About Me

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Award-winning poet and short story writer from Cyprus. Published three collections of poetry: The Voice at the Top of the Stairs (2001), Cleft in Twain (2003) and 25 Ways to Kiss a Man (2004). Cleft in Twain was cited by The Guardian in an article on the literature of the new European Union member states in 2004. My work has won prizes and commendations in various international competitions: among others, in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, the Féile Filíochta International Poetry Competition (Ireland) and the Binnacle International Ultra-Short Competition at the University of Maine at Machias, USA. In addition to a book of short stories, Ledra Street (2006), I have had work published online and in journals internationally. My work was included in Best European Fiction 2011 (Dalkey Archive Press) and in the poetry anthology Being Human (Bloodaxe Books, 2011). Girl, Wolf, Bones – a new book of fairy tale inspired microfiction – was published in 2011.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Author and the Girl

The author’s life is full of knots and the girl’s eyes untie them.

One night in Ciechocinek the sky painted storms and his hands trembled, he was so fascinated by her. In the kitchen, the girl pounded cinnamon in a mortar. The world was incoherent but she made perfect sense of it. And when she did, everything smiled.

One morning, one wild morning, twenty years ago, she was born. Pogrebinsky, Mila. I insist: let me taste your lips, pat you, touch you, smell you, love you, because one day, light years from now, your  smile will have wrinkles, your lovely heart will be tame, said the author.  And I will be a tailor’s dummy.

You are phosphorescence and a crystal chandelier in my dreams, for now. And she smiles, even though she can’t hear him think. Her skirt looks amused.

Centuries later, they meet by Czarny Staw.

Could you move your face a little to one side, please? she asks. I think I know you. She speaks with a slight accent, clink, clink, clink, as delicate as porcelain.

He doesn’t know it yet, but this is the last day of his life.

I wrote a book about you, he tells her. But the story needs another page, another hour. The hero in the book is old, and he’s getting older. Can you put his younger face back on? There is also a crack in his heart which you must fill with plots without knots, cinnamon and rosewater, yellow evenings.

The girl (who is now a woman) understands. She has lived long and when the moment comes, when he is suddenly not there, not here, she tiptoes around his empty suit. She searches the pockets for words, paragraphs, pages. Finds nothing. Makes perfect sense of it all.

© Nora Nadjarian

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I can't believe it's been almost a year...

It's been a strange year, with ups and downs and ups and downs. Isn't that the way life goes?

I haven't really been able to concentrate on blogging, but am pleased with some of my literary successes. Some are still pending, so I can't really announce them to the world.

I think the best thing that's happened in the past few months was being published in "World Literature Today", a beautiful journal.

Well, avanti con successo! Or whatever they say in Italian.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And the winner is...

I am delighted to announce that my poem "The Name" is the winner of the unFold 2012 Poetry Garden Show. Thank you to the judges

And congratulations to the following poets, who received Honorable Mentions: dt.haase, Ben Nardolilli and Linda Leedy Schneider.

The Name

I remembered the name of the lilac tree
years after you told me.

I’m sorry I never retained plant names.
Only shades, and shapes.

Our whitewashed wall was once my favourite
but even that is fading.

© Nora Nadjarian

You can watch the beautiful animation they made of my winning poem here:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Aphrodite Rising

In the audience,
the eyes of the astonished shells.

My body is water,
voluminous, untamed.

My body is light,
craved, dazzling, an enigma.

My body is sand,
flowing upwards through the hourglass,
filling me, pushing me into lucid air,
bathing me with transparence,
gushing me into perfection,
sculpting me free.

I am becoming a goddess.
I am rising.

 © Nora Nadjarian

From  "Cleft in Twain"

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cheque Republic

The Czech girl talks non-stop, in Czech. I have no idea what she’s saying but I’m nodding my head from time to time, just so she doesn’t think I’m a fake. On the train, we’re crossing borders. Austria, Czech Republic. On the way to Břeclav. She’s saying she’s a single mother of twins. Or that her boyfriend is sixteen years older than she is. And that she sells hand-made jewellery by day and sings by night. Or that she hates what she sees in the mirror every morning. And that she spends what she earns on make-up and clothes and hides a tiny diary in the pocket of her leather jacket. And, Or. Neither, Nor.

