We curate an events series that puts nationally touring writers in conversation with local Philadelphia writers. All events are free & open to the public. We also host an informal writers happy hour on the third Sunday of each month. Click here for images from our past events.
John James is the author of The Milk Hours, selected by Henri Cole as the winner of the second annual Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, published by Milkweed Editions in June 2019. His poems appear in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Best American Poetry 2017, and elsewhere. His work has been supported through fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers' Conference, the Academy of American Poets, and the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University. He is pursuing a PhD in English and Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley.
“The poetry of the earth is intensely alive in the poems of John James. In this luminous first book, there are poems of a son and a young father. Many of the best inhabit a tormented Kentucky landscape where there is a field with horses, a house and a barn, a flooding river, a cemetery where a parent lies, and bees or flies hovering. Out of the sorrowful fragments of personal history, John James has a created a book of unusual intelligence and beauty.”
“The titular poem in John James’s debut collection refers not only to the luminous hour of infant nurture, although that is its occasion, but to the violent loss of his father, an event distant enough that ‘snowmelt smoothes the stone cuts of his name.’ James’s searing attention is upon the fleeting, the untethered, upon fecundity and decay, the cosmic and the molecular. These are also the poems of a young father’s daily life in the wane of empire, who wishes ‘to remember things purely, to see them / As they are,’ and who recognizes in what he sees our peril. ‘The end,’ he writes, ‘we’re moving toward it.’ James is, then, a poet of our precarious moment, and The Milk Hours is his gift to us.”
Grady Chambers is the author of North American Stadiums (Milkweed Editions, 2018) selected by Henri Cole as the winner of the inaugural Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. His poems and stories have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, Joyland, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. Grady was born and raised in Chicago. He is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow, and lives in Philadelphia.
One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls–sisters, eight and eleven–go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women.
Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty–densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska–and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused.
Julia Phillips is a Fulbright fellow whose writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, and The Paris Review. She lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel, Disappearing Earth, was published in 2019 to wide acclaim.
Jennifer Wilson is a writer and critic. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. She received a PhD in Russian Literature from Princeton University and currently teaches writing at Rutgers University. You can find her in Philadelphia and on Twitter (@JenLouiseWilson).
“A genuine masterpiece, but one that is easily consumed in a feverish stay-up-all-night bout of reading pleasure. It's as much a portrait of humanity as of a small Kamchatka community."
“Disappearing Earth is not only a viscerally wide-ranging introduction to the land and culture of the Kamchatka Peninsula, as well as a missing persons thriller—as beautifully written as it was, I still couldn’t turn the pages fast enough—it’s also a wrenching meditation on the agonies of those losses to which we never fully adjust. This is a dazzlingly impressive first novel.”
Jami Attenberg is the author of six books: Instant Love, The Kept Man, The Melting Season, New York Times bestseller The Middlesteins, Saint Mazie, and national bestseller All Grown Up, which was published in March 2017 in the US and the UK, and in Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Poland, Russia, China, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Portugal and Hungary in 2018. Her seventh book, All This Could Be Yours, will be published on October 22, 2019.
A Most Anticipated title from: Buzzfeed, BookRiot, LitHub, The Millions, The Week, and Good Housekeeping
“Prickly and unsentimental, but never quite hopeless, Attenberg poet laureate of difficult families, captures the relentlessly lonely beauty of being alive.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“Dazzling . . . A delectable family saga.”
—Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
“An ambitious and utterly delectable novel about families and their secrets that opens up, pleasurably, like a set of nesting dolls."
—Kelly Link, author of Get In Trouble
“Jami Attenberg's work is so deeply attuned to humans and our imperfect attempts to love each other. All This Could Be Yours is populated by Attenberg's pitch-perfect characters; flawed, recognizable people dealing with big topics--death, family, sex, love--and Attenberg handles it all with an expert touch and a keen sense of what, despite all the sadness and secrets, keeps people connected, striving for moments of beauty and tenderness in a dark world.”
—Emma Cline, author of The Girls
Liz Moore is the author of four novels, including Long Bright River, which will be published by Riverhead in January 2020. Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in venues such as Tin House, The New York Times, and Narrative Magazine. She is the winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, Philadelphia's Athenaeum Literary Award, and a 2014 Rome Prize in Literature. She lives with her family in Philadelphia and is a faculty member of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Temple University.
Thomas Devaney is the author of Getting to Philadelphia (Hanging Loose Press, 2019) and recipient of 2014 Pew Fellowship for Poetry. In November 2019 Black Square Editions will publish You Are the Battery. He is co-director of the documentary The Bicentennial in Philadelphia (slated for 2020).
Devaney’s work is featured in Best American Poetry 2019 and his poem “ The Blue Stoop ” is the adopted name of a community literary hub founded in Philadelphia in 2018. His other books include Runaway Goat Cart, the solo-opera Calamity Jane, and The Picture that Remains with photographer Will Brown. Devaney’s reviews and interviews have been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Brooklyn Rain, Hyperallergic, and BOMB Magazine. He teaches at Haverford College
**Sponsored by the UPenn Creative Writing Program **
Jaquira Díaz is the author of ORDINARY GIRLS, a memoir, forthcoming from Algonquin Books. She is a 2016-18 Kenyon Review Fellow, and recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, the Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts. A finalist for The Krause Essay Prize, she's been awarded fellowships or scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, Summer Literary Seminars, the Tin House Summer Writers' Workshop, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her work appears in The Best American Essays 2016, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The FADER, Kenyon Review, The Sun, Salon, Brevity, Tin House online, Gulf Coast, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Longreads, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and nytimes.com, among other publications. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's MFA Program in Creative Writing, and Consulting Editor at the Kenyon Review.
CARMEN MARIA MACHADO's is the author of the memoir In the Dream House (October 2019) and the short story collection Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literature Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, Michener-Copernicus Foundation, Elizabeth George Foundation, CINTAS Foundation, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.
Tommy “Teebs” Pico is author of the books IRL, Nature Poem, Junk, Feed, and myriad keen tweets including “sittin on the cock of the gay.” Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now splits his time between Los Angeles and Brooklyn. He co-curates the reading series Poets with Attitude, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub.
