Check out these amazing works from our Alumni!

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Writing for Young People * Fiction * Nonfiction * Poetry * Writing for Stage and Screen

Writing for Young People:

Sara Farizan

“The Wedding”
(Available in Come on in: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home)

Inkyard Press; October 13, 2020

This exceptional and powerful anthology explores the joys, heartbreaks and triumphs of immigration, with stories by critically acclaimed and bestselling YA authors who are shaped by the journeys they and their families have taken from home–and to find home.

From some of the most exciting bestselling and up-and-coming YA authors writing today…journey from Ecuador to New York City and Argentina to Utah…from Australia to Harlem and India to New Jersey…from Fiji, America, Mexico and more… Come On In. With characters who face random traffic stops, TSA detention, customs anxiety, and the daunting and inspiring journey to new lands…who camp with their extended families, dance at weddings, keep diaries, teach ESL…who give up their rooms for displaced family, decide their own answer to the question “where are you from?” and so much more… Come On In illuminates fifteen of the myriad facets of the immigrant experience, from authors who have been shaped by the journeys they and their families have taken from home–and to find home.

Here to Stay

Algonquin Young Readers; October 1, 2019

Bijan Majidi is:

* Shy around girls
* Really into comics
* Decent at basketball

Bijan Majidi is not:

* A terrorist

What happens when a kid who’s flown under the radar for most of high school gets pulled off the bench to make the winning basket in a varsity playoff game?

If his name is Bijan Majidi, life is suddenly high fives in the hallways and invitations to exclusive parties—along with an anonymous photo sent by a school cyberbully that makes Bijan look like a terrorist. 

The administration says they’ll find and punish the culprit. Bijan wants to pretend it never happened. He’s not ashamed of his Middle Eastern heritage; he just doesn’t want to be a poster child for Islamophobia. Lots of classmates rally around Bijan. Others make it clear they don’t want him or anybody who looks like him at their school. But it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends.

Here to Stay is a painfully honest, funny, authentic story about growing up, speaking out, and fighting prejudice.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

Algonquin Young Readers; October 6, 2015

At Armstead Academy, everyone knows everything about everyone. Well, everyone thinks they know everything . . .

Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is a relief. As an Iranian American, she’s different enough; if word got out that Leila liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when beautiful new girl Saskia shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would. As she carefully confides in trusted friends about Saskia’s confusing signals, Leila begins to figure out that all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and some are keeping surprising secrets of their own.

If You Could Be Mine

Algonquin Young Readers; September 9, 2014

This Forbidden Romance Could Cost Them Their Lives

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love–Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed. So they carry on in secret until Nasrin’s parents suddenly announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution: homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. Sahar will never be able to love Nasrin in the body she wants to be loved in without risking their lives, but is saving their love worth sacrificing her true self?

Beth Raisner Glass

Blue-Ribbon Dad

Harry N. Abrams; May 1, 2011

In this sweet, rhyming picture book, a little boy thinks about all the special things he does with his dad—schoolwork, reading, swimming lessons, haircuts, and more—and decides to craft a present, a homemade blue ribbon, to show his dad how much he loves him. The boy counts down the hours until his dad comes home, recalling their favorite memories and preparing the special gift. 

Simple text for the earliest readers and cuddly squirrel characters make this precious picture book the perfect way to celebrate Dad on Father’s Day, or any day of the year.

Noises at Night

Harry N. Abrams; October 1, 2005

When a little boy can’t fall asleep, he imagines all of the late-night noises in his house as extraordinary adventures. With illustrations by the illustrator of the best-selling Diary of a Wombat, the outlandish images of bedtime dreams are brought to life.

From the hisss of a heater to the whiee of the wind, noises suddenly become other fantastic sounds and soon lead to great adventures for a newly tucked-in boy and his dog. The drip of a faucet becomes the waves splashing the bow of his great ship and the boom of thunder is the drumroll for a circus trapeze artist. 

With dynamic, vibrant illustrations by the popular illustrator, Bruce Whatley, and musical rhyme by Beth Raisner Glass and Susan Lubner, Noises at Night perfectly captures the imagination of every sleepless child at bedtime and shows kids that bedtime is more fun than scary-and exhausting! After all of his dream-like wanderings, the boy and his dog fall asleep.

Candice Iloh

Every Body Looking

Penguin Random House; September 22, 2020

Candice Iloh weaves the key moments of Ada’s young life—her mother’s descent into addiction, her father’s attempts to create a home for his American daughter more like the one he knew in Nigeria, her first year at a historically black college—into a luminous and inspiring verse novel.

Sara Levine

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use

Millbrook Press; September 7, 2021

Guess which birds have beaks resembling commonly used tools in this playful picture book from award-winning author Sara Levine. Delightfully detailed collage artwork by Kate Slater helps this book take flight!

Germs Up Close

Millbrook Press; April 6, 2021

Have you ever seen a germ up close? Really, really close? Award-winning science writer Sara Levine introduces readers to a variety of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi that can make people sick―including SARS-CoV-2, E. coli, and ringworm. Micrographs and illustrations show extremely close-up views of the germs that are at once incredible and a little gross.

The book concludes with tips for staying healthy as well as information about the immune system, vaccines, and medicines. It gives readers accessible, up-to-date scientific information presented in a way that emphasizes curiosity rather than fear.

The Animals Would Not Sleep!

Charlesbridge; October 13, 2020

With bedtime fast approaching, young Latinx scientist Marco wants to sort his stuffed animals into categories that will help them comfortably settle down. He observes, compares, and groups, but the animals refuse every classification. Finally Marco combines math with empathy to get the most important result: maximum snuggles.

Eye by Eye

Millbrook Press; September 1, 2020

What kind of animal would you be if you had eight eyes? Or if your pupils were the shape of the letter W? Keep an eye out for weird and surprising facts in this playful picture book, which brings together comparative anatomy with a guessing game format. See how your animal eyes are like―and unlike―those of starfish, spiders, goats, cuttlefish, owls, and slugs.

Flower Talk

Millbrook Press; March 5, 2019

This new book from Sara Levine features a cantankerous talking cactus as a narrator, revealing to readers the significance of different colors of flowers in terms of which pollinators (bees, bats, birds, etc.) different colors “talk” to. A fun nonfiction presentation of science info that may be new to many kids–and adults!

Fossil by Fossil

Millbrook Press; January 1, 2018

What dinosaur would you be if you had a bony ridge rising from the back of your skull and three horns poking up from the front?

Answer: a triceratops!

This picture book will keep you guessing as you find out how human skeletons are like—and unlike—those of dinosaurs!

Tooth by Tooth

Millbrook Press; January 1, 2016

What animal would you be if a few of your teeth grew so long that they stuck out of your mouth even when it was closed? What would you be if your top canine teeth grew almost all the way down to your feet? This picture book will keep you guessing as you read about how human teeth are like—and unlike—those of other animals. 

Bone by Bone

Millbrook Press; August 1, 2013

What animal would you be if your finger bones grew so long that they reached your feet? Or what if you had no leg bones but kept your arm bones? This picture book will keep you guessing as you read about how human skeletons are like—and unlike—those of other animals.

Axie Oh

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

Feiwel & Friends; February 22, 2022

Axie Oh’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is an enthralling feminist retelling of the classic Korean folktale “The Tale of Shim Cheong,” perfect for fans of Wintersong, Uprooted, and Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of Shin—a mysterious young man with no soul—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits, Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…


Harper Teen; July 13, 2021

Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.

Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.

When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love

Rogue Heart
Book 2 of the Rebel Seoul series

Tu Books; October 8, 2019

NEO BEIJING, 2201. Two years after the Battle of Neo Seoul, eighteen-year-old telepath Ama works by day in a cafe and moonlights as a lounge singer in a smoky bar at night. She’s anonymous, she’s safe from the seemingly never-ending war, and that’s how she’d like to stay. But then PHNX, a resistance group specializing in espionage and covert missions, approaches her with an offer to expose a government experiment exactly like the one she fled. Soon, Ama is traveling with PHNX on a series of dangerous assignments, using her telepathic powers to aid the rebellion against the authoritarian Alliance.

As the war ramps up, PHNX is given its most dangerous mission yet: to infiltrate the base of the Alliance’s new war commander, a young man rumored to have no fear of death. But when Ama sees the commander for the first time, she discovers his identity: Alex Kim, the boy she once loved and who betrayed her.

Now, Ama must use her telepathic abilities to pose as an officer in Alex’s elite guard, manipulating Alex’s mind so that he doesn’t recognize her. As the final battle approaches, Ama struggles with her mission and her feelings for Alex. Will she be able to carry out her task? Or will she give up everything for Alex again—only to be betrayed once more?

Part heist novel, part love story, Rogue Heart is perfect for fans of Marie Lu’s Warcross and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

Rebel Seoul
Book 1 of the Rebel Seoul series

Tu Books; September 15, 2017

After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the ranks of the academy. Abandoned as a kid in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past and prove himself a loyal soldier of the Neo State.

When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.

With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera’s partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands—as a soldier of the Neo State, or a rebel of the people.

Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas in this mind-blowing, New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut.

Patty O’Connell Pearson

Conspiracy: Nixon, Watergate, and Democracy’s Defenders

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; October 13, 2020

The story of President Richard Nixon and those who fought against him comes to life in this insightful and accessible nonfiction middle grade book from the author of Fly Girls and Fighting for the Forest.

The Watergate scandal created one of the greatest constitutional crises in American history. When the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon and the Supreme Court ruled that he had to turn over to Congress the tapes that proved the claims against him, he realized his support in the Senate had collapsed. He resigned rather than face almost certain conviction on abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

We know the villain’s story well, but what about the heroes? When the country’s own leader turned his back on the Constitution, who was there to defend it?

Conspiracy is about the reporters, prosecutors, judges, justices, members of Congress, and members of the public who supported and defended the Constitution when it needed it most.

Fighting for the Forest: How FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps Helped Save America

Simon & Schuster; October 8, 2019

When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933, the United States was on the brink of economic collapse and environmental disaster. Thirty-four days later, the first of over three million impoverished young men were building parks and reclaiming the nation’s forests and farmlands. The Civilian Conservation Corps—FDR’s favorite program and “miracle of inter-agency cooperation”—resulted in the building and/or improvement of hundreds of state and national parks, the restoration of nearly 120 million acre of land, and the planting of some three billion trees—more than half of all the trees ever planted in the United States.

Fighting for the Forest tells the story of the Civilian Conservation Corp through a close look at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia (the CCC’s first project) and through the personal stories and work of young men around the nation who came of age and changed their country for the better working in Roosevelt’s Tree Army.

Fly Girls: The Daring American Women Pilots Who Helped Win WWII

Simon & Schuster; February 12, 2019

At the height of World War II, the US Army Airforce faced a desperate need for skilled pilots—but only men were allowed in military airplanes, even if the expert pilots who were training them to fly were women. Through grit and pure determination, 1,100 of these female pilots—who had to prove their worth time and time again—were finally allowed to ferry planes from factories to bases, to tow targets for live ammunition artillery training, to test repaired planes and new equipment, and more.

Though the Women Airforce Service Pilots lived on military bases, trained as military pilots, wore uniforms, marched in review, and sometimes died violently in the line of duty, they were civilian employees and received less pay than men doing the same jobs and no military benefits, not even for burials.

