October 14, 2014

Literary Essay Submissions

Cecile’s Writers Magazine now accepts Literary Essay submissions. That’s right, from the father of the literary essay – Michael de Montaigne – to pioneers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walter Benjamin, or even more contemporary essayists like Susan Sontag and Elif Batuman, we here at Cecile’s Writers wish to offer this form of writing a home on our platform.

So please have a look at our submission guidelines and send us those essays on the topics that have intrigued you. Let us join in on your curiosity and share in your beautiful writing.

CW Team

October 10, 2014


‘A nice book’ is my answer to requests for a present on the traditional Dutch Sinterklaas feast, Christmas and birthdays.  The good thing is that all three events take place within two months.  So the number of books on our shelves usually rise between December and January, and should be rather stationary throughout the rest of the year.  In other words, the growth of books ought to be rather limited.

Rather limited.  Hm… I’m just not sure yet in what universe that would apply to me.  Not this one, that’s certain!

Besides the festivities in December and my birthday in January, there are the monthly visits to the bookshop (I do try to keep myself in check) and the book fairs that take place far more often and closer to home than is good for me.  Oh did I mention the couple of weeks before we go on holiday as well?  That’s the official period when my husband and I can go all out on buying books.  After all, one has got to read something during the holidays.

So the number of books increases.

And I like it.

A lot.


“My new books that still have to be read but are piling up faster than I can read” book shelf.

But how do I refer to all those new books that haven’t been read yet?  Dutch doesn’t have a specific word for them, neither does English.  Japanese does.  New books that pile up unread on shelves, floors or nightstands are called tsundoko.  (For the historical origins please check the website of Open Culture.)


I’d like to believe that my unread books are under control, and have not left my bookcase to appear on the floor or on my nightstand.  I even prepared a tsundoko shelf in my bookcase.  I just wonder how long it will be before I will have to give up another shelf.



October 4, 2014

A Life of Their Own

There used to be a time that all my books fitted into one bookcase.

And that single bookcase was not even filled merely with books; there were folders filling up the bottom shelf; a collection of archaeology for kids’ magazines; my collection of cat figurines and on the top shelve stood a dark blue box with a silver mirror, brush and comb.  It all started very innocently, even when the process was fully ongoing I was blind to it.  The perfect take over.

Continue reading

September 13, 2014

Hopes and Impediments by Chinua Achebe

Hopes and ImpedimentsWhere does one begin with the mesmerizing writings of Achebe?  Perhaps with his magical formula:

Simple English + Intellectual Insight + Close Analysis = Beautiful Writing

I think this sums him up, not only of this essay collection, but of his fiction as well.  The 14 essays that make up Hopes and Impediments are primarily from reviews first published in well-known literary magazines or lectures given at universities.  The style is so accessible that even at 170 pages, the book is a quick read.  It would be an added bonus to be interested in African literature or on any of the authors discussed in the reviews, but this is in no way a prerequisite.

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August 23, 2014

Flexible Instruments: Writing in Different Genres

About our guest blogger:

Joe L. Murr has lived on every continent except Antarctica.  He now divides his time between the Netherlands and Finland.  His stories have been published in magazines such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Chizine, Noir Nation and here at Cecile’s Writers, and are forthcoming in Helsinki Noir (Akashic Books) and The Summer of Lovecraft (Chaosium).  For more stories and ruminations, visit www.joelmurrauthor.com

Flexible Instruments: Writing in Different Genres

Every act of definition means imposing limitations.

Case in point: consider “genre fiction.”  Take a moment.  Define it.

All done?

Now define “literary fiction.”

Okay.  Keep those definitions in mind.  Let’s roll.

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August 9, 2014

Killing off Suspense

how-not-to-write-a-novel1There are some books that you hear a lot of people talk about, but you never get around to reading them until years later.  One of those books for me was How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. Whenever I got together with a group of writers, this book would always pop up in conversation.  I quietly listened while they said things like: Continue reading

July 26, 2014

Applying Dutch Grammar to English Words

A few months ago, I wrote about my son’s First (Bilingual) Words. Right now, he combines words to make (very short) sentences, and with sentences come verbs. I’ve noticed that he is already applying Dutch grammar to English verbs.

In Dutch, many verbs (in simple form) end in –en, especially the words in my son’s vocabulary: spelen (play), eten (eat), vasthouden (hold), dragen (carry). He now applies the Dutch –en to English verbs; I hear him say things like “I go playen” and “I not liken”.

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July 18, 2014

Weird Grammar: “Word Crimes” video

This song will appeal to anyone who has ever studied, worked or simply loves languages, especially English.

Weird Al Yankovic’s song “Word Crimes”


Have a lovely day!


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