Feed (forthcoming from Tin House Books 2019) is the fourth book in the Teebs tetralogy, partly an epistolary recipe for the main character, a juke box of nourishments, and a jaunty walk through the High Line park in New York, with the lines and the stanzas and the paragraphs and the dialogue and the registers approximating the park's cultivated gardens of wildness. Amongst its questions, Feed asks what's the difference between being alone and being lonely? Can you ever really be friends with an ex? What's the perfect Mac & Cheese recipe? Feed is an ode of reconciliation to the wild inconsistencies of a northeast spring, a frustrating season of back-and-forth, of thaw and blizzard, but with a faith that among the mess it knows where it's going.
zach blackwood is a poet and performance curator in philadelphia, pa. he made the chapbook, SEXY UNIQUE HOLLOW POINT, out now from glo worm press. he has poems published in peach mag, occulum, bedfellows magazine, maudlin house, and elsewhere. he is available on the world wide web @blackwhom.
Sponsored by Root Quarterly
Sarah Rose Etter's debut novel THE BOOK OF X tells the tale of Cassie, a girl born with her stomach twisted in the shape of a knot. From childhood with her parents on the family meat farm, to a desk job in the city, to finally experiencing love, she grapples with her body, men, and society, all the while imagining a softer world than the one she is in. Twining the drama of the everyday—school-age crushes, paying bills, the sickness of parents—with the surreal—rivers of thighs, men for sale and fields of throats—Cassie’s realities alternate to create a blurred, fantastic world of haunting beauty.
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“Etter brilliantly, viciously lays bare what it means to be a woman in the world, what it means to hurt, to need, to want, so much it consumes everything.” —Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist
“I loved every page of this gorgeous, grotesque, heartbreaking novel.”
—Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
“The Book of X traverses the mundane and the surreal—from grocery lists to blooming meat, menstrual blood to a jealousy removal shop—laying bare the absurdities of womanhood. A truly original writer, Etter continues to push the boundaries of her imagination... and ours.” —Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces
“Insightful and incisive, this book cuts deep into the failing heart of the feminine mystique.”
—Amelia Gray, author of Isadora and Gutshot
SARAH ROSE ETTER is the author of Tongue Party (Caketrain Press). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cut, Electric Literature, VICE, Guernica, Philadelphia Weekly, and more. She is the recipient of writing residencies at the Disquiet International Program in Portugal, and the Gullkistan Creative Program in Iceland. She earned her MFA from Rosemont College. She lives in San Francisco.
CARMEN MARIA MACHADO's debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literature Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, Michener-Copernicus Foundation, Elizabeth George Foundation, CINTAS Foundation, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.
Come out to hang with friends, drink some drinks & hear words from four of the buzziest & most talented debut prose authors of this summer/fall--Camille Acker, Sarah Broom, Kimberly King Parsons & Joseph Scapellato. Books by Head & the Hand books & drinks available for purchase. Doors at 6pm, reading at 7pm.
Camille Acker is the author of the short story collection, Training School for Negro Girls, published by (Feminist Press in 2018. She grew up in Washington DC and holds a B.A. in English from Howard University as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New Mexico State University. Her writing has received support from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Voices of Our Nations Arts, Millay Colony for the Arts, Norman Mailer Writers Colony, and the Callaloo Writers' Workshop, among others. She was a fiction co-editor for Dismantle: An Anthology from the VONA/Voices Workshop (Thread Makes Blanket Press, 2014). She has taught at New Mexico State University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Chicago Writers Studio. Her writing has appeared in a number of outlets including The New York Time Book Review, LitHub, Publishers Weekly, Electric Literature, VICE, and DAME Magazine.
Sarah M. Broom is a writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Oxford American, and O, The Oprah Magazineamong others. A native New Orleanian, she received her Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. She was awarded a Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant in 2016 and was a finalist for the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction in 2011. She has also been awarded fellowships at Djerassi Resident Artists Program and The MacDowell Colony. She lives in New York State.
Kimberly King Parsons is the author of Black Light, a short story collection forthcoming from Vintage on August 13, 2019. She is a recipient of fellowships from Columbia University and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and her fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Best Small Fictions, No Tokens, the Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Her website is www.kimberlykingparsons.com.
Joseph Scapellato is the author of the novel, The Made-Up Man (2019), and the story collection, Big Lonesome (2017). He earned his MFA in Fiction at New Mexico State University. Joseph's work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Gulf Coast, Post Road, PANK, Unsaid, and other literary magazines, and has been anthologized in Harper Perennial's Forty Stories, Gigantic Books' Gigantic Worlds: An Anthology of Science Flash Fiction, and &NOW's The Best Innovative Writing. He is an assistant professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at Bucknell University and lives in Lewisburg, PA, with his wife, daughter, and dog.
CATHERINE CHUNG was a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a Granta New Voice, and a Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from The University of Chicago and worked at a think tank in Santa Monica before receiving her MFA from Cornell University. She has published work in The New York Times and Granta and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.
“Catherine Chung has written a deft, spellbinding emotional puzzle-box of a book, rich and intricately layered. The Tenth Muse slowly, carefully builds to turn your every expectation on its head, and reading it feels like a glimpse of what mathematics might be in the eyes of its ablest practitioners—both secret and sublime.” —Téa Obreht
“Reading The Tenth Muse is like setting out on a boat for a short trip and finding the way back barred by waves that grow taller and taller. And then the boat itself turns out to be a riddle; a paper boat, each leaf bound to the other with equations of fearsome beauty. Arresting in scope and its treatment of time, its prose at turns crystalline and richly balletic, this story pulls puzzle from puzzle—human, historical, and all too contemporary.” —Helen Oyeyemi
From childhood, Katherine knows she is different, and that her parents are not who they seem to be. But in becoming a mathematician, she must face the most human of problems—who is she? What is the cost of love, and what is the cost of ambition?
On her quest to conquer the Riemann hypothesis, the greatest unsolved mathematical problem of her time, she turns to a theorem with a mysterious history that holds both the lock and key to her identity, and to secrets long buried during World War II in Germany. Forced to confront some of the most consequential events of the twentieth century and rethink everything she knows of herself, she strives to take her place in the world of higher mathematics and finds kinship in the stories of the women who came before her—their love of the language of numbers connecting them across generations.
In The Tenth Muse, Catherine Chung offers a gorgeous, sweeping tale about legacy, identity, and the beautiful ways the mind can make us free.
JESSAMINE CHAN’s short fiction has appeared in Tin House and Epoch. A former reviews editor for Publishers Weekly, she holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her work has received support from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Wurlitzer Foundation, Jentel, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Anderson Center, VCCA, and Ragdale. Currently living in Philadelphia, she is finishing her first novel, The School for Good Mothers.