Their story is one of patriotism, the power of positive attitudes, the love of flying, and the willingness to serve others with no concern for personal gain.

Cynthia Platt
Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship

Clarion Books; May 21, 2019

Budding scientist Parker Bell really wants to win the school Science Triathlon and follow in the footsteps of her idols, chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall and astronaut Mae Jemison. She’s sure that if she teams up with her trivia whiz BFF, Cassie, they will dominate the Science Bee, Egg Drop, and Animal Adaptation Presentation. When Cassie invites her new friend, Theo, to join their team, Parker is worried—that Theo won’t help them win and might steal her best friend. As the three work together, Parker learns that you don’t have to be the best to be a real scientist and a good friend.


Amicus Ink; March 13, 2018

Can one little girl transform a neighborhood? With a seed of an idea and helping hands from neighbors, a girl’s dream to clean up an abandoned city lot grows into something much larger. Cynthia Platt’s light prose is brought to life by artist Olivia Holden’s beautiful pastels in this inspiring story of hope and community.


Tiger Tales; March 1, 2011

What does a Panda do when his tummy rumbles? He looks for crunchy, munchy bamboo! But Beckett doesn’t notice the two pandas behind him and the growing numbers who follow him as he leads them on a search for crunchy, munchy bamboo and panda-monium ensues! This bouncy, rhyming read-aloud offers an entertaining lesson in counting.

A Little Bit of Love

Tiger Tales; March 1, 2011

Start with a hungry small mouse who is tired of cheese. Add her mama and an idea for the perfect treat. Mix in a search for some special ingredients, and you have a sweet-as-pie picture book to share with someone you love! A beautifully illustrated story about a small mouse who learns that when you make something for your little one, it’s always made of love. Feel fuzzy mice on the cover of this charming read-aloud that’s just right for a baker’s little helper!

Leah H. Rogers

The Barn

Candlewick Press; October 26, 2021

I am a barn. All are safe within my walls.

One hundred years ago, many hands raised a red-cedar barn. Now the barn stands tall, smelling of freshly cut hay and dusty horses. As the animals wake and wander through its weathered doors, the barn watches the day unfold. Chickens peck, cows shoo flies with swishing tails, swallows fly in and out, and a cat crouches in the grass to hunt for dinner. When peepers start their evening song and the animals settle in their bedding again–the horses in their stalls, the cows in their pen, the swallows in their nests–the barn settles, too, until morning, when it gets to live the day all over again. Written by a debut author and narrated by the barnyard’s serene sentinel, this lyrical and beautifully illustrated introduction to farm life is also a gentle way to wind down to bedtime.

Rose Viña

Alicia Alonso Dances On

Albert Whitman & Company; October 1, 2021

As a young girl in Cuba, Alicia Alonso practiced ballet in tennis shoes. Within a few years, she was in New York City, with a promising ballet career. But her eyesight began to fail. When Alicia needed surgeries to save her vision, dancing was impossible, but she wouldn’t give up her dream. She found the strength and determination to return to the stage and become a prima ballerina. This is the true story of a woman who overcame her challenges, mastered her art, and inspired others to dance and dream.

Ice Breaker: How Mabel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating

Albert Whitman & Company; October 1, 2019

In the 1930’s, only white figure skaters were allowed in public ice rinks and to compete for gold medals, but Mabel Fairbanks wouldn’t let that stop her. With skates two sizes too big and a heart full of dreams, Mabel beat the odds and broke down color barriers through sheer determination and athletic skill. After skating in ice shows across the nation and helping coach and develop the talents of several Olympic champions, Mabel became the first African-American woman to be inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Andrea Wang

The Many Meanings of Meilan

Kokila/Penguin Young Readers; August 17, 2021

A family feud before the start of seventh grade propels Meilan from Boston’s Chinatown to rural Ohio, where she must tap into her inner strength and sense of justice to make a new place for herself in this resonant debut.

Meilan Hua’s world is made up of a few key ingredients: her family’s beloved matriarch, Nai Nai; the bakery her parents, aunts, and uncles own and run in Boston’s Chinatown; and her favorite Chinese fairy tales.

After Nai Nai passes, the family has a falling-out that sends Meilan, her parents, and her grieving grandfather on the road in search of a new home. They take a winding path cross-country before landing in Redbud, Ohio. Everything in Redbud is the opposite of Chinatown, and Meilan’s not quite sure who she is–being renamed at school only makes it worse. She decides she is many Meilans, each inspired by a different Chinese character with the same pronunciation as her name. Sometimes she is Mist, cooling and invisible; other times, she’s Basket, carrying her parents’ hopes and dreams and her guilt of not living up to them; and sometimes she is bright Blue, the way she feels around her new friend Logan. Meilan keeps her facets separate until an injustice at school shows her the power of bringing her many selves together.

The Many Meanings of Meilan, written in stunning prose by Andrea Wang, is an exploration of all the things it’s possible to grieve, the injustices large and small that make us rage, and the peace that’s unlocked when we learn to find home within ourselves.


Neal Porter Books/Holiday House; March 30, 2021

Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot something growing in a ditch by the side of the road…watercress! With an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail-covered plant as they can.

At first, it’s embarrassing. Why can’t her family get food at the grocery store? But when her mother shares the story of her family’s life in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress in this tender story inspired by the author’s childhood memories and illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Jason Chin.

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando

Little Bee; March 5, 2019

Amid the rubble of Japan after World War II, Momofuku Ando encountered people lined up in the bitter cold waiting for the smallest bit of food. The world is peaceful only when everyone has enough to eat, he thought. Haunted by this memory, Ando worked in a little shed in his backyard, experimenting and trying to create a new kind of noodle soup that was quick to make, nutritious, and tasty in order to feed the hungry.

Ando worked day and night, but still came up short time and again. He kept tinkering with different formulas. Through persistence, creativity, and inspiration, he finally succeeded!

Slurp up the true story behind one of the world’s most popular foods!

The Nian Monster

Albert Whitman; December 2016

Tong tong! The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. With horns, scales, and wide, wicked jaws, Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with Xingling! The old tricks to keep him away don’t work on Nian anymore, but Xingling is clever. Will her quick thinking be enough to save the city from the Nian Monster?

Jasmine Warga

Other Words for Home

Balzer + Bray; May 28, 2019

Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind her, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her home town start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the U.S. –and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home, and most importantly, finding yourself.

Here We Are Now

Balzer + Bray; November 7, 2017

Taliah Sahar Abdallat lives and breathes music. Songs have always helped Tal ease the pain of never having known her father. Her mother, born in Jordan and very secretive about her past, won’t say a word about who her dad really was. But when Tal finds a shoebox full of old letters from Julian Oliver – yes, the indie rock star Julian Oliver – she begins to piece the story together. 

She writes to Julian, but after three years of radio silence, she’s given up hope. Then one day, completely out of the blue, Julian shows up at her doorstep, and Tal doesn’t know whether to be furious or to throw herself into his arms. Before she can decide, he asks her to go on a trip with him, to meet her long-estranged family, and to say goodbye to his father, her grandfather, who is dying.

Getting to know your father after sixteen years of estrangement doesn’t happen in one car ride. But as Tal spends more time with Julian and his family, she begins to untangle her parents’ secret past, and discovers a part of herself she never recognized before. 

By the acclaimed author of My Heart and Other Black Holes, this is an intergenerational story of family and legacy and the way love informs both of those things. It’s about secrets and the debt of silence. It’s about the power of songs. And most of all, it’s about learning how to say hello. And goodbye.

My Heart and Other Black Holes

Balzer + Bray; February 10, 2015

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who’s haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner. Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.


Jorge Armenteros

Touch That Which We Cannot Possess

Spuyten Duyvil Press; February 12, 2021

“Jorge Armenteros’ Touch That Which We Cannot Possess is a wonderful novel: passionate, fascinating, and educational at the same time. It is all about being human, music, love, and miracle. Readers who are far from classical music will learn a lot and get interested in music as it has been happening with many generations after reading Leo Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata.” — Levon Ambartsumian, Franklin Professor of Violin, University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music

“In the tradition of Tolstoy’s “Kholstomer” or Victor Pelevin’s “The Life and Adventures of Shed No. XII,” Jorge Armenteros takes us on a consciousness expanding picaresque with an unnamed “cheap” violin from 17th century Venice to modern day New York, from classical music to jazz, to a deep exploration not only of our relationship with music but of “the brotherhood of bodies,” both animate and inanimate, with which we inhabit this world. As Armenteros says so eloquently, “There is the music of birds and elephants. There is the music of fish underwater. There is the music of falling leaves. And there is the music of the world spinning and the winds whirling.” Bravo for the hands that write such musical sentences. Bravo for the imagination that dares to show us what a novel can do. Bravo for this new book by Jorge Armenteros.” — Peter Grandbois, author of Half-Burnt and The Three-Legged World

“If Kafka wrote about objects instead of his insect and animal stories, you’d get something akin to Armenteros’ deliciously fine-tuned and deeply original lyrical novel, Touch That Which We Cannot Possess. After reading this book, you may never glimpse an object the same way again; a carnal body mired in beauty, desire, shit, love, lust, jealousy, vengefulness, and loneliness. A sweet and vindictive thing that breathes, feels, thinks, and manipulates; but also, a thing that is loved, abused, and violated, string by string, hole by hole. Visually and aurally mesmerizing, the novel weaves a refreshing tale of a violin, whose dissected and continually repackaged body reflects our own shattered identities and souls as we interact with lovers and abusers. Vivid, chilling, and intoxicating, it’s a book best enjoyed with a glass of absinthe in an opium den, redolent of sweat, eau de cologne, and packed bodies. Sensually addictive and brilliantly memorable, like a first kiss or cigarette.” — Pedram Navab, author of This Will Destroy You

The Book of I

Jaded Ibis Press; September 4, 2014

A bold and lyrical novel about the inner turmoil of a painter with schizophrenia who finds himself at the edge of a cliff, at the edge of his life. The novel explores our fragmented human nature through the distorted lens the painter provides. And from under a chorus/amalgam of voices and delusions, the painter raises to discover what it means to be a person, what makes us human.


Spuyten Duyvil Publishing; April 29, 2016

Imena, a student of perfumery, arrives in Marrakech in an attempt to free herself from the overbearing intensity of her boyfriend Patricio, a philosophy professor at l’Université Paris-Sorbonne. She takes residence behind the red door of a hotel whose attendant, the striped tunic, officiates life under an aura of mysticism and danger. René, Patricio’s junior colleague, decides to leave for Guadeloupe in search of his gender identity, a painful trans-formative sojourn that delivers him beyond himself.

The Roar of the River

Spuyten Duyvil Publishing; September 2, 2017

Set in a perched village of the French Alps, between a roaring river and the moonlight, a man dressed in a stripped tunic seeks refuge from his dying past. Instead, he encounters an iconoclastic set of characters that offer him love, instigate fear, explore the meaning of language, and elicit revenge. Following the musical structure of the 17th century fugue, the narrative voices succeed each other until coming together in a polyphonic search for light among the darkness of their origins.

