Read, Color. Color, Read. Repeat. Introducing Color Stories, the Short Fiction Coloring Book!

Color Stories is the coloring book for lovers of story. Color Stories is the fiction anthology for lovers of coloring books.

Color Stories is new from Iron Twine Press, available Now!

Color Stories presents literary quality short fiction paired with coloring pages!

Color Stories presents literary quality short fiction paired with coloring pages!

Wait a minute…what is Color Stories?

Color Stories is the literary fiction coloring book for grownups!

It’s “two great things that go great together” (to borrow a phrase from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups): vivid flash fiction paired with coloring pages presenting lively and evocative drawings, by Seattle artist Sonja Gerard, inspired by the stories themselves.

Iron Twine’s founder and editor-in-chief, Ethan, was inspired to create Color Stories while working on a children’s picture book. “I was working with the author to match illustrations with her text, trying to find drawings that would really deepen the kids’ engagement with the story. It was exciting to think about kids going back to the drawings and enjoying them long after they’d finished reading. It occurred to me, ‘why should kids have all the fun?’ I was editing an anthology of serious adult fiction at that same time. I thought ‘what if we turned this into a picture book?’ it would add even more depth to the experience of these stories. The picture book turned into a coloring book because I wanted people to scribble all over the book and make the stories totally their own. It’s fun and why should kids have all the fun? Did I already say that?”

The stories in Color Stories are the product of a group of innovative Seattle authors. The group meets regularly in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, in an apartment perched on the edge of Discovery Park, “to tell each other stories and inspire each other to craft work that shows something real about the human heart.” The group, comprised of prize-winning authors, including a veteran of the Best American Short Stories anthology series, calls itself the Edge of Discovery Writers, for literal and figurative reasons. They’re serious about their craft. Their new book is seriously fun.

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Color Stories is the short fiction coloring book your kids will want to color. But it’s for grownups!

Color Stories is available Now.

And come to Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle on October 30th at 3 pm for our Color Stories book launch: Storytime for Grownups!

 

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Miracles in Montanare, the Video

Miracles in Montanare: Ten Years in Tuscany is about friendship: the value and importance of opening your heart to others, of believing that it is possible to connect despite language or cultural differences and about the life-altering benefits of finding friends who will believe that with you. It is a small story. It is a huge story.

Iron Twine Author, Lyn Coffin, Wins Georgian National Literature Prize

The Knight in the Panther Skin, translated by Lyn Coffin, winner of the 2016 Saba Award for Translation

The Knight in the Panther Skin, translated by Lyn Coffin, winner of the 2016 Saba Award for Translation

On September 18th, 2016 it was announced that American author, playwright, poet, fiction writer, translator, and Seattle resident Lyn Coffin has been awarded Georgia’s top literary prize, the Saba, for her translation of Shota Rustaveli’s, The Knight in the Panther Skin (Poezia Press, 2015).

We published an interview with Lyn about this amazing work earlier this year. But, just to refresh your memory:

The Knight in the Panther Skin is a 12th-century epic poem from the country of Georgia. It is considered the national poem of Georgia. It has been largely unknown to English-speaking audiences because few translations have been produced. Those translations that have appeared over the years have opted for free verse or prose re-tellings rather than the much-more-difficult poetic translation in meter faithful to the original. Some scholars familiar with the poem have even gone so far as to say a translation that preserved the rhymes, the metaphors, the poetry and the scope of the original was impossible.  Lyn Coffin took on that “impossible” challenge, working for over two years to faithfully translate, line by line, the 1,661 quatrains of the nearly nine-hundred-year-old masterwork.

Lyn Coffin read from her translation of The Knight in the Panther Skin to an audience in Georgia on September 20th, 2016

Lyn Coffin read from her translation of The Knight in the Panther Skin to an audience in Georgia on September 20th, 2016

Saba is the most prestigious literary award in Georgia, founded by TBC Bank and Rustavi-2 TV. Its winners are revealed each year. The categories vary from fiction to non-fiction, poetry, as well as translation works.