***SEATING SOLD OUT, STANDING ROOM ONLY****
Doors at 7, reading at 7:30
KRISTEN ARNETT is a queer fiction and essay writer. She was awarded Ninth Letter's 2015 Literary Award in Fiction, was runner-up for the 2016 Robert Watson Literary Prize at The Greensboro Review, and was a finalist for Indiana Review's 2016 Fiction Prize. She's a columnist for Literary Hub and her work has appeared or is upcoming at North American Review, The Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, Electric Literature, McSweeneys, PBS Newshour, Literary Hub, Volume 1 Brooklyn, OSU's The Journal, Catapult, Bennington Review, Portland Review, TinHouse Flash Fridays/The Guardian, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her debut story collection, Felt in the Jaw,was published by Split Lip Press and was awarded the 2017 Coil Book Award. Her novel, Mostly Dead Things, will be published by Tin House Books in June 2019.
“Mostly Dead Things is one of the strangest and funniest and most surprising first novels I’ve ever read. A love letter to Florida and to family, to half-lit swamps and the 7/11, and to the beasts that only pretend to hold their poses inside us. In Kristen Arnett’s expert hands, taxidermy becomes a language to capture our species’ impossible and contradictory desire to be held and to be free.” —Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“If Heather Lewis and Joy Williams had a child it might be this―I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel like it. There’s a gunslinger cool to every sentence, like someone is telling you the last story they’ll ever tell you. Kristen Arnett is the queen of the Florida no one has ever told you about, and on every page she brings it to a steely and vivid life.” —Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
One morning, Jessa-Lynn Morton walks into the family taxidermy shop to find that her father has committed suicide, right there on one of the metal tables. Shocked and grieving, Jessa steps up to manage the failing business, while the rest of the Morton family crumbles. Her mother starts sneaking into the shop to make aggressively lewd art with the taxidermied animals. Her brother Milo withdraws, struggling to function. And Brynn, Milo’s wife―and the only person Jessa’s ever been in love with―walks out without a word. As Jessa seeks out less-than-legal ways of generating income, her mother’s art escalates―picture a figure of her dead husband and a stuffed buffalo in an uncomfortably sexual pose―and the Mortons reach a tipping point. For the first time, Jessa has no choice but to learn who these people truly are, and ultimately how she fits alongside them.
Kristen Arnett’s debut novel is a darkly funny, heart-wrenching, and eccentric look at loss and love.
KATE HOPE DAY holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD in English from the University of Pittsburgh. She was an associate producer at HBO. She lives in Oregon with her husband and their two children. If, Then is her first novel.
Annie Liontas’ novel Let Me Explain You (Scribner) was featured in The New York Times Book Review as Editor’s Choice and was selected by the ABA as an Indies Introduce Debut and Indies. She is the co-editor of the anthology A Manner of Being: Writers on their Mentors. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, BOMB, Guernica, Ninth Letter and Lit. She teaches creative writing at George Washington University.
“Effortlessly meshing the dreamlike and the realistic, [Kate Hope] Day’s well-crafted mix of literary and speculative fiction is an enthralling meditation on the interconnectedness of all things.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A must-read—a gorgeous literary novel that asks us to imagine all the possible versions of ourselves that might exist.” — J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions
In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful co-worker in Ginny’s own bed and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny’s husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she’s on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career.
At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing—and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same.
Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies—the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.
REGINA PORTER is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of a 2017-2018 Rae Armour West Postgraduate Scholarship. She is also a 2017 Tin House Summer Workshop Scholar. Her fiction has been published in The Harvard Review. An award-winning writer with a background in playwriting, Porter has worked with Playwrights Horizons, the Joseph Papp Theater, New York Stage and Film, the Women’s Project, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Horizon Theatre Company. She has been anthologized in Plays from Woolly Mammoth by Broadway Play Services and Heinemann’s Scenes for Women by Women. She has also been profiled in Southern Women Playwrights: New Essays in History and Criticism from the University of Alabama Press. Porter was born in Savannah, Georgia, and lives in Brooklyn.
THE TRAVELERS tells of the adventures of two families unfold and intertwine—across continents and generations, spanning the 1950s through Obama’s first year as president—an absorbing tale of family, history, and the persistence of love.
Porter’s unforgettable characters’ lives intersect with a cast of lovers and friends—the unapologetic black lesbian who finds her groove in 1970s Berlin; a moving man stranded in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during a Thanksgiving storm; two half-brothers who meet as adults in a crayon factory; and a Coney Island waitress whose Prince Charming is too good to be true.
With piercing humor, exacting dialogue, and a beautiful sense of place, Regina Porter’s debut is both an intimate family portrait and a sweeping exploration of what it means to be American today.
“The Travelers is a great, grand tabernacle of a novel, under the roof of which it seems the entire history of the United States and all its people has been gathered into a single blazing congregation. It is full of tales tall and short, lives black, white, and every shade between, from the north, south, east, and west. None but the biggest-hearted, sharpest-eyed, most generous-spirited of writers could pull off a book like this. Regina Porter is some kind of visionary. ”—Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Tinkers
JADE JONES was born and raised in Southern New Jersey. A former Kimbilio Fiction Fellow, she is a graduate of Princeton University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She is the winner of a 2019 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers for her story, “Today, You’re a Black Revolutionary”, published on The Rumpus. She is currently the Dean’s Fellow in Writing Arts at Rowan University, where she teaches first year writing and creative writing.
MEGAN VOLPERT writes for PopMatters & is the author of a bunch of books on communication & popular culture, including two Lambda Literary Award finalists. She has been teaching high school English in Atlanta for over a decade & was 2014 Teacher of the Year. She edited the American Library Association-honored anthology This assignment is so gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching and co-edited Tom Petty & Philosophy.
Boss Broad contains forty poems and dozens of essays that explore what it takes to be a middle-aged hero. The poems are English-to-English translations of Bruce Springsteen songs--popular ones where he directly addresses a female listener, which Volpert audaciously rewrites to answer the Boss back using his own rhyme and meter. In these pages Volpert wears Springsteen's own lyrical swagger so that Rosalita becomes a drag queen, Wendy captains her own ship, and Bobby Jean finally comes out of the closet. The essays examine injections of spirituality in progressive politics, with topics including Stephen Colbert, Patti Smith, the author’s career as a punk high school English teacher, what she learned surviving hurricanes in Louisiana, and meditations on what it means to be a cool liberal. As usual, Volpert trespasses on hallowed ground, doing battle with her white lady demons in the name of rock ‘n’ roll.
