her backyard against raging thunderstorms, or read Poe by candle-light to distract herself from the swaying of a high-rise during a typhoon. “The Tenant” is her first published short story.

Anna Shannon'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 Anna Shannon imagined:

She says: “We are all made of bits blown apart and clumsily put back together, and life is never as it seems. Perhaps this is why I find literary taxidermy so enthralling. Years ago, while volunteering at a suicide call centre, someone told me about a suicide by a darkly clever man who selected an apartment for rent at the top of a high-rise. I’ve never been able to get that scenario out of my mind and, faced with the description of a ‘squat building,’ I thrilled at the chance to include it in this piece.” Back to top.

6/16/22

Erika Bauer — “A Dark and Final Space”

Erika Bauer is a teacher in Michigan, in the United States. She’s a closet 80’s rock karaoke super star, and if she could live anywhere, it would be in Castle Rock (even though it’s fictional). She owns four turtles that yawn like lions when no one is looking and aspires to write the way that Muhammad Ali boxed. “A Dark and Final Space” is her first published short story.

Erika Bauer'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 Erika Bauer imagined:

She says: “I knew from the first line that the story would be set in a bar, that the woman in the bar would be alone, and that everything in between should feel as close to Hemingway as I could channel. Getting to that final line, though, was difficult. I gave up more than once. I even tried to delete the bar itself! No go. Honestly, the story wrote itself.” Back to top.


Mariah Hopkins — “Waiting for the Great Fire”

Mariah Hopkins is a recent graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, in the United States. When not busy writing, she’s a transfer advisor at the Community College of Rhode Island, and an administrative assistant at the YMCA. Her next big adventure? Going to Minneapolis to pursue video game journalism. “Waiting for the Great Fire” is her first published short story, but her work will also appear in an upcoming issue of The Ocean State Review.

Mariah Hopkins'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 Mariah Hopkins imagined:

She says: “I’ve been researching and writing about Ancient Rome since I was twelve, and I enjoy the challenge of meeting writing prompts with historical moments. The words burn and city made me think of the Great Fire of Rome, but I didn’t want to perpetuate the myth of Nero fiddling while it burned. There are many theories as to why the troubled Nero might have set Rome ablaze. This is just one of them.” Back to top.