Nadia Bulkin’s short stories have appeared in editions of The Year’s Best Weird Fiction (Kelly & Shearman, ed., 2018, Kelly & Strantzas, ed., 2016), The Best Horror of the Year (Datlow, ed., 2017), and The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror (Guran, ed., 2017, 2016, 2015, 2009). Thirteen of her stories are included in her debut collection, She Said Destroy (Word Horde), which was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. Four of her short stories (“Intertropical Convergence Zone,” “Absolute Zero,” “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” and “Live Through This”) have also been nominated for Shirley Jackson Awards.
Nadia has a B.A. in Political Science from Barnard College (Columbia University) and an M.A. in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service. Her non-fiction essays on sport and nationalism have appeared in Tor, The Classical, The Diplomat, and The Battle Royale Slam Book (Haikasoru).
She grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, with her Javanese father (the late Farchan Bulkin) and American mother (Jan Hostetler), before relocating to Lincoln, Nebraska. She currently lives in Washington, D.C., where she does not work for the government. She has a black cat named Piper (after her favorite Charmed witch), who is the light of her life.
19 thoughts on “About”
Howdy! Read your story in ChiZine. Pretty badass. Keep it up!
Just read your short story “Everything Dies, Baby” on Strange Horizons. Loved it! Keep it up!
Still remember me?
Jakarta, Dad’s office…
you used tobe standing on my desk
Of course I remember! Are you still in Jakarta? I hope you’re doing well!
So, you’re daughter of Dr Farchan Bulkin, right?
Yes, I am indeed! Did you know him?
Nadia, I’m trying to get in touch with you regarding your story in Three-lobed Burning Eye magazine #17. Please contact me. -Andrew
Hi Nadia, I loved your Black Apples story! Also very interested in your perspective on Indonesia. I hope we get a chance to chat at some point 🙂 – Natalia
Halo nadia , I your far relatives from your father , my father and yours are cousins , did you ever been to pekalongan? Your father hometown
Hello! I have been to Pekalongan a few times, very long ago. I’m glad to meet you, Salman. Are you in Indonesia?
Yes I’m in indonesia, in semarang city, my parents still in pekalongan,when you will come to indonesia btw I’m already asked friend in your facebook, please accept ok 🙂 thanks in advance
Just have to say that read your “Red Goat Black Goat” story not so far and liked it 🙂
Here’s my drawing ispired by it: https://pp.vk.me/c637223/v637223002/31748/TqoRJKm2-G0.jpg
Wish you luck and further inspiration!
Hi Nadia, I was also a friend of your father’s. Is he still around? Contacts please? Thank you.
Hi Julia – thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately my father passed away in 1998 in Jakarta.
I was a close friend of your father, Farchan, when we were both graduate students in political science at the University of Washington. A student of Daniel Lev, he was a brilliant student, influenced highly by Max Weber at the time, He was a good man, with great honesty and integrity. I missed him when he left Washington to finish up at Cornell (I think it was Cornell). We drove across country from Seattle together in his sky blue Volkswagen bug. i went as far as Chicago with him, after stopping for an evening in St. Paul, Minnesota, where we stayed for an evening in my mother’s house. We hit a terrifyingly thick fog along the way which prohibited us from even seeing five feet in front of the car. We were lucky to have survived. In approximately 1989 Farchan and i spent a day in New York City where he had to have paperwork completed at the Indonesian Embassy. I had just started a position at Rutgers University in the communication program. The day seemed to last forever. The people at the Embassy seemed intent on giving Farchan a hard time. We were made to wait in the lobby for most of the day. I was indignant, but Farchan calmed me and said he was accustomed to such routine inconveniences. I could tell Indonesia was beating your father down. Always presenting himself with dignity, and intent on pursuing intellectual questions, but it was obvious his past years in Jakarta had frayed his nerves.
Your father was a close friend and a good friend. I always believed him to be an extraordinary human being. I miss him very much.
Hi Michael – thanks for your kind comment and for sharing those stories about my father (I have heard of this Volkswagen bug!). I’m sure he likewise valued and appreciated your friendship. And yes, it was Cornell, where he met my mother. I think you’re right to say that his time in Jakarta had frayed his nerves. It was very stressful for him toward the end, and I have no doubt that it contributed to his stroke. Nonetheless, he was a wonderful and supportive father in the time he had.
Nadia, I have no doubt that Farchan was indeed a wonderful and supportive father. I see him in your eyes and your smile!
Another story or two, and then I’ll desist, promise. Frequently, late at night, well after midnight, I’d knock on Farchan’s door, always confident that he would be in his tiny apartment/room awake and studying. We’d then walk down the Ave to a little 24-hour hole-in-the-wall cafe, the name of which eludes my memory. There we’d talk — mostly argue about the world, Farchan drawing upon Weber, me usually Marx — sometimes until dawn. I’d order coffee, his usual was tea.
It wasn’t easy for Farchan. Foreign country, a foreign language. But he adapted so well! Sometimes I’d forget he was from Indonesia. I recall once hearing him complain about something or other and I teased him by singing a phrase torn from a Dylan song: “little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously; he brags of his misery…” Of course I was being
insensitive. But he accepted the light-hearted criticism in good cheer, despite surely knowing that I had no conception of what were his individual struggles in a grad program many thousands of miles from his home.
Then one night, this probably back in maybe 1978 or 79 — well before the idea of diversity was being floated throughout the culture — your father and I got into a real knock-down argument. I think I was taking something of a universalist view of language, and Farchan was being the relativist in the argument. It may have been the other way around, of course, because neither Farchan’s nor my own ideas were confidently fixed in place at that time. Perhaps the argument was tied (as often was) to my culturally privileged position vs his experiences of cultural otherness and alienation. But, so, in order to drive home my point, I noted how the sounds made by a machine gun were identical across cultures. Farchan challenged: “So, Mike, just what DOES the universal sound of a machine gun sound like to everyone?” I responded: “Da-da-da-da-da-da-da….” Farchan scoffed and violently shook his head. “No!” So, I challenged him. Farchan’s response: “GAH-GAH-GAH-GAH-GAH-GAH-GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” My da-da was trilled, and glibly so. His GAHs were from the gut. I was stunned by the contrast he provided. My sound was gleaned from Hollywood movies; his sound emanated from experience.
We stood there, in a dark alley, 2 in the morning, glaring at one another. Then we both broke into riotous laughter. By the expression on my face, Farchan knew he had won the argument. Below the surface of my expression, I had just been given (perhaps my first) a direct and unforgettable lesson in cultural diversity. I had always respected Farchan. But after that evening, I realized he wasn’t simply my equal, but was also a truly extraordinary person. To have gotten to where we stood that evening, I had travelled a few states consisting of plains and a mountain range. Farchan had travelled across an expansive ocean, and doing so only after having learned a foreign language and the discourse of western academia. When discussing cultural diversity with my classes today in Southern California where I have taught for the past 25 years or so, I always tell this story.
All best to you, Nadia. And should you ever find yourself in San Diego or Los Angeles, let me know. I’d love to sit and share a tea or coffee with you some day.
Michael, by all means, I love hearing these stories! It really helps me learn more about him. I was ten when he passed away, so I didn’t really get to see this side of him at all (even though I eventually studied political science to try to follow in his footsteps a little bit), and I really appreciate any sort of insight into who he was as a person and not just a worrywart dad. I’ll definitely let you know if I’m in the SD/LA area!