Czech is one hell of a language. If only I knew what she were talking about. Maybe giving directions to Babylon. Straight ahead, turn right, then left, then join the dots around the park opposite the castle… You’ll see it. You can’t miss it. Maybe she thinks in Czech, dreams in German, pretends in English. Babylon is a beautiful place after all. Like that hall where a Danish poet and his American translator decided to read the poem and the translation at the same time. Simultaneous translation and original on top of each other, layers and layers of. It was lovely, I finally understood everything about language. I loved that poem.

We get off in Břeclav and the girl asks me if I need a taxi to Valtice. I nod and then shake my head as if to say: we can share, but I only have euros, no crowns. It’s almost like admitting I’m a fraud, not a single crown on me, not even on my head. We drink some young wine in a musty cellar in Valtice and I decide to tell her everything about me. Except that she isn’t here.

And if Someone asked me to spell the word Czech right now, I’d probably hesitate and think of my cheque book. And if I were American, it might be Check. Homophones should be spelt the same way, I’d say, to avoid confusing innocents. And Someone would verify that I’m a complete and utter phony. And then I would ask that Someone to tell me the truth, as he or she knows it, even if it were in Czech.

© Nora Nadjarian  

 First Published in LITnIMAGE

Monday, June 4, 2012


sometimes in my dreams
i am naked picking cherries
my body undressed of you
were we really two or one-

the leftover pips say two
too hard pips they are dead
but the memory of cherry flesh
is raw it bleeds my mouth sweetly
wakes my body with each bite-

months years later my lips
are still red moist

© Nora Nadjarian
from "25 Ways to Kiss a Man"

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Truth Is...

... I don't do much to promote myself. And so, I've decided that starting from today and throughout the month of June, I will be posting snippets from my own work published in books and online.

I start off with a small excerpt from my micronovel "The Republic of Love", published by BluePrintPress in 2010.

In the beginning. It is the fifth of July, exactly six days before I once met Danny. I live in a house with pale blue walls, the colour of sky. The house has many windows, each of which is a different gilt-framed painting, through which I can see beauty if I look hard enough.
            I am reading a letter:

            Tomorrow will be the beginning of your life. Tomorrow you will cross a bridge and embark on an authentic journey. Soon, a man will take you 2356 kilometres away from your old life, in a boat smelling of oil and fish and salt. You will wonder when you will ever step out onto the quay of another port, how long it will take before you can put down the two bags containing all your possessions in the world. You’re finding it difficult to balance the two, to do a balancing act with the two bags: Keep nothing in your left pocket, empty the right-hand side of your brain of negative thoughts, stop the boat from overturning.
            At night, you will both fall asleep together in a small cabin where the wind will blow into your dreams making a hollow sound, a door opening, closing, opening, closing. You will wake up in broad daylight, floating over the ocean, watching a landscape full of lines and wild colours and strange brushstrokes. The earth is full of love and truth, yes, but you know that already, don’t you. You will travel in the right direction. It will feel secure, it will feel natural, like the journey of water.

            I live in a house with pale blue walls and white furniture. It makes you think you live somewhere near the sky, or that you live in a dream. You could never be angry in this house, but you might feel lonely as you walk from room to room expecting to find something which is never where you last left it. It is not a house designed for one person, not even for two. It is large enough to have an entire family of five or six living happily, filling it with love and laughter.
            I inherited the house from an uncle of mine who never married and never had children. He was a dentist. Strange isn’t it, that he made his money from bad teeth, and the only recollection I have of him is this image: him dropping an egg on our kitchen floor, when attempting to make me an omelette.
            What’s that got to do with anything, Danny didn’t ask, when I told him the story...