ERIN DORNEY is a writer and artist. Her collection of erasure poetry "I Am Not Famous Anymore: Poems after Shia LaBeouf" was published by Mason Jar Press in 2018. She is the co-founder of Fear No Lit and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
MALAKA GHARIB is an artist, journalist, and writer based in Washington, D.C. She is the founder of The Runcible Spoon, a food zine, and the co-founder of the D.C. Art Book Fair. She lives in a row house with her husband Darren and her 9-year-old rice cooker.
“This charming graphic memoir riffs on the joys and challenges of developing a unique ethnic identity.” – Publishers Weekly
“I Was Their American Dream is a pure and utter delight. With both a deft lightness and a deep poignancy, Malaka Gharib perfectly captures the feeling of growing up—of being a child of immigrants, of being a woman of color, of being thrown in the mix between cultures, of love, of family—with nostalgia, humor, and heart…I adored this book.” —Jonny Sun, New York Times best-selling illustrator of Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda
A triumphant tale of self-discovery, a celebration of a family’s rich heritage, and a love letter to American immigrant freedom.
I Was Their American Dream is at once a journal of growing up and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents’ ideals, learning to code-switch between her family’s Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.
ALLI KATZ is a writer and cartoonist. Her work has appeared in the NewYorker.com, Electric Literature, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Weekly, and elsewhere. Alli is also known for her etch-a-sketch portraits of album covers. She is from Chicago and lives in Philadelphia, where she is the program coordinator at Kelly Writers House.
ALYSON HAGY grew up with on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She is a graduate of Williams College (’82) where she twice won the Benjamin Wainwright Prize for her fiction and completed an Honors thesis under the direction of Richard Ford. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan (’85) working with George Garrett, Alan Cheuse, and Janet Kauffman. While at Michigan, she was awarded a Hopwood Prize in Short Fiction and a Roy Cowden Fellowship. Early stories were published in Sewanee Review, Crescent Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. In 1986, Stuart Wright published her first collection of fiction, Madonna On Her Back.
Hagy taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, and the Stonecoast Writers Conference before moving to the Rocky Mountains and joining the faculty at the University of Wyoming in 1996. She is the author of eight works of fiction, including Hardware River (Poseidon Press, 1991), Keeneland (Simon & Schuster, 2000), Graveyard of the Atlantic (Graywolf Press, 2000), Snow, Ashes (Graywolf Press, 2007), Ghosts of Wyoming (Graywolf Press, 2010), Boleto (Graywolf Press, 2012), and Scribe (Graywolf Press, 2018). She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. Her work has won a Pushcart Prize, the Nelson Algren Prize, the High Plains Book Award, the Devil’s Kitchen Award, the Syndicated Fiction Award, and been included in Best American Short Stories. Recent fiction has appeared in Drunken Boat, The Idaho Review, Kenyon Review, INCH, and Michigan Quarterly Review.
A brutal civil war has ravaged the country, and contagious fevers have decimated the population. Abandoned farmhouses litter the isolated mountain valleys and shady hollows. The economy has been reduced to barter and trade. In this craggy, unwelcoming world, the central character of Scribe ekes out a lonely living on the family farmstead where she was raised and where her sister met an untimely end. She lets a migrant group known as the Uninvited set up temporary camps on her land, and maintains an uneasy peace with her cagey neighbors and local enforcer Billy Kingery. She has learned how to make papers and inks, and she has become known for her letter-writing skills, which she exchanges for tobacco, firewood, and other scarce resources. An unusual request for a letter from a man with hidden motivations unleashes the ghosts of her troubled past and sets off a series of increasingly calamitous events that culminate in a harrowing journey to a crossroads.
Drawing on traditional folktales and the history and culture of Appalachia, Alyson Hagy has crafted a gripping, swiftly plotted novel that touches on pressing issues of our time—migration, pandemic disease, the rise of authoritarianism—and makes a compelling case for the power of stories to both show us the world and transform it.
“Scribe, which begins with the baying of hounds and ends with silence, reminds us on every page that humans remain the storytelling animal, and that therein might lie our salvation. . . . In this brave new world, a woman with a pen may prove mightier than a man with a sword.” —The New York Times Book Review
Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, JOSHUA DEMAREE received his MFA in creative nonfiction from Rutgers University-Camden and is co-director of Blue Stoop, a hub for literary life in greater Philadelphia. His criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and EXPO Chicago's The Seen. He lives and works in West Philadelphia.
MARK DOTEN is the author of The Infernal and was named to Granta’s once-a-decade “Best of Young American Novelists” list in 2017. He wrote the libretto for the oratorio The Source, which had its world premiere at BAM’s Next Wave Festival in October 2014 and was called a “21st-century masterpiece” by the New York Times. It was later staged by the Los Angeles Opera and the San Francisco Opera. He is the executive literary fiction editor at Soho Press and teaches at Columbia University' and Princeton University. He lives in Princeton, NJ with his partner, Paul Nadal.
Trump Sky Alpha is a novel about Donald Trump, the secret history of the Internet, and the end of the world. Twice a week, the President pilots his ultra-luxury airship Trump Sky Alpha (seats start at $50,000) between DC, NYC, and Mar-a-Lago, delivering, as he travels, a streaming YouTube address to the nation, trumpeting his successes and blasting his enemies—until the day his words plunge the world into nuclear war. One year later, with ninety percent of the world’s population decimated, a journalist named Rachel, grieving for her lost wife and daughter, and living an emotionally numb existence in the Twin Cities Metro Containment Zone, is offered an assignment by her old editor: to document the jokes that made their way around the internet in the final moments before the end.
What she uncovers, hidden amid spiraling memes and twitter jokes in a working archive of the internet’s remnants, are references to a little-known novel, The Subversive, that seemed to have predicted the world’s end, and the traces of a shadowy hacktivist group known as the Aviary. The actions of the Aviary, and the enigmatic presence a figure known only as Birdcrash, take on immense and terrifying dimensions as Rachel ventures further into the ruins of the internet.
Mark Doten, a satirist of unparalleled vision, brilliantly details how the internet has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, laying the groundwork for the tumult of our current political moment, and, in the kaleidoscopic, queer, all-consuming, parallactic swirl of Trump Sky Alpha, for the future headed our way.
