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The magic of contemporary short stories is that they are at once fictional constructs and manifestations of the real. So how do you strike that perfect alchemical balance where the reader is right there with you — in that filthy back alley, wearing boots on that concrete shop floor, lying on that sweat-soaked mattress? I think it takes both an inquisitive mind and a kind heart.

SHAWN SYMS: Keeping it real. National Post. September 16, 2014.

Syms will be guest editing The Afterword in the National Post all this week.

Pictured: SHAWN SYMS reading from his new short story collection, Nothing Looks Familiar, at the opening of City Park Library last week.

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