Sirens is a story about a little girl and her dog set in modern-day Addis Ababa. When a puppy is rescued from the streets of Addis Ababa, she thinks she has it made, but the security of her new world is threatened when her elderly neighbor falls ill and is taken to the hospital. Readers will get to know more about Ethiopian foods, language, and cultural values. The story also promotes kind treatment of animals.

For children ages 4-10. In English and Amharic. Full-color illustrations by local artist Lejkidus Bezzawork. Translation by Alula Kibrom.

10% of the proceeds go to the Addis Animal Project.

For sale in Addis Ababa @ The Food Boutique, The Blue Hen and Chic Shega in Sarbet; Make Your Mark in Torhiloch; Zoma Museum and Ari Rang II in Old Airport; Best Western Hotel near Edna Mall; Talari in Meskel Flower

Also available on Amazon & Kindle e-book


Long list for Stockholm Writer’s Festival

Dear Tej Rae,

Thank you for sending us your first pages. We received a record number of entries this year – 583 – and the quality of submissions was high. With entries from all over the world, written in fiction of all genres and creative non-fiction of all stripes, it was hard to settle on a longlist of 38 with many entries coming very close to being on that list.

The longlist is as follows (in no particular order).

The Time-Share Husband of Ngulube Road by Tej Rae
Giants on the Hill, Stars in the Grass by Jarrod Chlapowski
We Make Them Pay by Sara Allen
The Waves of Sorrow and Understanding by Nicholas Gerogiannis
Land of Lambs and Wolves by Rowena Tuziak
Givenchy’s Kiss by Kathleen Giugliano
Burn Down This World by Tina Egnoski
The Ghosts We Carry by Fiona White
Fall and Recovery by Joanne De Simone
Life / Insurance by Tara Deal
Mother, Once Removed by Ellen Leary
The Trailing Edge by Lori Jakiela
The Resistance Stone: A Family Memoir by Jennie Bauduy
Convenience Shopping in Thailand by Martin Maroney
Project Orpheus by Maya James
Night Watch by Janet Howle
The Openings by Jessica Lee Richardson
C8 by Eleanor Roth
Excerpt from Save As Normal_dating_suicide by Sarah Fay
Creek by Caitlin Raleigh
Home and Away by Angie O’Gorman
… and up to nine! by Tanja Russita
The Veblen Effect: A Rural American Childhood by Caitlin Hill
Alex from Ashes by Elena Jube
Reckoning by Alyson Porter
Kill for Love by Laura Picklesimer
Safer to Die by Margaret Weir
The Californias Between Us by Elizabeth Browne
Mississippi Goddamn by Sarah Fuchs
The Bright Morning Star by Rebecca Haas
A Stupid Masculine Show by T. Smith
And The Rain Came Tumbling Down by Jo Gatford
Seagull Pie by Sandra Jensen
Who is William Brown? by Sarah Tanburn
Hiroshima Bomb Money by Terry Watada
The Last Field by Louise Tucker
Thief’s Hour by Matthew Scott
Colony by Lorna Riley

We will announce the shortlist in a few days and this year’s three winners will be notified early March. The prize presentation takes place on Friday 3 May during the Stockholm Writers’ Festival.
See for full details of this unique 3-day workshop.

In April, we’ll send an email with feedback and comments from the judging committee as to what they enjoyed and what worked in many entries, and particular qualities that elevated these long-listed pieces.
We hope this will provide some helpful feedback on your work.

Lizzie, Team FPP
Stockholm Writers Festival



Letter from Rome: When the Fountains Ran Dry

When the fountains ran dry

To return to Rome at the end of summer is to find a city altered. Where water flowed from waist-high fountains in June, now their drains are chalky instead of slippery-green.

A drought stalks the city.

I hear imagined trickles the way a new mother hears ghost cries. The dog and I turn medieval corners in Trastevere, following our ears. We spot a red-headed bride being photographed on a piazza, the bottom of her dress grey with soot. A waitress stops to pet the dog and brings out a dish of tepid tap water in a takeaway box.

The expansive green park where my kids like to play on weekends is brown and dusty. The grocery store in my neighborhood is closed for renovations. The gym is running on an abbreviated schedule. My hairdresser is at the beach, stretching summer for two more weeks into September, perfecting his tan.

When we leave our homes for a period of time, we hope to resume our lives as we left them. But Rome is a city where one day all the buses run and the next they don’t, where cars park diagonally on corners in defiance; a city that refuses to adhere to something as dull as predictability.

My patience splits and frays. During the summer, the two smart, young women who run the organizations I work for have resigned. A sign of the city’s faltering economy, and its concomitant management style. The music teacher at my children’s school, who often rode the bus with us, and was the brightest part of anyone’s day, is no longer employed there. I am still processing this when I get the next surprise: the school rules have changed, and my children can no longer walk home on their own. My afternoon routine of reading and cooking dinner is over.

Emotionally spent, I stagger into the cafe at the foot of our hill, where an elderly mustachioed man runs the kitchen and counter.

Sto cercanda pesce, I lie.

What I’m really looking for is comfort. He slips into the kitchen and grills a piece of tuna. I wash it down with a Peroni. Neighbors pop through the door every few minutes to pick up a dinner they didn’t have time to cook themselves. Each shares some bit of news with him. In the moments when the cafe is empty, he chats to me in broken Italo-English, tolerating my clumsy verb conjugations. A vanilla ring cake emerges from the oven. He passes out hot slices to all who enter, and its effect is the balm I’ve been seeking since the nasoni were turned off. (And isn’t food always the go-to savior in Italy?)

This is also the city that made him.