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Biography

Anita Felicelli is the author of Izzy and Poe, a children’s book about two corgis; a novel, Sparks Off You; and the poetry collection, Letters to an Albatross. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times, Salon, SF Chronicle, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Verdict, Publishing Perspectives, Babble, Brain Child, Juked, Kweli Journal, Necessary Fiction, Strangelet Journal, and Palo Alto Online. Anita's short stories have twice been finalists in the Glimmer Train contests. She is an associate editor at the South Asian American blog The Aerogram and has a podcast, The Marginalia.

Anita is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley School of Law. She was born in India and grew up in Northern California, where she lives with her family, which includes two corgis. 

 

If Maya was happy, Julie could dance. Julie was spun until the hot, dusty room blurred like watercolors, until the music slipped into silver, blush, saffron, and teal, until her older sister’s energy flagged. Whenever Maya danced, her eyes went wild, her slender hips undulated, and her dark, downy skin shimmered with sweat as if layered with dew. Julie worried her sister would evaporate into the relentless August light.

During the summer of 1991, California experienced a drought so powerful that the state issued an advisory, and the manicured lawns of Mayfield, overwatered as a matter of course, even during the wet winters, turned brown, dotted with daisies and the phantom forms of dandelions on the verge of losing their seeds. That same summer, Maya sped around town in a rust-streaked yellow Yugo, blasting the radio. She’d come screeching to a halt at the sidewalk in front of the school where Julie stood waiting for her after class, and then slowly inch forward again, so that Julie had to take a running skip into the passenger seat to keep up.

Julie clutched the sides of the mushy seat cushion as the car leaped forward, zipped around the block, and headed for home. The neighborhood boys, trained over the years by Maya’s antics, started their street baseball games only after the sisters came home. The elderly women trimming juniper bushes, watering front lawns, or walking their dogs off-leash gave up, glaring indignantly at the Randeria sisters as they rocketed by. Singing and squinting like punk stars, they cruised down the street where they lived. You could tell it was those two coming. 

from the novel Sparks Off You

Contact Anita on Twitter (@anitafelicelli) or find her on Pinterest or Goodreads

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Books

Izzy and Poe

 Izzy and Poe are two corgis looking for adventure when a mischievous parrot says he can show them how to fly. Illustrated children's book for ages 4-8. Available in a premium color softcover edition that best features the beautiful illustrations, a lower-priced trade edition or a durable standard color hardcover.

 

Soon to be released for Kindle Fire.


10% of all profits made for this book will be donated to corgi rescue.


Sparks Off You

 

2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist (YA)

 

Julie Randeria has always worshipped her smart, independent older sister Maya. When Julie follows Maya to a community college physics class, she sees her degraded and loses faith in her. Sometimes when you lose a little bit of faith, you start along a path to losing all of your self, too. Alienated both from each other and a society determined to see them as exotic others, each sister strikes out on her own as their family mythology continues to unravel. Lyrical and provocative, "Sparks Off You" is an existential coming of age novel that follows two Indian-American sisters trying to find their reality in the Bay Area at the dawn of the tech boom. 

"If THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER had a more literary, female cousin, it would be SPARKS OFF YOU. SPARKS whisks me back to my own high school years with an aching visceral clarity -- it haunts and it hurts, but it's a good kind of pain” —Phoebe Kitanidis, author of WHISPER, GLIMMER and BE MY YOKO ONO

 

Letters to an Albatross

Letters to an Albatross (Blaze Vox 2010) is a collection of poetry about the strangeness of the world. The poems move from the vertiginous magic of the Galapagos Islands to a tsunami's assault on South India and from the darkness of fairytales to a glimpse of whales off a Bay Area bridge.

These poems “embody a ceaseless spirit in a work of great beauty and force, of intelligence and stark humility.” —Geoffrey Gatza, author of Kenmore: Poems Unlimited

“A freshly auspicious debut” —Eileen Tabios, author of The Thorn Rosary

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Other Work

Select Essays & Journalism

Poetry and Fiction

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Blog Posts

I recently had four reviews come out. The first was at The Rumpus for Gallagher Lawson's The Paper Man.  The second was for Tania James's The Tusk That Did the Damage at LARB. The third was a PopMatters review for The Lost Boys Symphony by Mark Andrew Ferguson. I also reviewed Vendela Vida's The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty for the SF Chronicle. I think I'll always be old-fashioned - little excites me more than seeing my work in (news)print as opposed to online.

I also started this podcast: The Marginalia. The first guest was Amitava Kumar. The next guest will be Rafia Zakaria. While actually recording the podcast has been easy, editing it has been fairly difficult, involving the begging of favors from my brother... hence it's going to be an intermittent rather than regular thing.

As for my own fiction, I just got two acceptances that made me happy, one from Necessary Fiction and the other from Strangelet Journal. My short story "The Tiger Left a Widow" recently appeared in Juked #12 (print journal) which is gorgeous.

Although I know story collections are even harder to place than novels, I'm finally putting together a story collection, which is interesting and completely different than novel writing. Most of all, maybe, I find it an excellent break for my mind after spending 4 years getting a bruised brain and ego with CHIMERICA (and the 4 years before that writing a different murder-mystery version of the same book). I continue to power ahead with THE GREAT SARI & MANGO NOVEL- or should I say tetralogy?

Category: Blog

My review of Laura van den Berg's debut novel FIND ME is up at The Rumpus. Here's an excerpt:

"There are certain alluring songs that express a loneliness so aching and stark and beautiful, you want to do nothing but ignore the outside world and lie on your bed and listen to them over and over again. Bon Iver is full of such songs—wintry songs, prehistoric songs, songs out of time. Nick Drake’s Pink Moon is another. You might have a million things to do, but you keep hitting repeat, you keep sending yourself back into that lonely world willingly. The paradox of these loneliness albums is that, if you are of a certain disposition, you feel less lonely and more alive after listening to them, and this is why you’re willing to let them consume you. Rarely does a bleak novel achieve the same alluring strength of sadness. Laura van den Berg’s debut novel Find Meis that rare novel."

 

Category: Blog

I have a new memoir/essay at The Rumpus about an abortion, the passage of time, and The Galapagos: The Waved Albatross. I'm totally taken with the original illustrations by Marc Pearson.

"Two waved albatrosses dip and bend before clicking long gold beaks together, one-two-three-four-five. Already short birds, when their faces near the ground, their beaks, barely hooked at the tip, remain parallel to it. Although their slender necks are white as ice, a careful painter would have to shade in the tiny “waves” of grey and brown at the base of their necks where their plumage shades to the color of butter before darkening to charcoal. Their flattened heads make them look whittled out of wood like marionettes, rather than made of feathers. 

The pair taps back and forth in rapid succession, before one pulls away to point his or her beak at the sky or open his beak wide. After they duel, they dip again, walking around each other honking, as they bob their heads from side to side and strut. Courtship for waved albatrosses looks like a duel, but it leads to love, a charming illustration of the idea that mimicry is a way of empathizing."

Category: Blog

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