"[Mark Doten] launches Trump Sky Alpha at the bull's eye of reality with such velocity that it bursts through the other side. This is speculative fiction as burning ring of fire. . . . Perversely satisfying, this tour de force of vicious satire is cathartic. . . . Dizzy with metaphor, Trump Sky Alpha is a cautionary tale for a time when we have become inured to flashing yellow all around." —The Washington Post
“Doten's cracked archaeology of the nearly-now is so brilliant it will make you joyful despite yourself, despite the world's self.” —Rivka Galchen
“To enshrine in such beauty and intelligence a country that so despises beauty and intelligence is an act of rogue hope and antic compassion. In Trump Sky Alpha, Mark Doten emerges as the shadow president of our benighted generation of American literature.” —Joshua Cohen
KEITH KOPKA is an associate professor at Holy Family University. His poetry and criticism have recently appeared in The International Journal of The Book, Mid-American Review,New Ohio Review, Ninth Letter, and many others. Kopka was a finalist for the 2017 National Poetry Series and won the 2017 International Award for Excellencefrom the Books, Publishing & Libraries Research Network. He is also a co-founder and the Director of Operations for Writers Resist, a Senior Editor at Narrative Magazine, a recipient of a Chautauqua Arts Fellowship, and a Vermont Studio Center poetry fellow.
JENNIFER duBOIS is the author of A Partial History of Lost Causes, which won a California Book Award for Fiction, a Northern California Book Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Prize for Debut Fiction. The National Book Foundation named her one of its 5 Under 35 authors. Her second novel, Cartwheel, was the winner of the Housatonic Book Award for fiction and was a finalist for a New York Public Library Young Lions Award. An alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Stanford University’s Stegner Fellowship, duBois is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Lapham’s Quarterly, American Short Fiction, The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, Salon, Cosmopolitan, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. A native of western Massachusetts, duBois teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.
“Jennifer duBois is a brilliant writer.”—Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove
“Jennifer duBois is one of a handful of living American novelists who can comprehend both the long arc of history and the minute details that animate it. The Spectators is yet another triumph in an impressive oeuvre: a brave and painfully vivid excavation of the AIDS crisis in New York that, with its fine prose, breathes life back into an era of death.”—Karan Mahajan, author of the National Book Award finalist The Association of Small Bombs
With wit, heart, and crackling intelligence, The Spectators examines the human capacity for reinvention—and forces us to ask ourselves what we choose to look at, and why.
Talk show host Matthew Miller has made his fame by shining a spotlight on the most unlikely and bizarre secrets of society, exposing them on live television in front of millions of gawking viewers. However, the man behind The Mattie M Show remains a mystery—both to his enormous audience and to those who work alongside him every day. But when the high school students responsible for a mass shooting are found to be devoted fans, Mattie is thrust into the glare of public scrutiny, seen as the wry, detached herald of a culture going downhill and going way too far. Soon, the secrets of Mattie’s past as a brilliant young politician in a crime-ridden New York City begin to push their way to the surface.
In her most daring and multidimensional novel yet, Jennifer duBois vividly portrays the heyday of gay liberation in the seventies and the grip of the AIDS crisis in the eighties, alongside a backstage view of nineties television in an age of moral panic. DuBois explores an enigmatic man’s downfall through the perspectives of two spectators—Cel, Mattie’s skeptical publicist, and Semi, the disillusioned lover from his past.
MICHAEL DEAGLER’s fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, New England Review, Kenyon Review Online, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City.
BRIALLEN HOPPER is the editor of the religion and culture magazine Killing the Buddha, and she teaches writing at Queens College, City University of New York, and holds a PhD in English from Princeton.
She is widely published—one of her most well-known essays is “On Spinsters” at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her essays, reviews, op-eds, profiles, listicles, and sermons have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, HuffPost, Longreads, The New Inquiry, The New Republic, Newsweek, New York Magazine/The Cut, The Paris Review, The Stranger, Talking Points Memo, and more.
Her first book, Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions (Bloomsbury, 2019), is a collection of essays on love and friendship.
“Hopper’s essays seem like love songs . . . delicate, thoughtful elegies to friendship, compassion, and grace. A fresh, well-crafted collection.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Briallen Hopper’s essay collection, Hard to Love, is an exceptional work: an expert tangle of memoir, literary criticism, pop cultural analysis and political meditation that will make you think differently and more deeply about family, friendship, faith and Cheers. It is at once inviting and spiky, hard and funny; it is smart as hell. Hopper is capacious in her curiosities, pointed in her arguments and extremely generous to her readers: she invites us in, takes us where she’s been, and shows us what she's made of it all. Hard to Love is warm, buoyant, connective; I felt less alone having read it.”—Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies and Good and Mad
“Briallen Hopper’s extraordinary essay collection, Hard to Love, is full of heart and wisdom and humor and surprise. It has sharpened and electrified my senses of intimacy and family—how both are more multiple, more complicated, and ultimately more capacious than I’d understood them to be. It moves effortlessly between the personal and political, exposing all the ways in which they have never been separable at all. I know I’ll return to this book over and over during the years to come: for its gifts of insight and delight, for the primal and powerful gift of its company—and I know I’ll be giving it to others, to the people I love most, so they can experience its gifts as well.” —Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams and The Recovering
“I adored Briallen Hopper’s Hard to Love and its miraculous intermingling of revelatory criticism and soulful memoir. Hopper’s essays tell the story of a life in reading, baking, hoarding, praying, and watching Cheers; in friends, roommates, siblings, and, last and least, lovers. In its excesses of tenderness, intelligence, and pleasure, this book brilliantly puts the lie to the idea that a single life is less full—or less complicated—than a coupled one.” —Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls
GINA TOMAINE is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor. She is currently Deputy Lifestyle Editor of Philadelphia magazine and was previously Associate Deputy Editor of Rodale’s Organic Life. Her work been featured in Painted Bride Quarterly, Longreads, The Boston Globe, Boston magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Runner’s World, Entropy, and Apiary, among others. She also wrote frequently for NPR’s From the Top, where she interviewed classical musicians. She has lectured in composition and literature at Saint Joseph’s University and Rosemont College, and earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Emerson College. She is the author of The Philly Tarot Deck Guidebook, the accompanying guide to the tarot deck created by illustrator James Boyle.
