Anara studied writing at the Urban Gateways Young Writers Workshop of Chicago with Kathleen Agena, the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts with Norman Corwin, Columbia College Story Workshop, St. Joseph’s College with Stu Dybek, Bread Loaf Writers Conference with Robert Cohen and Alix Ohlin, and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. She graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston. In 2010, Back Pages Publishing issued her first collection of short stories, The Sound of One Body. Her second story collection, Remedies for Hunger (2014) was named one of the Best Books of 2015 by Chicago Book Review. Read her interview with the Authors Guild.
Her debut novel, Like a Complete Unknown, won Honorable Mention from the Chicago Writers Association's for indie fiction Best Books of 2022, and is an Eric Hoffer Award finalist.
She is also a poet and memoirist. Her poems, improbably enough, have won both a John Crowe Ransom Poetry Prize and a Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize, as well as gold prize from the California State Poetry Society. Her work has recently appeared in The Ear, Gold Man Review, New York Times Tiny Love Stories, Last Stanza Poetry Review, Persimmon Tree, and elsewhere. She and her sister, Gay Guard-Chamberlin, perform their poetry together as Sibling Revelry. Watch videos of Sibling Revelry here and here
Quotes from various Sibling Revelry audiences:
Loved your program! The introductions/backgrounds/history for the poems were perfect as well as breaking up the poetry by themes. The interplay between you also worked really well. – Joanne K.
Your reading was a delight! So much fun to see the similarities and difference between the two of you and your work. You read (and write, of course) so expressively. —Michelle K.
It was such a delight for me. It was such a treat to hear their work and see how they play off one another with their different personalities and styles of writing. It was also fun to hear them read each other’s poems.—Ruth K.
I was very grateful for the brief respite your event provided. I ordered your book, so I am anxious for it to arrive. I think my favorite poem may have been the one about “What is Greater than 45” probably because of our current situation. I also loved the poem about her breasts; something I can relate to these days!—Shelli S.
I really loved hearing both of you together and the way your poetry intersects and yet is so different. I think your "concept" in these readings is just so lovely for this strange time. I can imagine writing a dissertation on both of your work and its--maybe "interplay" is the right word? I was definitely seeing your performance art side in the reading. —Abby B.
So lovely to see the two of you together with all your devotees! It was a delightful hour, so thank you. The poems really do come to life and I think you should think about reading each other’s poems more. It adds a certain freedom to the reading, I think. Nina G.
That was a lot of fun. The poem about the mason jar actually got me alittle misty ("the grandmother's home we long to return to") so I covered my cam for a second to blink back the tears. The ending about the lip meeting our lips is wonderful, too. And I loved the poem about the crow and its knick-knack shelf.—Erika M.