The Spiral of Words

Spuyten Duyvil Publishing; October 3, 2019

An intrepid writer undertakes a long walk towards the ocean where he hopes to source the essential and immortal words he yearns for. Along the way, he traverses the streets of Nice, Lisbon, Cádiz and Marrakech where he confronts the shapes and shadows that harbor his inner fears and desires. His reality then collides with the elliptical passage of the mythical man in the striped tunic. The two minds create a spiral of words spawning a narrative that emboldens the writer and unearths the past of the striped tunic. With this novel, the STRIPED TUNIC TRILOGY comes full circle. The two previous novels are AIR and THE ROAR OF THE RIVER.

Tavi Taylor Black

Where Are We Tomorrow?

TouchPoint Press; May 31, 2021

Alex Evans, a thirty-six year old touring electrician, discovers through an accidental pregnancy and then the pain of miscarriage that she truly wants a family. But to attempt another pregnancy, she’ll have to change both her career and her relationship; her partner Connor, ten years her senior, isn’t prepared to become a father again.

When Alex is implicated in an accident involving the female pop star she works for, she and three other women on tour rent a house together in Tuscany. While the tour regroups, confessions are made, secrets are spilled: the guitar tech conceals a forbidden love, the production assistant’s ambition knows no limits, and the personal assistant battles mental issues.

Through arguments and accidents, combating drug use and religion, the women help each other look back on the choices they’ve made, eventually buoying each other, offering up strength to face tough decisions ahead.

Aqueela C. Britt

London Reign

Ghettoheat; September 18, 2007

London Reign is about an androgynous teen with a secret, battling turmoil of the inner streets, physical abuse from family, while being in a steamy love triangle. London Reign deals with sexuality, relationships, monogamy, gender roles, love, lust and betrayal.

Margaret F. Chen

Suburban Gothic

OPUS; February 26, 2020

Contemporary, middle-class America is the setting for these fifteen tales of ordinary men, women, and children: an estranged couple survives a road trip to hell, another unhappy couple spars with exasperating neighbors, an unwanted daughter goes on an unusual hike, and children are misunderstood or must fend for themselves. Here, in this unsettling collection, normal people are confronted with the unknown, the unpredictable, and the extraordinary, and practical, everyday life balances precariously with chaos and the absurd.

Three Terrible Tales

OPUS; August 7, 2019

In each of these three tales, lonely and romantic-minded women long for impossibly close friendships, a sense of belonging and home, or to escape into a world of safety, nature, slowness, and calm—in a time when such things are beginning to fade and becoming relics and undertakings of the past. The world in these stories is fast-paced and rapidly changing, for good or for worse, where distant friends, acquaintances, therapists, and even strangers form one’s surrogate family—and it is in this milieu, a sensitive old soul, a bored young woman, and an anxious single mother must find a way to maintain their unique identities and stay psychologically resilient.

Leland Cheuk

No Good Very Bad Asian

C&R Press; November 1, 2019

Meet Sirius Lee, a famous Chinese American comedian. He is a no good, very bad Asian. He is not good at math and has no interest in finding a “good Chinese girlfriend.” And he refuses to put any effort into becoming the CEO/lawyer/doctor his parents so desperately want him to be. All he wants to do is make people laugh. A cross between Paul Beatty’s The Sellout and Jade Chang’s The Wangs Vs. The WorldNo Good Very Bad Asian follows Sirius’s life from his poor upbringing in the immigrant enclaves of Los Angeles to the loftiest heights of stardom as he struggles with substance abuse and the prejudice he faces despite his fame. Ultimately, when he becomes a father himself, he must come to terms with who he is, where he came from, and the legacy he’ll leave behind.

Written by author and MacDowell Colony fellow Leland Cheuk, who did standup comedy for several years in New York City, No Good Very Bad Asian is a hilarious and affecting exploration of identity in America.

Letters from Dinosaurs

Thought Catalog Books; August 31, 2016

A penniless father tries to reconnect with his estranged Internet mogul son by penning a letter. A seemingly content Chinese-American couple’s marriage unravels when a friend brings over his new white girlfriend for dinner. A former gaming champion attends a Buddhist funeral in the hometown he abandoned and his life changes forever. The traumatized best friend of a campus shooter becomes homebound by choice for years, testing the patience of his aging parents. A fantasy baseball league email thread goes horribly wrong when one of the members overshares about a family tragedy. A lovestruck college student discovers his father’s involvement in a Madoff-level Ponzi scheme and must decide whether he’s cowardly or courageous in both love and family.

In eleven stories that range from heartfelt to satirical, ‘Letters from Dinosaurs’ is a fresh and complicated portrayal of American Asian lives, exposing the fissures between family, friends, and lovers opened by race, culture, and class.

The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong

Chicago Center for Literature and Photography; May 14, 2015

The Pongs are an American immigrant family that has seen it all. They helped build the transcontinental railroads of the Victorian Age. They were mistakenly interned with Japanese-Americans during World War II. They may even have co-invented the landmark video game that bears the family’s last name. But despite all they’ve endured, each new generation’s patriarch has had one thing in common: a penchant for degeneracy. Sulliver Pong was supposed to be the exception. Married and living in Copenhagen, he was supposed to have escaped his toxic hometown of Bordirtoun; and most importantly, its mayor, his father Saul. When Saul visits unannounced, he begins to draw his son back into his corrupt world of city politics and redevelopment schemes. Yoked to his feelings of guilt for his abused mother and his lust for a now-married adolescent crush, book-smart but life-dumb Sulliver finds himself running for mayor against his father–a decision that will carry hilarious and unfortunate consequences for all involved. A laugh-out-loud black comedy about a dysfunctional family that has endured almost every major injustice in Asian-American history, but can’t endure each other, Leland Cheuk’s irreverent debut is perfect for existing fans of Jonathan Franzen or the Coen Brothers.

E. Christopher Clark

The Chains of Desire
Book 3 of The Stains of Time

Clarkwoods; October 6, 2020

She’s going to be famous. Her dreams are within reach. And if it all comes to pass, she will be murdered…

Boston, Massachusetts, 1990. Music is the one sure thing twelve-year-old Robin Gates has in her life. Though she’s disgusted by the looks she gets from grown male patrons, playing guitar and singing in her mother’s strange bar provides a path to her envisioned future. Until she reads a newspaper from 2006 that contains her obituary…

1998. As a kid, Ashley Silver saw how her family’s artistic efforts brought only despair and poverty. Now eighteen, she refuses to accept that fate and embarks on a lucrative career as an exotic dancer. But despite her misgivings about Robin’s ambition to become a rock star, Ashley can’t help but fall hard for her childhood friend.

Destined to die in her true love’s arms, Robin desperately seeks any means to change her fortune and protect her girlfriend from the doomed truth. But Ashley knows her partner is keeping some dark secret, and it threatens to tear them apart forever.

Is Robin’s death truly predetermined, or can the troubled couple force a happily-ever-after?

The Chains of Desire is the extraordinary third book in The Stains of Time family saga series. If you like intriguing paradoxes, delightful characters, and emotional ups and downs, then you’ll love E. Christopher Clark’s compelling journey into magical realism.

Under the World

Clarkwoods; March 10, 2020

A realm of gilded thrones. A land of tarnished dreams. One world, with two sides.

The fate of seven kingdoms is at stake during an epic card game. A runner flees her broken marriage and barrels straight into her high school reunion. A housebroken husband trades his beloved beagle for a sad, gray donkey. And a brother and sister chase a ghost down a long and lonesome highway into their haunted forest of their past.

Young men and the difficult women who save them, old men and the dream girls who keep them up at night—join these eight heroes in unearthing the startling truth of what rests Under the World.

Will they like what they find there? Will they even be able look it in the eye? And how about you?

Under the World is a short story collection by E. Christopher Clark. If death frightens you, but an unfulfilled life frightens you even more; if you like a good fairy tale as much as you love spine-tingling suspense, then you’ll love this genre-bending union of fantasy and reality.

The Boot of Destiny
Book 2 of The Stains of Time

Clarkwoods; February 18, 2020

She loved him as a father. When he breaks her heart, she’ll raise his darkest specters…

High-school valedictorian Tracy Silver embraced her uncle as the dad she never had. But her perfect image of him shattered when she caught the married man with a half-naked stripper. Now he’s back in town, and she’s determined to render justice with a magical potion.

With the supernatural elixir running through the man’s veins, Tracy presents his memories as evidence in a mystical courtroom. But though she defies him to confirm he’s not like every other man, her righteousness is shaken with the revelation of his dark and shocking secrets.

Can Tracy prove her uncle’s betrayal was real, or will she uncover a deeper truth?

The Boot of Destiny is the second book in the intriguing Stains of Time family saga series. If you like nuanced characters, deep moral quandaries, and a touch of metaphysical mystery, then you’ll love E. Christopher Clark’s coming-of-age tale.

The Piano of Death
Book 1 of The Stains of Time

Clarkwoods; February 18, 2020

She struggles with regret and secrets. Forced to relive her past, can she rewrite her future?

Veronica Silver’s life feels like an endless list of “what ifs?” Pregnant at sixteen, her strict father shoved her into a loveless marriage far away from the woman she truly loved. But her conflicted mind is in for a reboot when a piano falls out of the sky and triggers a harrowing journey down memory lane.

Reviewing her actions with the help of a mysterious figure strikingly resembling her dad, she finds herself on trial over her fateful decisions. But as she relives each scene with fresh eyes, she may trigger a chain reaction that could threaten her beloved daughter and uproot their entire family tree.

Can Veronica rise above a lifetime of mistakes and forge a bright new world?

The Piano of Death is the first book in the captivating Stains of Time family saga series. If you like diverse characters, deep emotional drama, and a touch of magical realism, then you’ll love E. Christopher Clark’s brain-bending tale.

The Seven Wives of Silver

Clarkwoods; November 27, 2018

Family secrets. Forbidden obsessions. A shocking truth to bind them forever.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 19th Century. Silas Silver is desperate to have children and fulfill his mother’s dying wish. But after being ripped from his forbidden love and tossed into the Civil War, he comes to dread the loveless task. And as each one of his young wives suffers an untimely death, he suspects his bloodline is cursed.

Bounty hunter Sarah is a skilled gunslinger with a troubled mind. But her fears about her brother’s violent streak compel her to cut short her sharpshooting career in the untamed West. Returning home, Sarah is shocked to discover the time-defying truth of what goes on behind the dark homestead doors.

Torn between helping him and stopping him, a sister’s love for her brother may end up dooming their family name. With their future heritage in danger, can Silas and Sarah leave their destructive pasts and forge a new destiny?

Bad Poetry Night

Clarkwoods; April 24, 2018

A family of secrets. A writer who can’t keep his mouth shut. An olive branch in the form of book no one will understand anyway.

Matthew Silver has been publishing books about his family for years, and staging plays about their exploits in the barn of their ancestral home on Cape Cod for even longer than that. But when the father who disowned him years before suggests a long-desired reconciliation might finally be possible, if only Matt will attack someone other than his family in the next book, can Matt stay civil long enough to rebuild burnt bridges?

Presenting his father with the collection of poetry that will be his next publication, Matt crosses his fingers. But he knows there are parts of the manuscript that will touch a nerve in the old man, no matter how thickly veiled they are. And as much as Matt wants his father to forgive him, what he wants even more than that is for Dad to finally listen.

Will Matt’s attempt to play nice reunite a father and son long divided, or will his cutting words only drive them further apart?

