From Argentina to Siberia, Papua New Guinea to London and New York, Light Box explores lives in transition, in a world where boundaries and human relationships are shifting. An astronaut struggles to adapt to life back on earth; a young man discovers he is going blind in a foreign city; a retired plastic surgeon uncovers old wounds; and two lovers become unexpectedly intimate. Each tale in K J Orr’s moving collection is charged with the irrepressible human urge to connect in the face of disorientating change. With exquisitely cadenced storytelling, Orr introduces us to worlds and places that are at once both familiar and askew. She creates landscapes that are instantly recognisable, yet tinged with a lingering sense of uncertainty. The result is a wonderfully diverse and captivating debut from a rising literary talent.
“K J Orr's is a distinctive new voice. These stories are so elegant and considered, yet charged at the same time with a fierce energy.”
Tessa Hadley - author of The Past
“K J Orr's Light Box is a wonderful and assured read, brimming with coolly controlled writing that is mysterious but never purposeless. Each story contains enigmatic, piercingly clear images and startling gestures that illuminate its characters in all their passions and furtiveness.”
Colin Barrett - author of Young Skins
“With microscopic delicacy, K J Orr unravels our human longing for certainty and order in these exquisite, devastating stories, revealing the chaos that is both the tragedy and the joy of being alive.”
Tania Hershman - author of My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions
“Orr is an absolutely natural short story writer who knows that life's profundities often unfold without witnesses, beyond the action of centre-stage, in the private language of instinct, fumbled need and fleeting connection. Her stories read with a compellingly cool clarity and restraint. They are also thrillingly precise. Light Box is, above all, a luminous collection. It reveals, with beautiful acuity, what it is to be human, tender and fallible.”
Alison MacLeod - author of Unexploded
"Poignant, observant, profound: K J Orr's stories – like waves against a breakwater – bristle with tremendous, barely-concealed power."
D.W. Wilson - author of Once You Break a Knuckle and Ballistics
“Light Box is a globe-trotting wonder: atmospheric and haunting, delicate and fierce. K J Orr writes with radical precision and beauty, and this collection shines a masterful light on the quiet, often unseen moments that have the power to remake a life.”
Laura van den Berg - author of Isle of Youth and Find Me
“I’m pretty sure K J Orr only begins a story if and when she can sense in the idea of it the makings of a crisis – which then, with forensic precision, sentence by sentence, questioningly, she uncovers. This is invention in the old meaning of the word: the discovery of what is there to be found. And that finding is persuasive and disturbing in equal measure, like truth itself.”
David Constantine - author of Tea at the Midland and The Life-Writer
“K J Orr is fascinated by the power of strangers to forever alter the trajectory of our lives. In these stories, chance encounters threaten to destabilise relationships, inspire treacherous voyages, and reveal the fissures on which our identities are constructed. The language is scintillating, the insights piercing. Light Box is a stunning debut.”
Adam Marek - author of The Stone Thrower
“These stories are by a brilliant writer. She creates her worlds in perfect prose, faultlessly, for the reader to walk through – creates paths that, once walked, will never be forgotten. I have no doubt that these will become modern classics.”
Vanessa Gebbie - author of The Coward's Tale
Light Box shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017.
More info here and here.
Light Box shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize. More info here.
Light Box included in publisher picks of 2016 in the Guardian. More info here.
Light Box selected as a book of the year 2016 in the Observer. More info here.
'Disappearances' (from Light Box) wins the BBC National Short Story Award 2016. More info here, here, here and here.
'Disappearances' to be broadcast on Radio 4 at 3.35pm on 23 September 2016, read by David Horovitch. More info here.
K J Orr discusses her BBC NSSA shortlisted story 'Disappearances' on Front Row, Radio 4.
K J Orr shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2016: More info here, here, here and here.
Interview on Light Box with writer Adam Marek: More info here.
Light Box reviewed by The Short Story: More info here.
Piece for The Guardian on Light Box and some favourite short stories: More info here.
Light Box reviewed by Rebecca Jacobs in the TLS: "The power of these stories lies in the ease and speed, yet plausibility, with which they become unsettling." More info here.
Light Box reviewed by Stephanie Cross in The Lady: "Orr has a gift for taking the reader deep into the still, intensely private places at the centre of a life." More info here.
Piece on the short story and poetry: More info here.
Piece on much loved recent story collections: More info here.
Interview with 26: More info here.
Interview with Bookanista: More info here.
Interview with The Irish Times: More info here.
Light Box reviewed by Sarah Gilmartin in The Irish Times: "Changes in rhythm are central to K J Orr's highly accomplished debut collection, Light Box. Just as the titular machine provides 'a shock of bright white light' that makes the astronaut's wife squint, the English author's stories have a vividness and directness that leave the reader reeling." More info here.
Light Box chosen as a hot tip for 2016: More info here
Light Box chosen as Collection of the Year for the Bristol Short Story Prize: More info here, here, and here.
'The Inland Sea’ – which appears in Light Box – has also been produced as a limited edition short story: Early one morning, two boys set out across a frozen lake. This beautifully told story is a small and finely-wrought epic, set in a remote part of Russia. A deeply touching tale of brotherhood, bravery and the wild dreams of childhood. (Daunt Books Publishing 2012)
K J Orr was born in London. Light Box, her first collection of short stories, was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2017, and includes ‘Disappearances’ which won the BBC National Short Story Award 2016 and ‘The Human Circadian Pacemaker’, shortlisted for the NSSA in 2011. Light Box was selected as a book of the year in the Observer and a publisher pick of the year in the Guardian in 2016. K J Orr’s stories have been recognized by numerous awards, and have appeared in publications including Best British Short Stories 2015, the Irish Times, the Dublin Review, the White Review and the Sunday Times Magazine. In 2012 Daunt Books published her story The Inland Sea as the first of their limited edition short story series. Her short fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, commissioned, anthologized, translated and adapted for film. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the TLS, the Guardian and Poetry Review, among others. She holds a doctorate in Creative Writing, for which she explored liminality in short fiction through critical and creative writing. In addition to other teaching roles, from 2016-2018 she held a Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where she taught on the MA and MFA programmes. From 2018-2019 she has mentored for the Word Factory Apprentice Award, and continues to work as a writing mentor.
Feria Internacional del Libro, Buenos Aires
MALBA, Buenos Aires
Small Wonder Festival 2018, Charleston
Edinburgh International Book Festival: The Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017,
with the other shortlisted authors – Lucy Caldwell, Daisy Johnson, Irenosen Okojie and Joanna Walsh
Small Wonder Festival 2017, Charleston
Daunt Books, Hampstead: The Art of the Short Story, with Tessa Hadley
The Story Machine, Norwich
Chichester University, Chichester
MIRLive, The Harrison, London
London Literature Festival, Southbank Centre
Small Wonder Festival, Charleston
Waterstones Tottenham Court Road, London
Burgh House, Hampstead, London
Word Factory, Waterstones Piccadilly, London
Daunt Books Festival, Daunt Books, Marylebone High Street, London
UEA Live, Writers’ Centre, Dragon Hall, Norwich
Kingston Writing School, Kingston upon Thames
Literary agent: Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown
For publicity enquiries contact Željka Marosevic at Daunt Books Publishing www.dauntbookspublishing.co.uk
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