Short-listed for the Commonwealth ‘Best First Book’ and Wales Book of the Year.
A unique and enthralling collection from a prize-winning author, these short stories are sure to enthrall. In addition to being shortlisted for the Best First Book Award in the Eurasia Commonwealth Writers Prize, this collection was also shortlisted for Welsh Book of the Year 2003.
Praise for Diving Girls
“The fusion of playfully handled unifying images with more sophisticated emotional explorations is brilliantly achieved in this highly rewarding collection.” — New Welsh Review, March, 2003
“These stories combine tenderness and truthfulness in equal measures. A refining wit and scepticism permeate and control a intensely lyrical narrative.” — Robert Nisbet
“This exquisitely crafted collection of stories creeps up on you. Each story is a vivid new perspective on contemporay life. I especially loved the twist in the tale “Too Perfect.”Jo Mazelis has a keen, discerning eye which ranges across the follies,insecurities and prejudices of society. Deceptively simple it is a highly readable book which I can see myself re reading many times.”
“I am not usually a reader of short stories, but each one of these is a little gem. Jo Mazelis’ descriptive ability is stunning and the observations are comical and hit a nerve at the same time. Keep up the good work.”
“These are some of the best short stories I have ever read in that they all stand up well on their own and they have a point, rather than being a short description of something or an idea which never really developed.”
“Half way through I was nervous that the collection might fade away and I’d be let down by the second half, but this didnt happen. I have ordered Jo Mazelis’ second collection and look forward to many more gems!”
Listen to Jo reading from Diving Girls here.
Long-listed for Wales Book of the Year
Nicky is heavily pregnant and should be looking forward to a new home-life. But her mother-in-law has other plans. Ethan’s plans do not involve his mother – until he’s expecting his second child and things come full circle. Alec is playing at hating his neighbour’s extreme Christmas decorations, up to the moment love strikes and changes all the rules. A young dad’s impatient care transforms to grace once he allows himself into his small daughter’s game. The instinct to make rivals; the urge to reach out to others. These competing claims – and flawed, elusive love – are the territory of these nineteen rich stories. “Circle Games” probes our darker fantasies of power, control and revenge, in a world not far removed from Grimm’s menacing forests, where games are seldom innocent.
Praise for Circle Games
“Jo Mazelis’ new collection is dark, disconcerting and full of surprises.” Mavis Cheek –Sullen Art
“Jo Mazelis’ second collection of stories is powerful and thought provoking. The characters are memorable in terms of how they are represented in the stories and the situations they find themselves in.”
“The winning element of her work is that the ‘ordinary’ is transformed into the ‘extraordinary’ through the effective observation of life and the complexities of human interaction. There is a strong sense of disillusionment in ‘Circle Games’. Mazelis takes us beneath the surface of everyday life and urges us to reflect and question who we are.”
“Circle Games’ leaves you disturbed and dislocated – with a feeling that all is not quite right, that there’s an itch you can’t locate. Which is quite as it should be. Jo Mazelis’s short stories are, on the surface, concerned with the everyday – for the most part small slices of life that one is quick to identify with, where something is always familiar. But there is no sense of ease, everything falls just short of closure, and her images return to you again and again – the literary equivalent of looking at a Paula Rego painting. She writes of the small incidents that can have a lifetime’s impact, but isn’t concerned with finding out what hapened next. This is both generous and cruel – we can’t help but wonder how her characters’ lives moved on, and also can’t help feeling that each incident leaves a scar or a blemish or a journey interrupted. Highly recommended…”
Jo Mazelis is the author of short stories, non-fiction and poetry. Her collection of stories, Diving Girls (Parthian, 2002), was short-listed for the Commonwealth ‘Best First Book’ and Wales Book of the Year. Her second book, Circle Games (Parthian, 2005), was long-listed for Wales Book of the Year. Her stories and poetry have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in various anthologies and magazines, and translated into Danish.
Born and educated in Swansea Jo returned to her home town in 1991 after working in London for many years. During the 1980s she worked as a graphic designer, photographer and illustrator for the magazines City Limits, Women’s Review, Spare Rib, Undercurrents, Everywoman and New Dance.