Bad Poetry Night is the first collection of poetry by the novelist E. Christopher Clark. If you like unconventional storytelling, characters with zero filter, and irreverent humor, then you’ll love the first poetry collection by this fearless and defiant writer.

Missing Mr. Wingfield

Clarkwoods; October 24, 2017

A mother and daughter failed by the men they looked up to. The beginnings of a family saga that stretches across time. Two novels woven together as one.

Veronica Silver’s life feels like an endless list of “what ifs?” Pregnant at sixteen, her strict father shoved her into a loveless marriage far away from the woman she truly loved. But her conflicted mind is in for a reboot when a piano falls out of the sky and triggers a harrowing journey down memory lane.

High-school valedictorian Tracy Silver embraced her uncle as the dad she never had. But her perfect image of him shattered when she caught the married man with a half-naked stripper. Now he’s back in town, and she’s determined to render justice with a magical potion.

Can Veronica and Tracy uncover the deeper truths of their lives by re-examining a lifetime of mistakes?

Missing Mr. Wingfield collects the first two novels of E. Christopher Clark’s family saga series The Stains of Time, weaving them together with bonus materials found nowhere else.

Out of the Woods

Clarkwoods; May 17, 2017

On one side of the forest lay the lands of psychological realism. On the other rest the realms of fantasy and fabulism. And in the long shadows of the trees themselves…

Three sons send their father to Valhalla in his old jalopy. A rusted robot waits on the stone wall by a child’s bus stop. An undertaker is one coin short at the river Styx. And in the bookending stories “Anything But Pure” and “Receding,” a soldier seeks to unbury stories once lost to a winter of war.

Fathers and the daughters they find, girls and the dogs they’ve loved, and a woman from Kansas with a cyclone in her heart—each discovers what happens when people go too far, love too hard, and take too much on their way Out of the Woods.

But will they learn from what they learn? Will they grow. And will you?

Out of the Woods is a short story collection by E. Christopher Clark. If you liked Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, Lincoln Michel’s Upright Beasts, or Luke Geddes’ I Am a Magical Teenage Princess, you’ll love this genre-bending blend of hypnotic fictions inspired by those three great works.

All He Left Behind

Clarkwoods; September 7, 2010

11 stories. A rogues gallery of broken men. How much of themselves will they give up to get what they want? How many loved ones will they leave behind?

Matthew Silver is an alcoholic, a self-proclaimed nymphomaniac, and the unofficial keeper of his family’s long and sordid history. Disowned by his homophobic father in the wake of a disastrous coming out, Matt was taken under the wing of his far more open-minded grandfather. But when Grampy dies and leaves Matt alone under the roof of their family’s ancestral home on Cape Cod, Matt becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth of how the Silvers came to be so broken.

Collecting stories of his family and the people who loved them, Matt weaves together a tapestry ornamented by heroes who range from the loathsome to the lustful, the lascivious to the mischievous. But when years of research get him no closer to elusive truth he’s been after, how far will he go to unburden himself of the pain generations of Silver men have heaped upon his shoulders.

All He Left Behind is the second short story collection by the author E. Christopher Clark. If you like unflinching portrayals of morally ambiguous characters, then you’ll love the short fictions of this fearless and defiant young writer.

Those Little Bastards

Clarkwoods; October 1, 2002

16 tenants. An apartment building that’s in Los Angeles one chapter and Boston the next. A little old landlady who’s just trying to save the world…

Emily Henderson went to church every Sunday. She married the love of her life, had herself a couple of kids, and ran a boarding house for wayward souls in her retirement. But when scientists discovered how to clone her beloved Lord and Savior from DNA found on his death shroud, Emily chafed under the rule of her world’s blasphemous Jesus 2.0.

After a tenant of hers sacrifices himself to save their city, Emily travels back in time to see if she can stop the speeding train of history before it goes off the rails once again. Along the way, she meets a depraved and lonely man who hacks his way to a date in the days before Tinder; a piano instructor has a tawdry affair with a young pop star he’s tutoring; and a husband sent to the doghouse roped into a murder plot by two vagrants living in a nearby open field.

Can Emily save these flawed people from the fate she knows is coming for them all? And if she can, should she?

Those Little Bastards is the obnoxious 2002 debut of author E. Christopher Clark—an “uncensored and unabridged” collection of short stories “peppered with tang and spice” (Psychofairy). If you like stories of vamps and vampires, femme fatales and dirty old men, then you’ll love the short fictions of this fearless and defiant young writer.

Katie Cotugno

You Say It First

Balzer + Bray; June 16, 2020

Meg has her entire life set up perfectly: her boyfriend Mason is sweet and supportive, she and her best friend Emily plan to head to Cornell together in the fall, and she even finds time to clock shifts phonebanking at a voter registration call center in her Philadelphia suburb. But everything changes when one of those calls connects her to a stranger from small-town Ohio, who gets under her skin from the moment he picks up the phone.

Colby is stuck in a rut, reeling from a family tragedy and working a dead-end job—unsure what his future holds, or if he even cares. The last thing he has time for is some privileged rich girl preaching the sanctity of the political process. So he says the worst thing he can think of and hangs up.

But things don’t end there.…

That night on the phone winds up being the first in a series of candid, sometimes heated, always surprising conversations that lead to a long-distance friendship and then—slowly—to something more. Across state lines and phone lines, Meg and Colby form a once-in-a-lifetime connection. But in the end, are they just too different to make it work?

You Say It First is a propulsive, layered novel about how sometimes the person who has the least in common with us can be the one who changes us most.

Rules for Being a Girl

Balzer + Bray; April 7, 2020

Candace Bushnell, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Sex and the City, and Katie Cotugno, New York Times bestselling author of 99 Days, team up to write a fierce, propulsive novel about a girl who is preyed upon by a manipulative teacher and finds the power to fight back. Perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Laurie Halse Anderson.

It starts before you can even remember: You learn the rules for being a girl. . . .

Marin has always been good at navigating these unspoken guidelines. A star student and editor of the school paper, she dreams of getting into Brown University. Marin’s future seems bright—and her young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. Beckett, is always quick to admire her writing and talk books with her.

But when “Bex” takes things too far and comes on to Marin, she’s shocked and horrified. Had she somehow led him on? Was it her fault?

When Marin works up the courage to tell the administration what happened, no one believes her. She’s forced to face Bex in class every day. Except now, he has an ax to grind.

But Marin isn’t about to back down. She uses the school newspaper to fight back and she starts a feminist book club at school. She finds allies—and even romance—in the most unexpected people, like Gray Kendall, who she’d always dismissed as just another lacrosse bro.

As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and write her own rules.

9 Days and 9 Nights

Balzer + Bray; May 1, 2018

Molly Barlow isn’t that girl anymore. A business major at her college in Boston, she’s reinvented herself after everything that went down a year ago… After all the people she hurt and the family she tore apart. Slowly, life is getting back to normal. Molly has just said I love you to her new boyfriend, Ian, and they are off on a romantic European vacation together, starting with scenic London. But there on a tube platform, the past catches up to her in the form of Gabe, her ex, traveling on his own parallel vacation with new girlfriend Sadie. After comparing itineraries, Ian ends up extending an invite for Gabe and Sadie to join them on the next leg of their trip to Ireland. Sadie, who’s dying to go there, jumps at the prospect. And Molly and Gabe can’t bring themselves to tell the truth about who they once were to each other to their new significant others. Now Molly has to spend 9 Days and 9 Nights with the boy she once loved, the boy whose heart she shredded, without Ian knowing. Will she make it through as new improved Molly, or will everything that happened between her and Gabe come rushing back?

“Siege Etiquette”
(Available in Meet Cute)

HMH Books for Young Readers; January 2, 2018

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.
This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

“Riddles in Mathematics”
(Available in Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles)

HarperTeen; December 19, 2017

In this collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, top YA authors tackle the much-debated trope of the love triangle, and the result is sixteen fresh, diverse, and romantic stories you don’t want to miss. A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet. 

What do all these stories have in common?

The love triangle.

Featuring stories by by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff.

Top Ten

Balzer + Bray; October 3, 2017

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of best friends. Prickly, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ultra-popular Ryan is a hockey star who can get any girl he wants–and frequently does. But somehow their relationship just works; from dorky Monopoly nights to rowdy house parties to the top ten lists they make about everything under the sun.

Now, on the night of high school graduation, everything is suddenly changing—in their lives, and in their relationship. As they try to figure out what they mean to each other and where to go from here, they make a final top ten list: this time, counting down the top ten moments of their friendship.


Balzer + Bray; April 11, 2017

From bestselling author Katie Cotugno comes the story of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being two best friends on the verge of greatness.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She’s the talented one, the one who’s been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, is the levelheaded one, always on the sidelines, cheering Olivia on.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where super-producer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

99 Days

Balzer + Bray; April 21, 2015

Molly Barlow is facing one long, hot summer—99 days—with the boy whose heart she broke and the boy she broke it for . . . his brother.

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything. She has every right to hate me, of course: I broke Patrick Donnelly’s heart the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe wouldn’t quit till he got me to come to this party, and I’m surprised to find I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

How to Love

Balzer + Bray; October 1, 2013

Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: natural as breathing, endless as time. He’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists—until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love, hiding out in the back of the restaurant their families own together and taking winding, late-night road trips in his Jeep. But then one day, without a word, Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated – and pregnant – Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to life without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again, making a big play to get Reena back–and to be the kind of dad Hannah deserves. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him–she’s too hurt, too angry, too busy for any kind of happy reunion. Still, she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

Karin Cecile Davidson

Sybelia Drive

Braddock Avenue Books; October 6, 2020

In the small lake town where LuLu, Rainey, and Saul are growing up, day-to-day life is anything but easy. Navigating the usual obstacles of youth would be enough for anyone, but for this trio a world marred by the Vietnam war, detached parents, and untimely death create circumstances overloaded with trouble. Yet through their unyielding resourcefulness and the willingness to expose their vulnerabilities, these three friends discover deeper bonds than even they could ever imagine.

Told through kaleidoscopic images and in prose that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Sybelia Drive is a story of three friends who push beyond the typical woes of childhood into teenage years transformed by the shared baggage of a generation, years when men walk on the moon; students are killed during a peace demonstration at Kent State; and the obligations of military service claim the lives of fathers, husbands, and children.

Investigating the personal impact of social upheaval with unparalleled sensitivity and depth, Sybelia Drive is a novel that will stay with you for a long, long time. It is an extraordinary debut.

Curt Eriksen

A Place of Timeless Harmony

Texas Review Press; November 23, 2017

When Richard Delmore and his lover Sofie Cerruti decide to escape from the confines of their affair in the Twin Cities, they choose the white sands of Zanzibar and the verdant slopes of the outer lip of the Ngorongoro Crater as their romantic destination.  It’s a temporary paradise they’re after, a reprieve from the limitations of the life of deception they lead in the States.

But once they begin their safari through the Serengeti the two lovers become spiritually lost in the teeming yet inhospitable plains of East Africa, where they are forced not only to deal with the consequences of the truths they have kept from each other—the deeper and darker secrets that are painfully worked out allegorically through the events that surround them—but to observe the contrast between their “civilized” and sophisticated lives in Minnesota, and the primitive and sometimes primordial world they have entered.

