In collaboration with Fondation Servais of Luxembourg, we are delighted to introduce you to Jean Bürlesk! The manuscript of his short story collection The Pleasure of Drowning was awarded the Prix d’Encouragement de la Fondation Servais 2019, and come March 2020, you will all be able to read his collection of revisionists fairy tales. You will laugh, you will cry and you will shudder: Jean has something for you all.
And if you happen to be at Eastercon 2020, join us for Jean's book launch, alongside Francesco Verso and AJ Dalton.
Pre-orders will open in February.
The art cover has been entrusted to Carolina Cancanilla, an Andalusian artist residing in Scotland. You can see more of Carolina's work on her website.
Without further ado, let's hear it from Jean himself:
"I’ve never written a blog post before. I’ve never had a book published that was entirely my own before. There are so many things I’ve never done before. There always will be, until the day I die. That’s the good news.
The better news is that I am starting to decide which things I do want to do before I die, and that I’m starting to take an active role in making it happen. Having a book published is one of them. But it won’t be entirely my own: it will have an entire team behind it. And it will be better for it.
The Pleasure of Drowning is a collection of stories based on legends and fairy tales. You’ll recognize most of them. Stories are how we see the world. When working with a fairy tale, you’re working with a story that has been told and retold hundreds and thousands of times, a story that has been around for centuries. It’s not just something we tell, it’s something we live.
We can’t get rid of the idea of Prince Charming.
Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. It gives us an ideal to strive for. But when motives are ingrained that deeply in our culture, it becomes difficult to remain critical of them. And that’s dangerous. You’re not Prince Charming if you can’t take a step back. You’re not Prince Charming if you have to be the hero. You’re not Prince Charming if you see a fellow human being and think of them as a Damsel in Distress. The Princess is not there to make you shine.
So to me there’s nothing more interesting than an old story, one that has changed so many times, you can’t tell the influences apart anymore. I take that story, and like so many people before me, I change something. It can be a small thing. Have you ever wondered how no other woman could fit her foot into Cinderella’s glass slipper? Does she really have the smallest feet in all the realm? Is Cinderella actually a child? Is her prince a paedophile?
It’s all very straightforward, really. I believe the most important quality for a writer to have is an utter and total lack of imagination. Most people have far too much imagination. They get out their front door in the morning and they see a dragon. But they know dragons don’t exist. They’ve been told. So they turn their head and imagine there’s no dragon flying next to them. Me, I get out the front door and I see a dragon, I say: “Hey, Bertie! What are you up to today?” And she tells me. And I go and write it down."
Jean Bürlesk is a storyteller. He writes, he reads, he acts, he makes jokes nobody understands. He would sing and dance, but he has no sense of rhythm or melody. Sometimes he still sings and dances. As a Luxembourger and a lover of words, he expresses himself in five recognizable languages, as well as the usual nonsense. He’s a terrific guide, unless of course he’s not and people just don’t have the heart to tell him.
You can follow Jean on his social sites: