The First Two Pages: “Hey Bulldog” by Anjili Babbar

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

This week concludes a series of essays by contributors to the new anthology Happiness Is a Warm Gun: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the Beatles, and in a nice twist, today’s post is also the second this month by a debut fiction writer! Earlier this month, we hosted collaborators Dru Ann Love and Kristopher Zgorski on their debut short story, “Ticket to Ride,” and now Anjili Babbar discusses “Hey Bulldog,” her own first published short story. Hey Bulldog” unfolds against the backdrop of—make that: is intertwined with—American academia, diversity initiatives, systemic racism, bureaucracy, and more. Babbar’s own background is in academia—she talks about her students in the essay below—with a focus on Irish and British literature and on crime fiction and criminality. And hey! In addition to her debut story, Anjili is also celebrating her new book, Finders: Justice, Faith, and Identity in Irish Crime Fiction, out now from Syracuse University Press, in which she explores how Irish crime writers “subvert literary traditions and genre conventions.”

Edited by Josh Pachter, Happiness Is a Warm Gun features stories by Michael Bracken, Paul Charles, John Copenhaver, David Dean, Martin Edwards, John M. Floyd, Robert Lopresti, Tom Mead, Christine Poulson, Marilyn Todd, and Joseph S. Walker in addition to Anjili, Dru Ann, and Kristopher, mentioned above, and the two other contributors who’ve appeared this month at the First Two Pages: Kate Ellis writing about the collection’s title story and Vaseem Khan on “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Congratulations to all the contributors—and special shout-out today to Anjili for all her success!

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.