D. Dina Friedman

Wolf in the Suitcase

Finishing Line Press; March 1, 2019

Dina Friedman voices her poems so casually, only careful readers will wholly appreciate her unruly imagination. Syntactically, a poem like “We Are Stuck in October” destabilizes us right off the bat: “the remnants of leaves/shellacked on the slippery stoop test our dogged/tenacity.”  By poem’s end, we’ve encountered a funeral, a Yankees game, athletes’ acts of conscience during the national anthem, and the ecological perils threatening “these slippery, tilted times.”  Each poem in this book takes us on a journey, many involving Friedman’s Jewish heritage, deeply but skeptically engaged.  “Munich” finds present-day remnants of a murderous history “where fires consumed my ancestors’ hair”; while “The Tenth Plague” gives up-to-the-minute idioms to an Egyptian firstborn harassed by “the Guy [who] hardened the Pharaoh’s heart.”  If Friedman’s default tone is disabused irony, she’s not adverse to praise, as in the stunning “Letter to God from Florida.”  From the itchy intimacy of extracting a child’s head lice to “the sobbing guitar” of the blues, this poet, in her lovely debut, gives thanks for all the world affords. Readers will thank her back.

–Steven Cramer, author of Clangings and Goodbye to the Orchard

escaping into the night

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; September 8, 2009

Halina Rudowski is on the run. When the Polish ghetto where she lives is liquidated, she narrowly escapes, but her mother is not as lucky. Along with her friend, Batya, Halina makes her way to a secret encampment in the woods where Jews survive by living underground. As the group struggles for food, handles infighting, and attempts to protect themselves from the advancing German army, Halina must face the reality of life without her mother.

Based on historical events, this gripping tale sheds light on a little-known aspect of the holocaust, the underground forest encampments that saved several thousand Jews from the Nazis.

Playing Dad’s Song

Farrar, Straus and Giroux; September 5, 2006

Eleven-year old Gus Moskowitz isn’t too thrilled when his mom comes home with an oboe and the news that she’s arranged for him to take lessons with a retired symphony musician. “Maybe you can learn to compose,” she says, trying to convince him. But what Gus wants to compose isn’t music—it’s a different version of his life: a life without Ivan the Terrible, who taunts him every day at middle school; a life without his older sister Liza, argument wizard extraordinaire and the shoo-in star of every school play. Most of all, in Gus’s life the way he’d like to compose it, September 11th would have never happened and his dad would still be alive, singing in the subways, and picking him up on Wednesday nights, the way he always did, flinging open the door and belting, “The Phantom of the Opera is here!”

It’s an accident that gets Gus to consider trying out for Captain Hook in the upcoming school production of Peter Pan. After buying an eye patch to cover up another run-in with Ivan the Terrible, he’s got to give his mom some excuse. But then he remembers that his dad, a struggling actor, had always liked playing bad guys. Dad believed most people didn’t play villains with enough heart. If Gus could play Captain Hook with the right kind of heart, maybe he could bring his father back somehow. Maybe through acting, he’d finally be able to feel his father inside him.

But there’s one problem.

Gus has stage fright. Terrible stage fright. He can’t even do his class presentation. How is he ever going to make it through an audition?

With the help of his sister, Liza, his oboe teacher, Mr. M., and the nameless neighborhood dog tied up in the yard by the edge of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, Gus learns some valuable lessons about auditioning, composing and life.

Cynthia Sally Haggard

Farewell My Life

Spun Stories Press; July 1, 2019

Angelina led a life which required her to fib. When Angelina, the black sheep of the Pagano family, meets the mysterious Mr. Russell, she has no idea that she has seen him before…in another country. And so begins Farewell My Life, a novel in three parts, which spins an operatic tale of dangerous love and loss.

The Lost Mother, the first part of this novel, slices back and forth between time and space, opening in the charming village of Georgetown, Washington D.C. while reflecting a family’s troubled past in the lovely village of Marostica in the Italian Veneto. An Unsuitable Suitor, the second part of the novel, is a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s Berlin. Farewell My Life, the last part of the novel, set again in Berlin, Germany, during the dark 1930s as the Nazis gain power, takes comfortable lives, assumptions and civilizations and crumbles them into ash.

Thwarted Queen

Spun Stories Press; October 18, 2011

THWARTED QUEEN is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.

This novel contains many voices, not least those of the Londoners, who forged their own political destiny by engaging in public debate with the powerful aristocrats of the time – Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (the King’s uncle), Richard, Duke of York (the King’s cousin) and Richard, Earl of Warwick, (known as Warwick the Kingmaker) – and set the stage for American Democracy.

Celia Jeffries

Blue Desert

Rootstock Publishing; April 20, 2021

Blue Desert is the story of Alice George, a headstrong young British woman, and her life among the Tuareg, a tribe of nomadic warriors. While the outside world faced the catastrophe of World War I, the Tuareg continued to crisscross the Sahara. A matrilineal society in which the men are veiled and the women hold property—a world in which anything can happen—it was a world well suited to eighteen-year-old Alice, who discovers a life she could never live in corseted England.

In 1917, Alice returns home to a world completely alien to the one she had left seven years before. Her silence about her life in the Sahara is broken five decades later when she receives a telegram announcing Abu has died in the desert. “Who is Abu?” her husband asks. “My lover,” she replies. Thus begins a weeklong journey of revelation as Alice finally lays bare her secrets.

“An exquisite story about a woman finding her place, in the outer landscape of her surroundings as well as the inner landscape of her heart.” — Jennifer Rosner, author of The Yellow Bird Sings

“Crossing continents, cultures, and history, this story of one woman’s ordeal and renewal is filled with hope and generosity. The same can be said of Blue Desert, an exquisite, expansive, and transporting novel.” —Hester Kaplan, author of The Tell

Hayley Krischer

Something Happened To Ali Greenleaf

Razorbill; October 6, 2020

CW: Intense scenes depicting sexual assault and drug abuse, reference to an eating disorder, mental illness, trauma, PTSD, bullying, victim blaming

Ali Greenleaf and Blythe Jensen couldn’t be more different.

Ali is sweet, bitingly funny, and just a little naive. Blythe is beautiful, terrifying, and the most popular girl in school. They’ve never even talked to each other, until a party when Ali decides she’ll finally make her move on Sean Nessel, her longtime crush and the soccer team’s superstar. But Sean pushes Ali farther than she wants to go. When she resists–he rapes her.

Blythe sees Ali when she runs from the party, everyone sees her. And Blythe knows something happened with Sean; she knows how he treats girls. Even so, she’s his best friend, his confidant. When he tells her it was a misunderstanding, she decides to help him make things right.

So Blythe befriends Ali, bringing her into a circle of ruthless popular girls, and sharing her own dark secrets. Despite the betrayal at the heart of their relationship, they see each other, in a way no one ever has before.

In her searing, empowering debut novel, Hayley Krischer tells the story of what happened that night, and how it shaped Ali and Blythe forever. Both girls are survivors in their own ways, and while their friendship might not be built to last, it’s one that empowers each of them to find justice on their own terms.

Chaney Kwak

The Passenger: How a Travel Writer Learned to Love Cruises & Other Lies from a Sinking Ship

David R. Godine, Publisher; June 2021

In March 2019, the Viking Sky cruise ship was struck by a bomb cyclone in the North Atlantic. Rocked by 60-foot swells and 87-mile-per-hour gales, the ship lost power and began to drift straight toward the notoriously dangerous Hustadvika coast in Norway. This is the suspenseful, harrowing, funny, touching story by one passenger who contemplated death aboard that ship.

Chaney Kwak is a travel writer used to all sorts of mishaps on the road, but this is a first even for him: trapped on the battered cruise ship, he stuffs his passport into his underwear just in case his body has to be identified. As the massive cruise ship sways in surging waves, Kwak holds on and watches news of the impending disaster unfold on Twitter, where the cruise ship’s nearly 1,400 passengers are showered with “thoughts and prayers.” Kwak uses his twenty-seven hours aboard the teetering ship to examine his family history, maritime tragedies, and the failing relationship back on shore with a man he’s loved for nearly two decades: the Viking Sky, he realizes, may not be the only sinking ship he needs to escape.

The Passenger takes readers for an unforgettable journey from the Norwegian coast to the South China Sea, from post-WWII Korea to pandemic-struck San Francisco. Kwak weaves his personal experience into events spanning decades and continents to explore the serendipity and the relationships that move us—perfect for readers who love to discover world travel through the eyes of a perceptive and humorous observer.

Lyz Lenz

Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women

Bold Type Books; August 11, 2020

Written with a blend of wit, snark, and raw intimacy, Belabored is an impassioned and irreverent defense of the autonomy, rights, and dignity of pregnant people. Lenz shows how religious, historical, and cultural myths about pregnancy have warped the way we treat pregnant people: when our representatives enact laws criminalizing abortion and miscarriage, when doctors prioritize the health of the fetus over the life of the pregnant patient in front of them, when baristas refuse to serve visibly pregnant women caffeine. She also reflects on her own experiences of carrying her two children and seeing how the sacrifices demanded during pregnancy carry over seamlessly into the cult of motherhood, where women are expected to play the narrowly defined roles of “wife” and “mother” rather than be themselves.

Belabored is an urgent call for us to trust women and let them choose what happens to their own bodies, from a writer who “is on a roll” (Bitch Magazine).

God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America

Indiana University Press; July 19, 2019

In the wake of the 2016 election, Lyz Lenz watched as her country and her marriage were torn apart by the competing forces of faith and politics. A mother of two, a Christian, and a lifelong resident of middle America, Lenz was bewildered by the pain and loss around her―the empty churches and the broken hearts. What was happening to faith in the heartland?

From drugstores in Sydney, Iowa, to skeet shooting in rural Illinois, to the mega churches of Minneapolis, Lenz set out to discover the changing forces of faith and tradition in God’s country. Part journalism, part memoir, God Land is a journey into the heart of a deeply divided America. Lenz visits places of worship across the heartland and speaks to the everyday people who often struggle to keep their churches afloat and to cope in a land of instability. Through a thoughtful interrogation of the effects of faith and religion on our lives, our relationships, and our country, God Land investigates whether our divides can ever be bridged and if America can ever come together.

“All the Angry Women”
(Available in Not That Bad)

Harper Perennial; May 1, 2018

In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to MeNot That Bad will resonate with every reader, saying “something in totality that we cannot say alone.”

Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.

Hunter Liguore

The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup

Yeehoo Press; August 24, 2021

A rumination on our ability to recognize our interconnectedness with all people, that in order to eat a single meal, it takes the whole world to make it.

There’s something special bubbling in Nanni’s big metal pot. And it smells delicious! What ingredients might be inside? When Nanni lifts the lid on her soup, she reveals the whole world inside: from the seeds that grew into vegetables, to the gardeners who lovingly tended to the plants, to the sun, moon, and stars that shone its light above them. And, of course, no meal is complete without a recipe passed down generations of family, topped and finished with Nanni’s love.

In this tender tale by award-winning author Hunter Liguore and artist Vikki Zhang, readers will marvel at how a community and world can come together to put on an unforgettable meal between a granddaughter and her Nanni.

