Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Food Bank" by Rachel Fenton (2015, from Cooked Up Food Fiction From Around the World, edited by Elaine Chiew)

My Q and A Session with Rachel Fenton

love short stories and food, not necessarily in that order, so I was elated to be given a D R C of a forthcoming very soon anthology devoted to short stories centering on food. I was delighted to see that  Cooked Up Food Fiction From Around the World edited and introduced by Elaine Chiew contains stories  by Rachel Fenton and Sue Guiney.  I have previously posted on two of Rachel Fenton's wonderful short stories and she kindly did a very interesting Q and A session on my blog.  Sue Guiney helped me do something relatively unique of which I am proud.  She conducts for at risk Cambodia children fiction workshops in which participants express themselves in English through stories and poems drawn from their experiences.  (A mastery of English is essential for professional success). I was given the honor of publishing many of these very moving works.  I have also read and posted on two of Sue Guiney's set in Cambodia novels, both of which I highly recommend. I was also happy to see a short story by Krys Lee included, having enjoyed one of her works a while ago.  The diversely selected other contributors all have very interesting bios. I have already posted on Elaine Chiew's story, dealing with Singaporean food culture, "Run of the Molars".

Today I will  be posting on the wonderful story by Rachel Fenton, "Food Bank".  A food bank, there is no such thing in the Philippines, is a charitable outlet that offers free food supplies for home use for those who are having serious hardships.  As the story opens the female narrator is inside a food bank. She is talking to a woman who works there about two nights she spent with a man who made her chile.  He has an evident routine in which he makes his women visitors chile.  Chile is for many very much a comfort food, simple, warm, rich in flavor and very filling.  We almost sense the woman is at least in part there for the food.  The close of the story is poignant and powerful, we can feel the woman trying to maintain her pride in front of her son.  There are lots of very subtle  social class indicators in the story and the conversations are wonderfully wrought.

Official Bio

Rachel J. Fenton was born in 1976 and grew up in relative poverty in South Yorkshire. She has a BA in English Studies from Sheffield Hallam University, where she studied under the tutelage of E. A. Markham before relocating to Auckland in 2007. Winner of the 7th Annual Short Fiction Competition (University of Plymouth) and the 2013 Flash Frontier Winter Award, she is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Short-listed for the 2013 FishInternational Poetry Prize (judged by Paul Durcan), the 2012 Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize, Binnacle Ultra-Short Competition (named honoree), the Fish One Page Prize, the 6th Annual Short Fiction Competition, and the Kathleen Grattan Award, other listings include the Bristol Prize, and the Sean O’ Faolain International Short Story Prize.

Recent publications include the journals The Stinging Fly MagazineShort Fiction #7;JAAM #30, #31; brief #44-45, #47; French Literary Review #18Cordite Poetry Review;Pank; and Metazen; and a comprehensive list can be found at

AKA Rae Joyce, she is an AUT award winning graphic poet, was mentored by Dylan Horrocks, is featured in New Zealand Comics and Graphic Novels (Hicksville Press), Two Thirds North, The Poetry BusFlash FrontierThrush Poetry Journal, and was 2013 Artist in Residence at Counterexample Poetics. Between 2011 and 2012, she wrote, drew and published a page per day of the epic web-comic Escape Behaviours.

I greatly enjoyed "Food Bank" and look forward to following the literary work of Rachel Fenton.

Mel u

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