Tara Masih, Writer Editor

Latest News

Very excited to be the Series Editor for a new annual anthology to be titled The Best Small Fictions of 2015. Our first guest editor is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler, and I'm happy to be working with him again. We are looking forward to combing through all the great work that is being published out there in the flash fiction community. Queen's Ferry Press will be publishing it. Guidelines for editors are on their site, with a January 2015 deadline.

Chalk Circle is being used at many universities, colleges, and even high schools, including Columbia, NYU, Rutgers-Newark, Salem State, Tiffin U, and Xavier. If you are an instructor you get a discounted review copy through your college bookstore or a free digital desk copy from Wyatt-MacKenzie.

You can find me on Facebook (you'll need to be logged in first) and Goodreads.

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What Book Clubs Are Saying

"Our book club, which usually favors novels, was delighted to find a short story collection that appealed to all of us. We are mothers and grandmothers of varied backgrounds, but we all found a story to relate to and some even found truths to reveal to their children. The characters are so vividly drawn in place and time, that it's easy to forget you're reading a work of fiction. . . . If your book club is like ours, you'll find yourselves discussing these characters as though you were sharing your own struggles or the intimacies confided to you by your closest friends. Don't miss this one!" --B&N Cafe Book Club of Manassas, Virginia

Aug. 1, 2010, guest on Blog Talk Radio show: The Extreme Writing Now Network, 6:30 p.m. EST, live. Link: BlogTalkRadio.com

Sunday, Sept. 26, 5 pm. EST A Listening Party with Tara Masih on Talk Shoe, hosted by Shobha Sharma from Jane's Stories Press Foundation

The Chalk Circle

The Chalk Circle

from Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc.

Order at Amazon or
Barnes & Noble online
and instore
or FlipKart (India)

Twenty prizewinners are gathered for the first time in a ground-breaking anthology that explores many facets of culture not previously found under one cover. The powerful, honest, thoughtful voices—Native American, African American, Asian, European, Jewish, White—speak daringly on topics not often discussed in the open, on subjects such as racism, war, self-identity, gender, societal expectations. Their words will entertain, illuminate, take you to distant lands, and spark important discussions about our humanity, our culture, and our place within society and the natural world.

Includes extensive, in-depth discussion questions for book clubs and instructors, along with fun, challenging "NET assignments" for high school and college students; and an introduction by acclaimed writer David Mura.

Chalk Circle is a truly important book. —Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize Winner and recipient of the Tu Do Chinh Kien Award

[The essayists'] amalgamated vision is educational and resonant. —nota bene, World Literature Today, July/August 2013

The book carries a variety of stark, honest, and well-rendered first person narratives. —ForeWord Reviews, June 2012

I'll be honest: anthologies are not what I head for when I enter a bookshop. My gripe is that the tales are too short, and that just as you are getting into the swing of a story, it ends. This collection of real-life snapshots, on the other hand, is different. —Kate Allison, The Displaced Nation, May 2012 (read review here)

The Chalk Circle at turns can amuse, bemuse, and challenge readers to redefine the spaces they occupy in society. —The Los Angeles Review, August 2012 (read review here)

The Chalk Circle is intelligently and thoughtfully compiled, unified by a belief in writing to further our comprehension of what can (or should) define us, as individuals and as a global culture. . . . The essays in The Chalk Circle provide polished stepping stones to the re-delineation of identity. . . . Each tells a story from a distinctly articulated perspective, rippling outward in knowledge and (hopefully) understanding. —Her Circle: A Magazine of Women's Creative Arts and Activism, April 2012 (read whole review here)

Tara L. Masih has assembled a stunning collection... The range of cultural diversity and personal complexity packed into this slim, beautiful volume is staggering and far outstrips any other collection out there. These now-American writers and travelers experience the intercultural encounter at home, overseas, within their own communities, families, and selves. The voices range from adult journalists and Peace Corps volunteers to the children of Nazis and refugees. For some, like Third Culture Kids and the children of survivors, their histories and true identities are hidden, and it is through engaging with food and spirituality, photographs and music, family stories and private letters, global and personal history, that they are able to recover and share the nuances of life in our globalizing planet. Each story is a polished, multifaceted gem of unprecedented color and clarity, which together form a glittering necklace that redefines what it is to be intercultural—that is, human—in the world today. This is a book I will be teaching and recommending to friends and strangers again and again. —Faith Adiele, editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology and author of Meeting Faith: The Thai Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun

Read more reviews..