Gene Luetkemeyer

The Penitentiary Tales: A Love Story

Laughing Buddha Books; November 12, 2019

Penitentiary Tales: A Love Story recounts the escapades of Dean Davis, a thirty-something, educated, straight white male from the affluent community of Sausalito, in Marin County, California, who is sent to an Illinois prison dominated by a daunting, ethnically diverse population of inmates from the mean streets of Chicago. His wife Lucy and infant daughter Lola await on the outside. Lucy pleads that Dean not let the experience change him, that he be the same man when he gets out that he was when he went in.

Like Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, which celebrates the lives of the disenfranchised during the Great Depression without railing against social injustice, Penitentiary Tales: A Love story sheds light on the daily lives of its characters, and on their humanity no matter how obscured by circumstance.

EA Luetkemeyer spent four years of a ten year sentence in an Illinois State Prison in the eighties for possession of Marijuana, an experience he embraces and which informs much of his writing and his world-view.

Inside the Mind of Martin Mueller

BookBaby; November 7, 2018

A dazzling debut novel, Inside The Mind of Martin Mueller tells the story of a man of wealth and taste whose mission in life is no less than to “reassemble the scattered shards of the shattered Over-soul of mankind.” He believes the penitentiary he’s an inmate of is in the basement of his country estate. Daily he discards the fine clothes of a retired billionaire and dons the blue denim of a prisoner and takes an elevator down to his cell where he toils obsessively at his masterpiece, a manuscript which when completed will alter the course of the evolution of humanity and earn him a high place among his brethren-to-be, the Illuminati. Is he delusional? Which is real—the mansion or the cell block or both? Inside The Mind of Martin Muller is a Rorschach inkblot test of a twisted tale: what you see is what you get.

The Book of Chuck

Transformation Publishing; April 3, 2009

The Book of Chuck is a memorial compilation of poetry and prose to honor a brother who died in 2006, a few months before his 60th birthday. He was a mostly unpublished poet who saved decades of his writing–in notebooks, on calendars and napkins and scraps of paper. His poetry and prose pieces are intertwined with anecdotes, incidents, and sentiments provided by family and friends. Gene originally published The Book of Chuck to distribute to those who knew him.

Celeste Mohammed


Ig Publishing; May 4, 2021

Coconut trees. Carnival. Rum and coke. To many outsiders, these idyllic images represent the supposed easy life in Caribbean nations such as Trinidad and Tobago. However, the reality is far different for those who live there—a society where poverty and patriarchy savagely rule, and where love and revenge often go hand in hand.

Written in a combination of English and Trinidad Creole, Pleasantview reveals the dark side of the Caribbean dream. In this novel-in-stories about a fictional town in Trinidad, we meet a political candidate who sets out to slaughter endangered turtles for fun, while his rival candidate beats his “outside-woman,” so badly she ends up losing their baby. On the night of a political rally, the abused woman exacts a very public revenge, the trajectory of which echoes through Pleasantview, ending with one boy introducing another boy to a gun and to an ideology which will help him aim the weapon.

Merging the beauty and brutality of Trinidadian culture evoked by writers such as Ingrid Persaud and Claire Adam with the linguistic experimentation of Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven KillingsPleasantview is1 a landmark work from an important new voice in international literary fiction.

Lee Okan

The Lives of Atoms

Nixes Mate Books; March 28, 2018

In an ambitious first book Lee Okan draws a daring parallel between the life of the universe and our own lives and loves. Here is a remarkable weaving of metaphysics and physics, in dreamlike writing as much poetry as prose. Here is a fiction aware of its construction – and willing to let us witness its sequences and discoveries. — Danielle Legros Georges, Poet Laureate, City of Boston

Buki Papillon

An Ordinary Wonder

Dialogue Books (Little, Brown UK); September 7, 2021

Oto leaves for boarding school with one plan: excel and escape his cruel home. Falling in love with his roommate was certainly not on the agenda, but fear and shame force him to hide his love and true self.

Back home, weighed down by the expectations of their wealthy and powerful family, the love of Oto’s twin sister wavers and, as their world begins to crumble around them, Oto must make drastic choices that will alter the family’s lives for ever.

Richly imagined with art, proverbs and folk tales, this moving and modern novel follows Oto through life at home and at boarding school in Nigeria, through the heartbreak of living as a boy despite their profound belief they are a girl, and through a hunger for freedom that only a new life in the United States can offer.

An Ordinary Wonder is a powerful coming-of-age story that explores complex desires as well as challenges of family, identity, gender and culture, and what it means to feel whole.

Lauren Paredes

Erasure Poems
(Available in Trnsfr Issue 7)

Trnsfr; 2020

Trnsfr is back. It’s 2020 and the world is on fire. Cut your hair.

Fiction by X. C. Atkins, Mel Bosworth & Ryan Ridge, Paul Kavanagh, David Nutt, Gina Nutt, Forrest Roth, and Joe Sacksteder Poetry by Rosie Accola, Diannely Antigua, Emily Brandt, Tim Carter, Holly Day, jayy dodd, Kit Hodge, Debora Kuan, Michael Sikkema, and Lisa Summe Art: Cover illustration by Jordan Gaza; interior artwork by Louie Barrett, Todd Colby, and Casey Hannan Plus a packet of erasures by Lauren Paredes and a supplement by Brandon Downing

Otherwise, Magic

First Matter Press; February 28, 2019

“A lovely collection of divinatory symbols masquerading as poems, in Otherwise, Magic, Lauren Paredes beckons us into her world where the paradox of modern life combines with fairy tale. She shrouds us in beautiful language, gentle rhythm and a wide-eyed wonder. We, like the speaker, find spiritual meaning in ‘the only newborn to board this plane,’ ‘the taste of merlot and party-soft cheese’ and always, always, the celestial influence of the Moon and her metaphysical counterparts.”
—Elizabeth Hellstern, author of How to Live: A Suggestive Guide & creator of the Telepoem Booth®

Hurley Winkler

“On Crests and Troughs”
(Available in 15 Views of Jacksonville)

Burrow Press; 2018

15  Views of Jacksonville: Stories From a Bold City is a literary portrait of Jacksonville, FL told in fifteen short stories and one essay by sixteen Jacksonville authors. Sprawling from Atlantic Beach to Orange Park, Northside to Arlington, these stories navigate the city sporadically, capturing Duval County in a way only those who know her can. Story to story, you’ll cross bridges and be introduced to this city’s small pockets of bold absurdity.


Michael Anthony


Zest Books TM; August 1, 2016

After twelve months of military service in Iraq, Michael Anthony stepped off a plane, seemingly happy to be home—or at least back on U.S. soil. He was twenty-one years old, a bit of a nerd, and carrying a pack of cigarettes that he thought would be his last. Two weeks later, Michael was high on Vicodin, drunk and drinking more, and picking a fight with a very large Hell’s Angel. At his wit’s end, he came to an agreement with himself: If things didn’t improve in three months, he was going to kill himself (but in the meantime, he had some dating classes to attend). Civilianized is a surprising and dark-humored memoir that chronicles Michael’s search for meaning in a suddenly destabilized world.

Mass Casualties

Adams Media; October 18, 2009

It was Week 7 of basic training . . . eighteen years old and I was preparing myself to die.

They say the Army makes a man out of you, but for eighteen-year-old SPC Michael Anthony, this fabled rite of passage is instead a dark and dangerous journey. After obtaining his parents’ approval to enlist at seventeen, Anthony begins this journey with an unshakeable faith in the military based on his family’s long tradition of service. But when he finds himself in a medical unit of misfits as lost as he is, Anthony not only witnesses firsthand the unspeakable horror of war, he experiences the undeniable misconduct of the military. Everything he’s ever believed in dissolves, forcing Anthony to rethink his ideals and ultimately risk his career—and his freedom—to challenge the military that once commanded his loyalty.

This searing memoir chronicles the experiences that change one young soldier forever. A seasoned veteran before the age of twenty-one, he faces the truth about the war—and himself—in this shocking and unprecedented eyewitness account.

Lisa Gruenberg

My City of Dreams: A Memoir

TidePool Press; January 1, 2019

In this carefully researched and hauntingly written memoir, Lisa Gruenberg not only records her own life, but also that of relatives long lost to darkness, terror, and murder. In dreamlike sequences she weaves known facts of the lives of those lost into tableaus of imagined family dinners, conversations and leisure activities set in the Vienna landscape. She especially brings back to life some of the girls and women whose fates remain largely unknown. Indeed, she embodies her aunt Mia as she walks in her shoes, sees with her eyes, and speaks with her voice. These flights into the past are presented within the framework of Gruenberg’s own family, her husband and daughters, and her father. He escaped from Vienna in 1939 and shared few of his memories with her, and that only late in life when disease had beaten down his defenses against remembering.

The trauma and feeling of guilt often described in Holocaust survivors is reflected in this memoir, also the burden shared by so many of their children and grandchildren. At the same time, this tale is one of lightness and finding balance in all these difficulties and trials. There is an endless network of cousins and friends of cousins, one more colorful than the next. They are spread all over the world and Gruenberg seeks many of them out in her search for the past.

At the center stands author’s ability to look at the truth unflinchingly, including truths apparent in herself. She shares her insights in all their nakedness, starkness and, yes, hilarity. This, together with the author’s luminous prose, make My City of Dreams an important landmark in 21st century testimony of the Holocaust.

Read an excerpt from the book

Megan Margulies

My Captain America: A Granddaughter’s Memoir of a Legendary Comic Book Artist

Pegasus Books; August 4, 2020

In the 1990s, Megan Margulies’s Upper West Side neighborhood was marked by addicts shooting up in subway stations, frequent burglaries, and the “Wild Man of 96th Street,” who set fires under cars and heaved rocks through stained glass church windows. The world inside her parents’ tiny one-bedroom apartment was hardly a respite, with a family of five—including some loud personalities—eventually occupying the 550-square-foot space.

Salvation arrived in the form of her spirited grandfather, Daddy Joe, whose midtown studio became a second home to Megan. There, he listened to her woes, fed her Hungry Man frozen dinners, and simply let her be. His living room may have been dominated by the drawing table, notes, and doodles that marked him as Joe Simon the cartoonist. But for Megan, he was always Daddy Joe: an escape from her increasingly hectic home, a nonjudgmental voice whose sense of humor was as dry as his farfel, and a steady presence in a world that felt off balance.

Evoking New York City both in the 1980s and ’90s and during the Golden Age of comics in the 1930s and ’40s, My Captain America flashes back from Megan’s story to chart the life and career of Rochester-native Joe Simon, from his early days retouching publicity photos and doing spot art for magazines, to his partnership with Jack Kirby at Timely Comics (the forerunner of Marvel Comics), which resulted in the creation of beloved characters like Captain America, the Boy Commandos, and Fighting American.

My Captain America offers a tender and sharply observed account of Megan’s life with Daddy Joe—and an intimate portrait of the creative genius who gave us one of the most enduring superheroes of all time.

Kathy Park (Woolbert)

Bowing Into Sensei Glioblastoma

Self-Published; May 22, 2021

Poetry and prose that describes using aikido principles, humor, a positive attitude, and grit to live with the multiple challenges of glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. This book is intended to be helpful to anyone facing life challenges, whether they be serious and life threatening or day-to-day.

Aikido Off the Mat: One woman’s journey using Aikido principles to stay sane in body, mind, and spirit

Blue Snake Books; August 7, 2018

A deeply personal and compelling memoir that illustrates how the basic principles of Aikido can help us cope with the challenges of life outside the dojo

Drawing from more than forty years of experience as an Aikido practitioner and teacher, Kathy Park explains how principles such as embodiment, grounding, centering, extension, 360-degree awareness, blending, and alignment can be applied to everyday life. Candid stories from her own life show how the purpose of practicing Aikido on the mat is to take it off the mat and into the world.