Following her time in Georgia for the Saba Award ceremony, Lyn will travel to Stockholm, Sweden to present a reading from her latest collection of short fiction The First Honeymoon: New and Selected Stories (Iron Twine Press, 2015). She’ll read at The English Bookshop in Stockholm, October 8 at 10 a.m. and then will return to Seattle where she will be reading at Elliott Bay Book Company on October 28 at 2 p.m. in support of Color Stories (forthcoming from Iron Twine Press, 2016) a short-fiction anthology in which her work is featured.

Congratulations to Lyn and Poezia Press for this remarkable honor!

The Italian Book Tour: Releasing the Book One Person at a Time

Author Larry Snyder presents a copy of Miracles in Montanare to dear friends Primo and Francesca. The couple were among the first to welcome Larry and Jill to Montanare in 2004 and appear in many of the touching vignettes throughout the book.

Author Larry Snyder presents a copy of Miracles in Montanare to dear friends Primo and Francesca. The couple were among the first to welcome Larry and Jill to Montanare in 2004 and appear in many of the touching vignettes throughout the book.

One of the great joys of publishing a book is watching readers receive it. Being in Italy seeing the people Larry wrote his book about receive their copies took that special experience to a new level for me.

Each of the 12 days I was in Italy, Larry and I would drive out in the morning heading for a meeting with one person or another who appears in the book. One day was Pier (The Pavarotti of Montepulciano), the day before was Daniela Borghesi, Administrator of the Seattle-Perugia Sister City program and Daniela Snyder’s namesake, before that it was Primo, and Piero, and down the list.

Larry does a short formal presentation with each of them. He tells them how much they mean to him, he shares with them how they have changed his life. Inevitably, they cry, happily, to realize the impact they’ve had and as it dawns on them that this book is about them.

Then Larry hands them the wrapped book and the magic really happens. They humbly unwrap it and Sonja Gerard’s beautiful cover design comes into view. It features a photograph of the arch at San Galgano, the locals all recognize it. They stop and their eyes go wide, they lose their breath. A moment passes when I can see in their face that the book is exceeding every expectation they had of it. They knew Larry had been writing a book, they didn’t realize he was producing a work of art. They run their hands over the cover, page through the book, marveling at the design, the photos, the Cortonese symbol, the family tree. The look of the book, the feel of the book, its quality and exacting artistry helps them understand the magnitude of Larry’s work before they’ve even read it.

When you produce a book you release it into the world and it is not yours anymore. Most often who receives it and how it impacts them happens out of the publisher’s view. To be present on this book tour to see the book enter the hearts of the people receiving it made my heart bigger and filled me with gratitude.

Miracles in Montanare Entered Into Cortona Village Archives

Larry Snyder presents his book Miracles in Montanare to Dr. Albano Ricci (of the Cortona City Council) at special ceremony in Cortona, Italy on July 3rd.

Larry Snyder presents his book Miracles in Montanare to Dr. Albano Ricci (of the Cortona City Council) at a special ceremony in Cortona, Italy on July 3rd.

Buonasera, Cortona. Buonasera, Toscana.

So began my remarks on July 3rd at the Etruscan Museum in the village of Cortona, Italy. Author Larry Snyder and I were there to launch his new book, Miracles in Montanare: Ten Years in Tuscany in Italy by presenting it to Cortona for inclusion in their official town archives (which dates back to the year 525). I had arrived one day before, had never been to Italy before, and speak no Italian. It was my role to introduce Larry to the assembled audience. Maybe it was the jet lag clouding my judgment–I prefer to think it was a heartfelt desire to connect, even marginally, with the locals who had turned out to support Larry’s book–but I was moved to say a few sentences in Italian.

Buonasera, Cortona. Buonasera, Toscana. Questo libro e su di te. This book is about you.

In this book you will find mention of Cortona, Montanare, Camucia, Montepulciano and many other places in Tuscany. But the book is not about those places. It is about the people Larry has met in those places. The people who have opened their hearts and their lives to him and his family, allowed him to become part of this place and this place to become a part of him.

