Our Spotlight series introduces you to the people behind Perennial Press. In our second post, we hear from press editor and fellow writer Tiffany Niles. Niles talks to us about her current reading list, staying creative during quarantine, and leaves us with one of her favorite quotes from Leigh Bardugo.
What book are you reading right now? Why? / How did you find it?
I am reading two books at the moment. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and Shut Up You’re Pretty by Tea Muntonji. I am reading A Little Life for fun after watching Paperbackdreams’ youtube reaction video. It’s apparently soul-crushing and that excited me, so I’m diving in headfirst. Shut Up You’re Pretty has been on my tbr for some time and I was just recently hired to do CanLit reviews for Shrapnel Magazine so I chose that as my first read. I love Vivek Shraya and everything she does, so I make it a point to purchase books released by VS Books, Shraya’s publishing imprint through Arsenal.
What is your involvement with Perennial Press?
I saw a post on Madi’s other instagram page @ArtOpenCalls looking for submission and help curating a new zine coming out. I had recently decided to look into editing as well as writing, but because I had no formal training I was willing to raise my hand for anything that came along. Madi just happened to welcome me with virtual open arms. Now I am a co-editor alongside her. I help read through submissions, work out anthology ideas, figure out digital press and promote our chosen authors when we get them.
How do you stay creative during quarantine?
I actually haven’t been too creative during quarantine. I have been living in Vancouver, BC and I managed to keep my job so I’ve been working full time since everything shut down. I have been editing and adding to the novels I have been writing however. So it’s still writing and working, but it takes less concentration than building a story from day zero. It fulfills my need to stay distracted, but also gets things accomplished as well without being too much of a burden.
Did you go to school for writing / art? Describe that experience. If not, what tools or resources helped you learn?
I actually went to Long Beach City College and obtained my AA in Creative Writing. I was in Vancouver, attending UBC for my BFA when Covid hit and I am currently taking a break from my studies to focus more on my writing and finding work in that field. School was great. I had taken ten years off to enjoy most of my twenties and at twenty-eight I enrolled to try and get a degree. Knowing that higher education was my own want and not a necessity, it made learning fun for the first time. I learned so much from my professors and I take that with me now into the real world. It was a great experience that I’m happy I pursued even if I probably won’t finish.
Leave us with an artistic gift: a word, a phrase, a poem, a quote, a painting… why did you choose that?
“But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”—- Inej Ghafa from Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom
I just love well-written characters. I love strong females in my books and since I read a lot of spec fic and sci-fi, it’s important for me to highlight those characters. Inej had such a hard start in life and became such a goddess of a young woman in Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom and it was this quote that just sang through to my heart. Girls with nothing have to find a way to make something. Find a way to spin yarn into gold, hope from thin air. It’s just a beautiful damn quote and everyone needs to read that duology.
Find more of Tiffany’s work, including updates on her own publications and screenshots at her latest manuscript drafts on Instagram: @tifwrites