Coyote Points the Way: Borderland Stories and Plays

Mercury HeartLink; February 10, 2015

Coyote Points the Way: Borderland Stories and Plays. is a compilation of fiction, nonfiction and ten-minute plays that explore the borderlands, both literal and figurative, where individual resourcefulness, creativity, intuitive knowing and courage make all the difference. Many of the stories are set in Colorado’s vast San Luis Valley, the largest alpine valley in the lower 48 states; two of the plays are derived from the author’s experience teaching holistic health in a federal women’s prison; and all of the pieces are inspired by the people, animals, times and places that continue to shape the author’s life.

Seeing Into Stone: A Sculptor’s Journey

Mercury HeartLink; October 29, 2011

Set in a ghost town in California’s Mojave Desert, Seeing Into Stone: A Sculptor’s Journey is a memoir about the author’s struggle with flaws in her vision, her carvings and her new marriage as she searches for her identity as an artist. Through her fifteen-year apprenticeship with Gordon Newell, a wise and patient stone sculptor, she learns that carving stone and wood can be understood as a metaphor for life: go with the grain and not against it; trust that the form inside will emerge in its own good time; and realize that understanding comes slowly, chip by chip.

Janet Pocorobba

The Fourth String: A Memoir of Sensei and Me

Stone Bridge Press; March 12, 2019

The word sensei in Japanese literally means “one who came before,” but that’s not what Janet Pocorobba’s teacher wanted to be called. She used her first name, Western-style. She wore a velour Beatles cap and leather jacket, and she taught foreigners, in English, the three-stringed shamisen, an instrument that fell out of tune as soon as you started to play it. 

Vexed by the music and Sensei’s mission to upend an elite musical system, Pocorobba, on the cusp of thirty, gives up her return ticket home to become a lifelong student of her teacher. She is eventually featured in Japan Cosmo as one of the most accomplished gaijin, “outside people,” to play the instrument.

Part memoir, part biography of her Sensei, The Fourth String looks back on the initial few years of that apprenticeship, one that Janet’s own female English students advised her was “wife training,” steeped in obedience, loyalty, and duty. Even with her maverick teacher, Janet is challenged by group hierarchies, obscure traditions, and the tricky spaces of silence in Japanese life.

Anmoku ryokai , Sensei says to explain: “We have to understand without saying.”

By the time Janet finds out this life might not be for her, she is more at home in the music than the Japanese will allow.

For anyone who has had a special teacher, or has lost themselves in another world, Janet Pocorobba asks questions about culture, learning, tradition, and self. As Gish Jen has said of The Fourth String, “What does it mean to be taught? To be transformed?”

Julie Wittes Schlack

Burning and Dodging: A Novel

Black Rose Writing; December 23, 2021

On the cusp of sixty, after a lifetime of supporting the aspirations of others, would-be artist Tina Gabler is feeling a sense of urgency to take her own ambitions seriously and put her creative talents to the test. Temporarily unattached, Tina takes a position with former prime-time news anchor, Peter Bright at his home in the Thousand Islands. Aging and frail, Peter is trying to finish a book about the decline of objectivity in photojournalism—a meticulously documented exposé of iconic but staged photographs that defined “reality” for an increasingly lazy and credulous public that, Peter believes, demands stories more than facts.

As Peter’s research assistant, Tina tracks down not just the provenance of his photos, but also the unidentified child in a Roman Vishniac photograph and Peter’s estranged daughter, a Cree girl he adopted during the notorious “Sixties Scoop” in Canada. But in trying to create happy endings for other people’s children, she must reexamine her relationship with her own father, and the quest for collective versus personal achievement that has brought her to this unsettled moment.

Funny, searching, and gorgeously written, Burning and Dodging entertains as it reveals how the stories we construct about others support the stories we tell about ourselves.

“Mindfulness and Memoir”
(Available in The Science of Story)

Bloomsbury; January 9, 2020

Bringing together a diverse range of writers, The Science of Story is the first book to ask the question: what can contemporary brain science teach us about the art and craft of creative nonfiction writing? Drawing on the latest developments in cognitive neuroscience the book sheds new light on some of the most important elements of the writer’s craft, from perspective and truth to emotion and metaphor.

This All-At-Onceness

Regal House Publishing; May 31, 2019

In This All-at-Onceness, Julie Wittes Schlack takes us on her vivid, personal journey through the political and cultural movements that have shaped every generation from the Baby Boomers to the Parkland kids. She examines the unlikely and twisting relationship between idealism and engineering that has promised a future of progress and hope, but only occasionally delivered on it, and asks why.

Her tale begins in 1967, when both the Summer of Love and Our World, the first live broadcast to and from the entire globe, created a sense that a compassionate, progressive global village was in the making. Through the civil rights and ant-war movements to the birth of Second Wave feminism, from the wintery ‘70s to the shiny rise of corporate culture in the ‘80s, from the democratic early days of the Web to today’s social surveillance state, Wittes Schlack tells a story about idealistic energy and how it travels through time.

Personal and political, intimate and informative, bracing and comic, these linked essays take us to an abortion mill in rural Quebec, the Michigan home of numerous UFO sightings, an abandoned Shaker village, the dust-clogged air of garment sweatshops in Allentown, a philanthropic corporate breakfast, and a series of dystopian market research conferences. They ask: Are we at the gates of the digital Promised Land? Or are we exiles wandering in the desert with only tweeting Kardashians for company?

Kelly Fig Smith

“The Hatbox”
(Available in Three Minus One: Stories of Parents’ Love and Loss)

She Writes Press; May 6, 2014

Three Minus One: Parents’ Stories of Love and Loss is a collection of intimate, soul-baring stories and artwork by parents who have lost a child to stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death, inspired by the film Return to Zero.
The loss of a child is unlike any other, and the impact that it has on the mother, the father, their family, and their friends is devastating—a shockwave of pain and guilt that spreads through their entire community. But the majority of those affected, especially mothers, often suffer their pain in silence, convinced that their grief and trauma is theirs to bear alone. This anthology of raw memoirs, heartbreaking stories, truthful poems, beautiful painting, and stunning photography from the parents who have suffered child loss offers insight into this unique, devastating and life-changing experience—breaking the silence and offering a ray of hope to the many parents out there in search of answers, understanding, and healing.

Deborah Sosin

Breaking Free of Addiction

Between Sessions Resource; November 6, 2017

This workbook offers forty-two therapeutic homework assignments that will help you learn about your substance use, make healthy choices, practice new skills, and try strategies to prevent relapse. There are nine sections of exercises. Each section will help you learn a specific set of skills. For each exercise, there is an objective and a brief overview of the topic. Then you’ll find a short vignette called Does This Sound Like You? followed by the exercise itself. A section called Reflections on This Exercise follows, where you can jot down notes, insights, memories, goals, or any other thoughts. Each exercise ends with a feedback section, where you’ll rate how much the exercise helped you and write about what else you could do to progress in your recovery.

Charlotte and the Quiet Place

Plum Blossom Books; August 11, 2015

Charlotte likes quiet. But wherever Charlotte goes, she is surrounded by noise, noise, noise—her yipping dog, Otto; the squeaky, creaky swings; the warbling, wailing sirens. Even in the library, children yammer and yell. Where can Charlotte find a quiet place? Sara Woolley’s magnificent watercolors bring Charlotte’s city to life when Otto leads her on a wild chase through the park. There, Charlotte discovers a quiet place where she never would have imagined!

Sometimes children need a break from our noisy, over-stimulating world. Charlotte and the Quiet Place shows how a child learns and practices mindful breathing on her own and experiences the beauty of silence. All children will relate to the unfolding adventure and message of self-discovery and empowerment. Parents, teachers, and caretakers of highly active or sensitive children will find this story especially useful.

Amber Wong

“Nature Has Its Say”
(Available in The Pandemic Midlife Crisis: Gen X Women on the Brink)

The HerStories Project; August 2021

In this essay collection, thirty-one midlife women describe their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are writers, teachers, artists, mothers, daughters, caregivers, activists, friends, and neighbors. They share stories of heartache, joy, loss, love, sacrifice, despair, anxiety, loneliness, and connection. Resilience is at the heart of each essay. Gen X women were overwhelmed and stretched like never before by this pandemic. They were hit hard in all of their many roles — as workers, as caregivers, and more. In this anthology, women share how they coped with this unprecedented crisis. This collection will take you behind the news headlines of job losses, virtual schooling, and quarantines. These stories reveal how real women have confronted the daily challenges of pandemic life.

Leah Young

Divine Flow

Self-Published; May 9, 2008

Divine Flow is a collection of inspiring affirmations complemented by the original artwork of healing artist Mindy Sommers. The book is so beautiful it’s hard to choose whether the art or the affirmations are the most compelling. A beautifully orchestrated piece of readable art created to inspire, illuminate and ignite your life.


Clarissa Adkins

Building Alexandria

Lily Poetry Review; April 2, 2021

“Clarissa Adkins has a mind I’d love to inhabit, fully attuned to the strangenesses of love, parenthood, mortality, and fleeting beauty. These poems are playful, sharp, dextrous, and witty—but they’re also filled with sonic brilliance, her mastery of the musical possibilities of language evident throughout. This is a terrific first book, one that I’ll return to with great pleasure.” — Kevin Prufer, author of The Art of Fiction

KB Ballentine

Edge of the Echo

Iris Press; May 7, 2021

KB Ballentine gathers poems into four sections that honor the ancient rhythms of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Edge of the Echo explores these elements and how they weave through the human experience and, though we are encompassed by them every day, we don’t fully understand them. At the threshold of each season there is a mystic balance between the stones and the stars. The early Celts recognized what we have forgotten: the seasons of the year reflect an invisible geography between nature and the human soul. In this world full of upheaval and clatter, we need more than ever the tenacity of nature—its magic and variety that mends our weariness. This collection of poems invites the elements to speak to us once again.

The Light Tears Loose

Blue Light Press; July 2, 2019

Sky, trees, water, birds: though nature appears everywhere in my work, it rarely does so for its own sake. It is more symbolic of internal or external struggle, development, and thought rather than as “pretty” detail. The poems in The Light Tears Loose move from illustrations of light into dark – then darker – territory before they morph back to light.

Past and present circumstances often feel overwhelming, but it is in seeking that “silver lining” that we find reason to move forward, to keep going when the way seems vague or threatening. Our fear in living does not keep us from experiencing love and beauty, friendship and brightness along the way.

As witnesses in the world, by connecting with nature, we can indulge ourselves with rest and renewal because we see it happen day after day, season after season. Darkness and winter come to us all but so do sunshine and spring. This is what we hold on to, even when the shadows creep so close we can’t breathe. Keep moving forward: on the other side is the light.

Almost Everything, Almost Nothing

Middle Creek Publishing & Audio; September 6, 2017

Our connections with the past, with each other and our surroundings, and with current events sculpt our attitudes and actions. In Almost Everything, Almost Nothing these moments of connection come and go, as though a needle were piercing and stitching a field of material, a material patterned with the more constant but with its own seasonally shifting cycles of birds and flowers and weather patterns. The current events of this decade lie here like bones or hues of ashes and bruise, the occasional seep of deep aches.