This book is a love story. Questo libro e una storia d’amore. It is about the love he feels for this place and the people in it. Tonight he wants to give you this book as a gift. Questo libro e su di te. Questo libro e per te.

That evening at the Etruscan Museum is one I will never forget. The Italians in the audience forgave me my bumbling Italiano. But more importantly and more memorably, they warmly and enthusiastically embraced Larry’s book. Larry wrote the book to honor the ways in which the people of Tuscany have enriched his life; what they have contributed to his life is a gift, he will be the first to tell you. He traveled there to present the book as a humble offering of appreciation to the people who inspired it.

Book Launch: Miracles in Montanare

This is a big week for us. Tuesday night we’ll launch our newest book, Miracles in Montanare: Ten Years in Tuscany, by Larry Snyder. 

This book has been a wonderful collaboration from the beginning. Looking back through project notes last week I found the first page in my notebook with any mention of Miracles in Montanare is dated 5/1/2015. More than a year, during which the true and heart-full stories in Larry’s book have affected me as much or more than I have them through editorial work. I fell under the spell of these intimate, vulnerable, personal stories of love and friendship. I am inspired by Larry’s approach to life–he simply says Yes to opportunities and follows the path to magic and discovery. He approaches life with an open heart, a joy in learning from and about others, and a complete lack of cynicism. The effect on me of reading these small stories is to feel my life opening up and getting bigger and more full than ever before. 

Next in the project docket is a second edition of The First Honeymoon, the charming and powerful collection of stories by Lyn Coffin; an adventure novel set in the rugged Olympic National Park and a couple of anthologies showcasing new short fiction by authors you really should know about.

Thanks to all the interesting writers I have the good fortune to have met, there is no shortage of fun and exciting projects to pursue. Stay tuned!

Seattle Poet Offers Epic 800 Years in the Making

KitPS_4aShota Rustaveli’s The Knight in the Panther Skin is a 12th-century epic poem from the country of Georgia. It has been largely unknown to English-speaking audiences because few translations have been produced. Those translations that have appeared over the years have opted for free verse or prose re-tellings rather than the much-more-difficult poetic translation in meter faithful to the original. Some scholars familiar with the poem have even gone so far as to say a translation that preserved the rhymes, the metaphors, the poetry and the scope of the orginal was impossible.

Now Seattle poet/author/playwright Lyn Coffin has achieved that impossible goal with her newly released translation from Poezia Press in Tbilisi. Coffin, who lives and works in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, is the author of twenty-one books of poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction, and translation (many of which are available on Amazon); she has taught writing at the University of Michigan, the University of Washington and elsewhere; and her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories anthology which, annually, highlights the best writing in the country.

Nevertheless, Coffin may be the most accomplished writer most Americans have never heard of. That is not the case in the country of Georgia, however, where, due in part to her overt appreciation for The Knight in the Panther Skin and her faithful translations of more modern Georgian works, she is regarded as a bit of a literary celebrity. She has visited the country several times, and is celebrated when she arrives–she’s done poetry readings on Georgian television–including on her most recent visit where she was an honored guest of the Georgian government at a reception for the country’s president.

Iron Twine Press recently spoke with Lyn about her achievement with The Knight in the Panther Skin.

Iron Twine Press: How would you describe the importance of The Knight in the Panther Skin to Georgian literature and history? Is it accurate to compare its importance to Beowulf or the Iliad?

Lyn Coffin: Absolutely! This is the founding piece of literature for Georgia. This Is their national
epic, their rightful entry on the world stage. You can’t exaggerate the importance of
The Knight in Georgia.  School kids have to learn it- some every year. Most people
can quote sections of it. The proverbs in it are, well, proverbial. It is key. It is bigger
than Beowulf is for English speakers because Beowulf is almost never taught (at least
not in America, not until grad school, maybe a small section in high school). The language
of Beowulf makes it inaccessible to “normal” speakers. Georgian, being an autolect
(self-standing language), has remained remarkably the same for centuries—very little borrowing or change. As for The Iliad: it has to compete with The Odyssey. People argue about which is more important and why, and the author, “Homer” may well be a compilation. But  Shota KitPS_1Rustaveli wrote The Knight.

