I’m happy to announce that I’m going to be dropping into the amazing (and free!) Romancing the Gothic literature course as a guest speaker next Thursday April 30th at 7pm London time!
Dr. Sam is an amazing wellspring of spooky book knowledge and I’m so excited to chat about queering fairytales, writing ROBBERGIRL, and the modern gothic movement with her class. There will also be a Q&A for me at the end, so bring any burning questions or meandering musings.
Interested parties can DM the professor on Twitter directly so get looped into the private Zoom room, or you cansign up using this interest form for the course! Just specify that you’ll be attending for the Robbergirl Thursday book group! You’re free to participate in class discussion or just sit back and enjoy the chat.
Virtual events have been such a wonderful way to connect with readers since my in-person events have been cancelled for the year. All are welcome in the class; it’s a very low-pressure supportive environment. Looking forward to meeting you!
Title: Ask Baba Yaga by Taisia Kitaiskaia
Genre: Poetry/Self Help
Rating: ★★★ (3/5)
Ask Baba Yaga imagines what it may be like if Baba Yaga, a fearsome and ancient witch from Slavic folklore, got hold of a typewriter and started cryptically answering the pleas for advice piling up on her doorstep. Existential crises, career crossroads, and love woes alike are stabbed at with incisive prose-poem responses juxtaposed with illustrations in stark colors. Sometimes the responses as earthy and pragmatic, other times they are macabre parables; oftentimes they are inscrutable recipes the reader is not yet wise enough to understand.
As an ambitious young woman navigating the briers of a mid-life crises and the tangled road of true love, I’m pretty sure I am Ask Baba Yaga’s target audience. I often felt like I had survived a number of strange woodland trials and had been granted a single boon by Kitaiskaia’s prickly personae, who hacks away at the weeds of mundane life with strange misspellings and turns of phrase. Some of the questions and metaphors felt repetitive by the end of the book, which ran a little long for my tastes in poetry. It’s also possible that older readers might find Baba Yaga’s advice more suitable for a younger set who are still being battered about by self-doubt and new love, but I think that people from all walks of life can glean a little wisdom, and maybe a few spells, from between the pages of Kitaiskaia’s book.