BRYAN WASHINGTON is a writer from Houston. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, MUNCHIES, American Short Fiction, GQ, FADER, The Awl, Hazlitt, and Catapult, where he writes a column called “Bayou Diaries”. His first book, Lot, is forthcoming from Riverhead in March.
“Bryan Washington’s writing is refreshing — a brilliant display of raw talent, with gut-punching stories that deliver with a lasting force. This is the literature that I’ve been waiting for.” —Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun
“Lot is the confession of a neighborhood, channeled through a literary prodigy. Bryan Washington doesn’t render a world, he actually captures one, grabs it out of reality and holds it up for you to see it sparkle. Unflinching, romantic while refusing to romanticize, this is the debut of a prodigious talent.” —Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day and Pym
JAMES IJAMES is a Philadelphia based performer and playwright. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Ally Theatre (Washington DC) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, The Gulfshore Playhouse, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. James is a 2011 Independence Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ....Miz Martha and a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award. James is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia.
We have partnered with Paul Robeson House to offer a FREE craft talk with Bryan Washington before the reading (4-6PM). Click here to reserve your spot. Limited to 25 spots.
T KIRA MADDEN is an APIA writer, photographer, and amateur magician living in New York City. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an BA in design and literature from Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College. Her work has appeared in PEN America, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, and The Kenyon Review. She is the founding Editor-in-chief of No Tokens, a magazine of literature and art, and is a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in nonfiction literature from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Tin House, DISQUIET, Summer Literary Seminars, and Yaddo, where she was selected for the 2017 Linda Collins Endowed Residency Award. Her debut memoir, LONG LIVE THE TRIBE OF FATHERLESS GIRLS, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury on March 5th, 2019. She facilitates writing workshops for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
About Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls:
Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden's raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight.
As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.
With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai'i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It's a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.
EMMA COPLEY EISENBERG is writer of fiction and nonfiction interested in queerness, gender, Appalachia, violence, crime, having a body, and being alive. Her fiction, essays, and reportage have appeared or are forthcoming in McSweeney’s, The Paris Review online, Granta, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, Guernica, AGNI, The Los Angeles Review of Books, American Short Fiction, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, The New Republic, Salon, Slate, and others. Emma's work has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, named to Longreads' list of Best Crime Reporting 2017, and chosen as a notable story for the Best American Short Stories 2018. She is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Elizabeth George Foundation, Lambda Literary, the Carey Institute for the Global Good, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Her first book, THE THIRD RAINBOW GIRL, is forthcoming from Hachette Books in 2020. Raised in New York City, Emma makes her home now in Philadelphia, where she co-directs Blue Stoop, a community hub for the literary arts.
Halle Butler is a writer from the Midwest. Her first novel, Jillian, is a brief account of a medical secretary's drunken social blunders and callous treatment of her co-worker. Her second novel, The New Me will be published in March 2019 from Penguin Randomhouse. She is a 5 under 35 honoree and was named to Granta's list of best young novelists.
Mike Ingram holds an MFA in creative writing from the Iowa Writers Workshop and teaches in the English department at Temple University. His stories and essays have appeared in a number of journals and magazines, including Phoebe, The North American Review, December, EPOCH, The Southeast Review, and The Baltimore Review. He is one of the founding editors of Barrelhouse Magazine and co-hosts the weekly Book Fight! podcast, which you can read more about here.
“A bleak and brutal book that exposes a nearly unbearable futility to life in the workforce, not to mention life outside it. Butler’s vision is funny and raw and dark— a cautionary tale, hilarious and intimate, against growing up and making do.” —Ben Marcus
“The New Me renders contemporary American life in such vivid, stinging color, that certain sentences are liable to give the reader a paper cut. But you’ll want to keep on reading anyway. Halle Butler is terrific, and I loved this book.” —Kelly Link
“A dark comedy of female rage. Halle Butler is a first-rate satirist of the horror show being sold to us as Modern Femininity. She is Thomas Bernhard in a bad mood, showing us the futility of betterment in an increasingly paranoid era of self-improvement. Hilarious.” —Catherine Lacey
Nicole Chung is the author of the memoir All You Can Ever Know, published in October 2018 and named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, The Boston Globe, TIME, Newsday, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Real Simple, Paste Magazine, Chicago Public Library, and Seattle Public Library, among many others. All You Can Ever Know has also been longlisted for the 2019 PEN Open Book Award, shortlisted for the 2018 Reading Women Nonfiction Award, and nominated for the 2018 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Memoir/Autobiography.
Nicole’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, GQ, The Atlantic, Slate, Longreads, Vulture, Shondaland, and Hazlitt. She is the editor-in-chief of Catapult magazine and the former managing editor of The Toast.
What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?
Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.
With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.
“[A] stunning memoir…. Chung’s writing is vibrant and provocative as she explores her complicated feelings about her transracial adoption…and the importance of knowing where one comes from.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Chung’s memoir is more than a thoughtful consideration of race and heritage in America. It is the story of sisters finding each other, overcoming bureaucracy, abuse, separation, and time.” —The New Yorker
Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of 22 books of memoir, memoir handbooks, middle grade and young adult fiction, corporate fable, and the autobiography of a river, Flow. She is an award-winning lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, was the editorial director of the Emmy®-award winning PBS arts and culture show, Articulate, is a frequent reviewer for the Chicago Tribune, and the co-founder of Juncture Workshops, offering memoir workshops and resources. A new book, the middle grade novel Wild Blues, was published in June, and new essays appear at LitHub, LARB, Ploughsharesblog, Woven Tale Press, and elsewhere.
Co-sponsored by Blue Stoop, Drexel University's MFA in Creative Writing Program, & the Writers Room at Drexel
Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev grew up under the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad. An imbalance of power and widespread anti-Semitism in her homeland led her father to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America and abandoning her estranged and alcoholic mother, Elena. At age eleven, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her.
MOTHER WINTER, Shalmiyev’s debut memoir, is the story of Shalmiyev’s years of travel, searching, and forging meaningful connection with the worlds she occupies. The result is a searing meditation on motherhood, displacement, gender politics, and the pursuit of wholeness after shattering loss. And ultimately, it is an aching observation of the human heart across time and culture.
ALINA PLESKOVA is an immigrant from Moscow turned proud Philadelphian. She co-edits bedfellows, a literary magazine that catalogs discussion of sex, desire, and intimacy. Poems appear in American Poetry Review,Cosmonauts Avenue, Entropy, Peach Mag, and more. Her first chapbook,What Urge Will Save Us, was published by Spooky Girlfriend Press in 2017. Find her at: alinapleskova.com and @nahhhlina.
