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Author Amber Sparks Takes Us Into Her 'Unfinished World'

D.C. resident and author Amber Sparks reads a selection from her book "The Unfinished World and Other Stories."
Tayla Burney/WAMU
D.C. resident and author Amber Sparks reads a selection from her book "The Unfinished World and Other Stories."

On a very rainy day in February, I was lucky enough to sit down with local author Amber Sparks to discuss her new work of short fiction: "The Unfinished World and Other Stories" as part of our WAMU In Your Bookstore series.

Amber shared with me shortly before the event that she was an actress in a previous life, so to kick off the event I asked her to do a dramatic reading of "Thirteen Ways of Destroying a Painting," one of the shorter stories in her collection. Teasing it would ruin it, but it's an excellent taste of her natural sensitivity to the fantastic.

Many of the stories in this collection are riffs on classic stories in the European and Asian traditions. I sensed a distinct feminist undercurrent running through her retelling of these old-feeling stories though, which prompted me to ask about her history with fairy tales. Here's her response:

The range of the stories in the collection is not limited to fairy tales though. When I was describing the book to friends, the summary of different settings, plots and styles felt not entirely dissimilar to BBC's classic time-traveling adventurer Doctor Who. Where in the world does Amber get this stuff? She gamely answers:

Intrigued? You can listen to the entire conversation with Amber about her book The Unfinished World:

And make sure to join us at our next WAMU In Your Bookstore event. Upcoming events can be found at


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