Where the Dog Star Never Glows

Finalist, Best Books 2010 - USA Book News

"This is a stunning debut."
Gaijinmama, Yomimono

S. Krishna's Books

"Each story in this collection . . . stands alone as a piece worth the price of the book."
—Debrah Lechner, Hayden's Ferry Review

". . . Masih’s stories are minimally but skillfully detailed—no last names, vague settings—giving extra weight to simple, recurring phenomena like water and color (“the evening’s August melon light”). Striking and resonant, this collection should prove memorable for any fan of New Yorker-style literary short fiction."
Publishers Weekly online Feb. 15 review 
(read whole review here)

It can be quite hard for one to find a collection of refreshingly diverse short stories by a single author. Readers will find Tara Masih’s collection of short stories to be wonderfully engaging. Her stories break the mold. . . .
—Viola Allo, San Francisco Book Review, Nov. 24 
(read whole review here)  

 . . . Masih has done what so many other writers spend a lifetime attempting: she’s grown so comfortable with words . . . that she can breathe life into the fictional worlds of her imagination with the greatest of ease. At least, that’s how it feels from the outside. Like the best of artisans, she makes her job look easy. . . . Where the Dog Star Never Glows is an amazing collection of short fiction that introduces Tara L. Masih as a true artist of the short story whose way with words is matched only by her intuitive grasp of all that makes us human. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see what this author does next.
  —Marc Schuster, Small Press Reviews, May 10, 2010
(read whole review here)

Tara L. Masih's debut collection of short stories is as varied as the characters she writes--encompassing a wide range of locations and styles, Masih showcases the breadth of her talent in this slim but powerful volume. . . . [I]t is hard to identify a weak link. Masih's ability to fully inhabit each character, and her strong sense of place and time, make each story a standout in its own way. Masih's especially vivid descriptions of landscape and setting allow the reader to become completely immersed in each of her tales, no matter how brief. This is an excellent collection that should appeal to many readers.
  —Elizabeth Schulenburg, BookLoons Reviews, Feb. 2010
(read whole review here)

That beautiful spirit that permeates Masih’s short stories is nothing short of extraordinary. Truly written from the heart of a poet, her ability to turn a phrase is more than appealing to this particular reviewer. . . . Throughout the book there permeates an unexpected sense of peace, even as characters battle against tough life decisions. Settings and people alike are brought to life with well-chosen words handled like paint on a canvas, leaving the reader with lucid imagery and a sense of deep reflection. . . .
  —carp(e) libris reviews,
March 2010
  (read whole review here)

There is precision in her prose that manages to capture the larger essence of character, of world and worldview, in a single stroke. . . . the vast array of settings is completely breathtaking. . . . Masih demonstrates that short fiction doesn't mean small ideas. This is a global collection that uses culture as more than color. Asking what it means to be a tourist, to be ruled, to belong, she crafts stories that delve into the essential questions of human nature that are never overly dense and are always pleasant to read.
  —Alex Myers, NewPages.com, April 1, 2010
(read whole review here)

Read more reviews..

From the Publisher

In this impressive debut collection, Tara Masih shows an intimate sense of understanding her characters' innermost feelings, creating a memorable map of diverse characters that span the globe and several eras. Ghosts dance, butterflies swarm, men crystallize, the sun disappears, and water plays a role in both destruction and repair of the soul. With an unflinching eye, a mythical awareness of the natural world, and poetic, crafted prose, Masih examines the dark recesses of the mind and heart, which often leads to a small or great triumph or illumination that will resonate long after the last page is turned.

These stories have won awards and received Pushcart Prize, Best New American Voices, and Best of the Web nominations.

 The Burnings, reprinted in Merrimack Valley Magazine, Sept/Oct 2010

"The Burnings," from my collection, was reprinted in Merrimack Valley Magazine, Sept/Oct. 2010 issue, and illustrated by Shelley Fabrizio. (Reprinted by permission of MVM and Shelley Fabrizio.)