"MOTHER WINTER, Sophia Shalmiyev’s catastrophically bright, wavering motion of a memoir, forged through sticky clouds of pain, is vividly awesome and truly great."—EILEEN MYLES, author of Evolution
“MOTHER WINTER is the wrenching story of her exile and grief, but it’s also a chronicle of awakening—to art, sex, feminism, and the rich complexities of becoming a mother herself. Like a punk rock Marguerite Duras, Shalmiyev has reinvented the language of longing. I love this gorgeous, gutting, unforgettable book."—LENI ZUMAS, author of Red Clocks
“Shalmiyev stubbornly, brilliantly pursues loss in this psycho-geography of immigration, grief displacement, and damage… Like the great modernist writers, Shalmiyev writes from, not about, trauma but at a pitch that’s witty, dry, sad, and laconic.” —CHRIS KRAUS, author of I Love Dick
“With sparse, poetic language Shalmiyev builds a personal history that is fractured and raw; a brilliant, lovely ache.”—MICHELLE TEA, author of Against Memoir
ESMÉ WEIJUN WANG is the author of The Border of Paradise. She received the Whiting Award in 2018 and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2017. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco.
The Collected Schizophrenias are powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award
An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.
“This mesmerizing collection of essays has achieved the rarest of rarities—a meaningful and expansive language for a subject that has been long bound by both deep revulsion and intense fascination.”—Jenny Zhang
“A brilliant guide to the complexities of thinking about illness, and mental illness, in particular. It will bring hope to others searching to understand their own diagnoses.”—Meghan O’Rourke
“A masterful braiding of the achingly personal and the incisively researched. . . . This book is a vital, illuminating window onto the world we all already live in, but find all too easy to ignore.”—Alexandra Kleeman
CARMEN MARIA MACHADO’s work has appeared in Granta, The New Yorker, NPR, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and was a finalist for the Calvino Prize. She lives in Philadelphia.
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.
Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.
“[These stories] vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange.”—Roxane Gay
“In these formally brilliant and emotionally charged tales, Machado gives literal shape to women’s memories and hunger and desire. I couldn’t put it down.”—Karen Russell
JESSICA CHICCEHITTO HINDMAN has “performed” on PBS, QVC, and at concert halls worldwide. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, Brevity, and Hippocampus. She holds a BA in Middle Eastern studies and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and a PhD in English from the University of North Texas. She teaches creative writing at Northern Kentucky University and lives in Newport, Kentucky.
About Sounds Like Titanic:
A young woman leaves Appalachia for life as a classical musician—or so she thinks.
When aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her lifelong dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham. When the group “performs,” the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a CD. The mastermind behind this scheme is a peculiar and mysterious figure known as The Composer, who is gaslighting his audiences with music that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic movie soundtrack. On tour with his chaotic ensemble, Hindman spirals into crises of identity and disillusionment as she “plays” for audiences genuinely moved by the performance, unable to differentiate real from fake.
Sounds Like Titanic is a surreal, often hilarious coming-of-age story. Hindman writes with precise, candid prose and sharp insight into ambition and gender, especially when it comes to the difficulties young women face in a world that views them as silly, shallow, and stupid. As the story swells to a crescendo, it gives voice to the anxieties and illusions of a generation of women, and reveals the failed promises of a nation that takes comfort in false realities.
PAUL LISICKY is the author of The Narrow Door (a New York Times Editors' Choice), Unbuilt Projects, The Burning House, Famous Builder, and Lawnboy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Conjunctions, Fence, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Tin House, and in many other magazines and anthologies. A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, he has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he has served on the Writing Committee since 2000. He has taught in the creative writing programs at Cornell University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere. He is currently an Associate Professor in the MFA Program at Rutgers University-Camden and lives in Brooklyn, New York. His sixth book, Later, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2020.
For our second Debut Drinks we welcome four amazing debut authors to Philadelphia to share their work at the historic Pen & Pencil Club, America's oldest press club and Philly's coolest members-only bar. This event, though, is FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Doors 6pm, readings starting 7pm.
DANA CZAPNIK is a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Fiction from The New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2017, she was awarded an Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Center for Fiction. Czapnik earned her MFA at Hunter College where she was recognized with a Hertog Fellowship. She’s spent most of her career on the editorial side of professional sports including stints at ESPN the Magazine, the United States Tennis Association and the Arena Football League. Her debut novel, THE FALCONER, will be published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in January of 2019. A native New Yorker, she lives in Manhattan with her husband and son.
BLAIR HURLEY received her A.B. from Princeton University and her M.F.A. from NYU. Her stories are published or forthcoming in Ninth Letter, The Georgia Review, West Branch, Mid-American Review, Washington Square, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Descant, Fugue, and elsewhere. She has received a 2018 Pushcart Prize and scholarships from Bread Loaf and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Her debut novel, THE DEVOTED, was published in August 2018 from WW Norton & Company.
THEA LIM is the author of AN OCEAN OF MINUTES, which was a finalist for Canada's Giller Prize, and has been optioned for a TV series and translated into multiple languages. Her work has been published by Granta, the Paris Review, the Guardian, Salon, LitHub, the Southampton Review and others. She grew up in Singapore and she lives in Toronto, where she is a professor of creative writing.
BLYTHE ROBERSON is a writer and comedian whose work has been published by the New Yorker, The Onion, ClickHole, VICE Magazine, and others, and has been mentioned by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and New York Mag. She works as a researcher at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Phoebe Robinson has said that Roberson's debut essay collection, HOW TO DATE MEN WHEN YOU HATE MEN, is "funny, sharp, and feminist fun in a way we’re led to believe isn’t possible."
Katrina Carrasco holds an MFA in fiction from Portland State University, where she received the Tom and Phyllis Burnam Graduate Fiction Scholarship and the Tom Doulis Graduate Fiction Writing Award. Her work has appeared in Witness magazine, Post Road Magazine, Quaint Magazine, and other journals. The Best Bad Things, published by Farrar, Strausss & Giroux (MCD), in 2018 is her first novel.
“The Best Bad Things follows Alma/Jack’s excesses — sex, violence, booze, opium, greed — in the Washington Territory in the 1880s, where honor among thieves is scarce, but the action scenes (not to mention the sex scenes) are plentiful and crackling with tension.”