ITP: We see this in the Amazon description of your book: “this is the first-ever rendering of the 12th century Georgian epic ‘The Knight in the Panther Skin’ in the same poetic style as it was written.” Can you describe what that means, specifically, and help us understand why it is significant?

LC: I translated the epic in shairi, a Persian verse form. It was written in shairi, and I wanted to keep
the form. Shairi means 16 syllable lines rhymed AAAA, BBBB, etc. for 1661 quatrains. There is
high shairi and low shairi. High shairi means the same pattern on both sides of a central caesura.

High Shairi is four four (syllables) /caesura/ four four and Low Shairi is five three (syllables) /caesura/ five three after. Yes, it was difficult sometimes. English has more words than Georgian, but fewer rhymes. And there are amazing metaphors that needed translation.

KitPS_3ITP: Tell us about your process in producing this translation.
LC: The difficult language part was not so difficult for me because I worked with a team of Georgian
native speakers. I would read the original and try to sound it out. I would have a native recite the original wherever possible. I would read Dodona’s word for word translation and her notes. If I didn’t understand, I would refer to earlier English translations. And then afterward, Nato Alhazashvili, an excellent English speaker herself, would read and comment where she thought the lines went “off.” And she showed it to Nodar Natadze, made corrections and added whole quatrains. Levan Gigneinishvili (who wrote the afterword) had his say about some passages. The man I originally worked with, Gia Jokhadze, weighed in during the early stages. And so it went. I would revise, send to Dodona and Nato, and they would either say, okay, or now this is wrong…. It took a long time. I have some facility with rhyming, and I have a feel for English poetry. I was driven by a voice that sometimes seemed to be Rustaveli’s. Some quatrains took days to do the first time. I translated chapter by chapter, never allowing myself to read ahead of the chapter I was translating. So I was in suspense for most of the book, wondering what would happen next. The Knight is a heck of a great yarn, as well as great poetry. I loved it from the first time I heard/read it/puzzled it out, and I had a discoverer’s joy—Keat’s “On First Reading Homer.”

My translation is significant because the English reader for the first time, really, is able to hear the story in a rhythmic, metaphoric, Poetic translation. I translated as a poet, informed by scholars. Previous translators were not themselves poets, and did not have the advantage of the Georgian scholars I did.

ITP: P.D Rayfield, in his comments about the book, says “The Impossible Achieved. I read Georgian and have, for 40 years, thought a poetic translation of Rustaveli was impossible, given the original’s elaborate rhyme scheme, the metaphors and the difficult language: up until now the prose translations have been the only tolerable access for English-speaking readers. Lyn Coffin has achieved a miracle…”  Was it as difficult a challenge as he makes it out to be?  What did you find the greatest challenge to be?

LC: Yes, Rayfield is a great translator from Georgia himself, so his praise is wonderful. We met in London at the London Georgian Film Festival. I was afraid he would scoff at me for my lack of scholarship. And he liked it from the get go. I was very relieved.

The greatest challenge? To keep going through the really long chapters. To stay interested in some of the “catalog” sections, where the items at a wedding are described at length—He got this, She got that. Or the lines where the epithets come again and again. Homer had “rosy-fingered dawn.” Rustaveli has “an aloe tree”—tall and slender as an aloe tree. Or translating the features on a face— ivory and rose—He opened the twin petals of his rose lips, that kind of thing. On the other hand, there were some sections that were so suspenseful, I was literally on the edge of my seat.KitPS_2

Rustaveli himself speaks in the Prologue about needing poetic skill to carry on through a really long work. It was hard to keep going for two and a half years. I am not sure I would have been able to if Nato Alhazashvili and Dodona Kiziria hadn’t been there, encouraging me. Dodona and I worked together seemlessly. Her comments and support were invaluable.

ITP: What inspired you to take on “the impossible”?

LC: I took on the challenge because of my love for the Georgian people and my love of The Knight in the Panther Skin. From the beginning, I felt a calling—that this was something I was meant to do and could do.