—Vulture's 10 Best Crime Books of 2018
“Carrasco succeeds in coupling a feminist historical that maintains period plausibility with an exploratory queer narrative rarely seen in the crime genre … Breath-catching pacing, tantalizingly rough-and-tumble characters who are somehow both distasteful and deeply relatable, palpable erotic energy, and powerful storytelling make this a standout.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Rose Skelton is currently working on Homescar, a collection of linked short stories set on an island in Scotland, which won the Larry Levis Fellowship for Fiction in 2018. Two of those stories have been published in Four Way Review and Waxwing Magazine, where she is now also the Fiction Editor. She has been a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and has an MFA from Warren Wilson College.
Before GINA APOSTOL's fourth novel, Insurrecto, hit the shelves, Publishers' Weekly named it one of the Ten Best Books of 2018, making her the cover author of its Best Books Issue. Insurrecto was named among the most anticipated fall books by The Millions and Buzzfeed; Amazon's Best Books for November; Strand Books December Fiction for its BookHookUp series; Entertainment Weekly's best in November; and many others. Her third book, Gun Dealers' Daughter, won the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize. Her first two novels, Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, both won the Juan Laya Prize for the Novel (Philippine National Book Award). A work-in-progress, William McKinley's World, like Insurrecto, uses her research on the Balangiga massacre and the Philippine-American War to cast a lens on our contemporary times. She was writer-in-residence at Phillips Exeter Academy and a fellow at Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy, among other fellowships. Her essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Foreign Policy, Gettysburg Review, Massachusetts Review, and others. She lives in New York City and western Massachusetts and grew up in Tacloban, Philippines. She teaches at the Fieldston School in New York City.
Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte’s Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. Chiara is working on a film about an incident in Balangiga, Samar, in 1901, when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison, and in retaliation American soldiers created “a howling wilderness” of the surrounding countryside. Magsalin reads Chiara’s film script and writes her own version. Insurrecto contains within its dramatic action two rival scripts from the filmmaker and the translator—one about a white photographer, the other about a Filipino schoolteacher.
Within the spiraling voices and narrative layers of Insurrecto are stories of women—artists, lovers, revolutionaries, daughters—finding their way to their own truths and histories. Using interlocking voices and a kaleidoscopic structure, the novel is startlingly innovative, meditative, and playful. Insurrecto masterfully questions and twists narrative in the manner of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch, and Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Apostol pushes up against the limits of fiction in order to recover the atrocity in Balangiga, and in so doing, she shows us the dark heart of an untold and forgotten war that would shape the next century of Philippine and American history.
NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon: “Gina Apostol uses an array of literary and cinematic techniques: memoirs, jump cuts, close-ups, and reveries to set a story in Duterte’s Philippines that shows us that though victors often write histories, survivors and artists can revise them.”
Elise Juska is the author of five novels, including The Blessings, which was selected for Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers series, Entertainment Weekly's "Must List," and the Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Books of 2014. Her newest novel, If We Had Known, was published last spring. Juska's short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, The Hudson Review, Harvard Review, Electric Literature, The Millions, and numerous other places. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize from Ploughshares, and her short stories have been cited by The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. She teaches fiction writing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Laura Adamczyk has won awards from the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation of Chicago and the Dzanc/DISQUIET International Literary Program. Her work has appeared in such publications as the Chicago Reader, Guernica, McSweeney’s, Ninth Letter, and Salt Hill. Her short story collection, Hardly Children, was published by FSG in November 2018. She lives in Chicago.
Sam Allingham's first book of stories, The Great American Songbook, was published by A Strange Object in Fall 2016. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, One Story, Epoch, and American Short Fiction, and online at Web Conjunctions and n+1.
"The stories are achingly open to the vulnerability that comes with forming attachments and the surprising difficulty of breaking them." --Danielle Lazarin, The New York Times Book Review
"A striking blend of graceful sentences and eerie premises." ―Laura Pearson, Chicago Tribune
"Bold and observant . . . [Hardly Children] teems with wry writ as it explores memory and family and uncovers the unexpected in the everyday . . . Adamczyk considers the architecture of her stories, which often shift in striking ways." --Anne K. Yoder, The Millions
"Super weird, super unsettling, and super great." --The Boston Globe
“[A] knockout . . . Adamczyk’s Hardly Children focuses on young people waking up to the dangers of the adult world.” --ELLE
"Adamczyk’s accomplished debut collection pulses with an underlying sense of menace. The short opener, “Wanted,” has a quiet depth that moves it away from what is traditionally thought of as flash fiction . . . Adamczyk never writes the same story twice, giving this collection a sleek and unnerving feel as readers know something bad is going to happen, but are uncertain of what it’ll be." --Publishers Weekly
Come out for our monthly happy hour (third Sunday of every month) to see writer friends & plug into the ongoing project to open a center for literary culture in Philadelphia!
Enjoy a coffee, beer, wine, or cocktail and sample a snack from W/N W/N’s rotating menu.
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Rachel Heng is a Singaporean novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, Suicide Club, was published by Sceptre, Hachette (UK) and Henry Holt, Macmillan (US) in July 2018. Suicide Club was named a most anticipated book of the summer by the Huffington Post, The Millions, Gizmodo, Bustle, New Scientist, ELLE, Bitch Media, The Independent, Stylist, The Irish Times, NYLON, Tor.com and The Rumpus, and will be translated into 8 languages worldwide.
Liz Moore is the author of three novels, most recently The Unseen World, published by W.W. Norton in July 2016. Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in venues such as Tin House, The New York Times, and Narrative Magazine. She is the winner of the Medici Book Club Prize and Philadelphia's Athenaeum Literary Award. After winning a 2014 Rome Prize in Literature, she spent 2014-15 at the American Academy in Rome, completing her third novel. She is currently Writer-in-Residence at Temple University's MFA Program in Creative Writing.
The Hatchery is one of Philadelphia’s long-running reading series. This year, they are trying something a little different: each month they will feature one local writing organization.
In December, Blue Stoop will have the honor of talking a little about our project & presenting the work of a few students from our fall cohort: Kelly Braun, Christine Olivas, Ellen Rhudy, Allegra Armstrong, Lauren Holguin, and Corey Qureshi.
So come on out! And, as usual, we will play Philadelphia's best writing prompt game, The Fishbowl, and free bar tabs for the funniest, wittiest, and strangest answers.