—David Anthony Martin, author of Span and Deepening The Map

The Perfume of Leaving

Blue Light Press; August 12, 2016

The Perfume of Leaving follows bass notes of loss and top notes of yearning through seasons of life. This journey we must all take brings sorrow and laughter, hurt and joy, but, most importantly, discovery of ourselves and our fellow travelers. The perfume that lingers in our lives is sometimes more potent than the stoppered bottle we cling to. Let go. Breathe deep.

What Comes of Waiting

1st World Publishing; July 26, 2013

Some people flow in and out of our lives like water – rushing through like a stream, surrounding us like a peaceful lake then maybe traveling on to the sea. Some people are more like rocks: sturdy, stable, reliable – always there. Everyone we meet informs our sensibilities of the larger world around us, not allowing us to become so absorbed that we forget ourselves in this mad-dash through life.

What Comes of Waiting introduces the reader to people who voluntarily leave us as well as those we lose without their choice, much sooner than we would wish. The later poems embrace the people who endure, those who stay with us through sorrow and joy. Rock and water, both sources of inspiration.

Fragments of Light

Celtic Cat Publishing; June 30, 2009

Light stalking shadow. Spring chasing winter. Fragments of Light explores cycles, how light and shadow affect nature, people. Begin the journey and chase the changing months in the moon poems. Linger within them as language wraps around allusion. Discover the various names for each full moon.

Follow as each morning dawns with hope and promise; reflect as night descends and “shadows stretch/ hoary fingers” (“Cold Moon”). Pursue the ambiguous, intangible feelings that are as difficult to grasp as shifting light.

Move with each season’s shadow and light. Each requires the other. Adversity attempts to cover light with its darkness. But, though the moon waxes and wanes, fragments of light are never extinguished. Continue to reach for that light throughout the weeks and months ahead – homing towards journey’s end.

Gathering Stones

Celtic Cat Publishing; 1st edition; January 21, 2008

Have you ever been to a place so breathtaking some emotional well-spring rises that makes it hurt to view it? I have—on the western coast of that little green rock known as Ireland, Erin, Eire, Rosaleen.

Many names to match her many qualities—terrifying and lovely, serene and turmoiled; a land peopled by warriors and druids, farmers and fishermen, commoners and kings. Then there are the Others—the Little People of folklore and legend, and the stones that have existed since before time began—they, too, have a story to tell.

From the cities of the North and East to the moonscape of the Burren stepping out to the Aran Islands in the West, Ireland is an island of voices – each yearning to be heard. Not to the exclusion of the others, but in addition to them—a joining of spirits across the ages.

And voices answer across the ocean, each heartbeat echoes the pounding surf, its depths as beyond reach as the past. For every coastal town that saw her children leave for a better life, for each field filled with the blood of her youth, there has been a homecoming. A few generations after many families left Ireland for the hope of a better life—or at least a life—her children are returning.

Gathering Stones will take you on a journey of Ireland’s past through her turbulent history and into her promising future. Gather stones of new memory as you read, a better vision of what she can become. Between wisps of fog and watery sun, blue peeks again and pinpricks of silver shimmer across the sea.

Shari Caplan

Advice from a Siren

Dancing Girl Press; July 2016

“Advice from a Siren is a very strong group of poems, and I anticipate sharing it with students, particularly those who are interested in how culture creates and shapes identities… the poems both document the ugliness of patriarchy (“Winners,” “Clerks,” “The Bruise”…) and explore the dimensions and possibilities of resistance through femininity (“Clementines,” “A Metaphor a Girl Can Be,” “Baudelaire’s Lover”…). It is a collection that rewards rereading, and that is wonderfully playful and serious. I’m glad that it is out in the world.” — J.D. Scrimgeour

Mollie Chandler

“The Wait”
(Available in Massachusetts’s Best Emerging Poets)

Z Publishing; 2019

Words fly freely in Massachusetts, a distinctly American state. Freedom was sparked in Boston, where colonists stood up against the British and launched the American Revolution. But a love of independence is only one part of the state’s charm. As home to Harvard and MIT, Massachusetts is a beacon of higher education and a thriving start-up culture. And to this day, countless words express its ideals.

And in Massachusetts’ Best Emerging Poets 2019, 55 up-and-coming poets share their own ideals. Covering a wide array of topics ranging from love and heartbreak, family and friendship, the inherent beauty of nature, and so much more, these previously unknown young talents will amaze you. Containing one poem per poet, this anthology is a compelling introduction to the great wordsmiths of tomorrow.

Eileen Cleary

Voices Amidst the Virus: Poets Respond to the Pandemic (Anthology)

Lily Poetry Review; October 5, 2020

122 pages. Poems about our shared experiences of isolation, lock-down, re-entry. Poems which confront despair and reach for hope. And of course, sourdough. Featuring works by multiple Lesley MFA alums and mentors.

Child Ward of the Commonwealth

Main Street Rag Press; June 26, 2019

“We humans often lie about the nature of our childhoods because certain wounds cannot be born enough to be fully expressed. In Child Ward of the Commonwealth, Eileen Cleary brilliantly captures the truthfulness of child consciousness within a world of trauma for her speaker. That Cleary’s poems do this with such beauty, clarity, and formal acumen astonishes me. This is a devastating collection, one in which many readers will find the relief of seeing themselves. –Erin Belieu

Lisa DeSiro

Simple as a Sonnet

Kelsay Books; January 27, 2021

In DeSiro’s subversive and performative collection, that takes as its subject the postmodern straight woman’s relationship to straight men, every line reads boldly toward wit, through to wit’s philosophical brother, paradox. Think Bishop. Think Millay. Don’t think Shakespeare, as you are brought under the sly spell these poems cast, weaving the artifact that is both the poem and the exquisite trapping of The Love Relationship itself. DeSiro, as Sonnetess, riffs into this most ancient dilemma bound in a poetics that we are simply, in no way, beyond.

-Deborah Schwartz, author of A Girl Could Disappear Like This


Nixes Mate; 2018

“I have to keep looking; try to see more, speak more, turn away less,” says Lisa DeSiro in her fine first book, Labor. And this is what her poems do: they keep their eyes peeled, their ears open, and their hearts receptive. (Boston street bustle comes vividly alive in many of these poems.) But receptivity demands a tolerance for paradox, and DeSiro’s poems—in disarmingly simple, idiomatic language—plumb the secrets of the world’s contradictions. “Go ahead, enjoy this day” begins a poem titled “9/11 Anniversary, Public Garden.” At home with the prose poem as well as the tightly rhymed lyric, DeSiro distills memorable music from the most colloquial moments — “We were all thumbs on our dumb phones” — and offers readers a vibrant panoply of sights and sounds, captured and conveyed in her impressively taut writing.
Steven Cramer, author of Clangings and Goodbye to the Orchard

(Available in Writers Resist: The Anthology 2018)

Running Wild Press; October 1, 2018

It began November 9, 2016, in a message, simple yet with an undercurrent of utter dismay: “What the fuck do we do now?” Sara asked, her grief and rage overcoming her manners.

“Why are you asking me? I hardly know you.” K-B wasn’t ready for correspondence, having spent the previous day working a polling place giddy with Trump supporters.

“I know from our MFA program that you’re an activist. I’m not, but we have to do something. What do we do?”

“Well, we’re writers. …”

So was born Writers Resist. The online literary journal launched at on December 1, 2016.

After a year of publishing stories, poetry, essays and art from the United States and beyond, Sara and K-B asked each other, “So, what do we do now?”

So was born Writers Resist: The Anthology 2018, with the works of 73 contributors, including, not-yet-known, well-known, and a few notorious writers and artists of the resistance.
–Writers Resist

Grief Dreams

White Knuckle Press; 2017
(E-chapbook, available in full)

“These short prose poems are based on dreams I had while my mother was in hospice care and in the years following her death. Recreating the dreams on paper helped me grapple with my grief and mourning. The imagery of the dream worlds was vivid and often surreal. To portray it, I tried to focus on visual and auditory elements, describing what was seen and heard, while keeping the container compact. I picture these scenes as miniature animated films.” –Lisa DeSiro

“A Survivor Exorcises an Evil Spirit”
(Available in Nasty Women Poets)

Lost Horse Press; September 2017

An anthology of poems from women who proudly celebrate their own nastiness and that of other women who have served as nasty role models; poems by and about women defying limitations and lady-like expectations; women refusing to be “nice girls;” women embracing their inner bitch when the situation demands it; women being formidable and funny; women speaking to power and singing for the good of their souls; women being strong, sexy, strident, super-smart, and stupendous; women who want to encourage little girls to keep dreaming.

(Available in Er ist der Vater, wir sind die Bub’n
Essays in Honor of Christoph Wolff)

Steglein Publishing, Inc.; October 13, 2010

Er ist der Vater, wir sind die Bub’n: Essays in Honor of Christoph Wolff presents recent research by Christoph Wolff’s colleagues at the Bach-Archiv in Leipzig and at the C.P.E. Bach complete works edition in Cambridge in honor of Prof. Wolff’s 70th birthday. The contributions focus principally on C.P.E. Bach, but also include an essay on J.S. Bach’s bible, an original composition, and an original sonnet, the latter two composed specifically for the dedicatee.

Frances Donovan

Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore: Love Poems

Self-Published; March 10, 2018

Named a finalist in the 31st annual Lambda Literary Awards for bisexual poetry.

“A charged portrait of a woman of erotic complexity … poems that widen from the personal to encompass myth … It’s sumptuous to plunge into these poems, most of which occur at the shore.” – Grey Held, author of Two Star General and Spilled Milk

“The border-world of Frances Donovan’s chapbook is sensually extravagant, lush with detail. Every seashore, highway, and body has its own messages to impart …  these poems are floral and gritty, Hellenistic and mundane, in unlikely but appealing proportions.” – Lesley Wheeler, author of Radioland

“… as wise and lyrical as it is sexy … set aside a spacious afternoon hour to savor this book. ” – Wandajune Bishop

Suzanne E. Edison

The Body Lives Its Undoing: Exploring Autoimmune Disease through Poetry and Visual Art

The Benaroya Research Institute; 2018

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) is proud to share a new project: “The Body Lives Its Undoing,” a reflection in poetry and visual art about autoimmune disease, the effects it reaps on the body and the lives of those living with it. 

“The Body Lives Its Undoing” is a collaboration between local poet Suzanne Edison, 10 artists (most of whom work at BRI), and 28 individuals who provided poignant perspectives on what autoimmunity means to them. These perspectives include people living with autoimmune diseases, family members supporting them, physicians treating these diseases, and scientific researchers working to find treatments and cures. The result is 16 breathtakingly honest poems complemented by curated artwork – an intersection between art and autoimmune disease.

This initiative was made possible through grants awarded to Suzanne Edison from 4Culture of King County, the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and Artist Trust, and the generous support of Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

The Moth Eaten World

Finishing Line Press

Suzanne Edison’s The Moth Eaten World held me breathless. Poem by poem we explore not just a failing body, but a daughter’s disease and a mother’s journey through this world. The poems fill us with questioning concern—I left God in her Temple when you got sick—but she compassionately walks the reader through. Not many poets can write about illness well, especially the illness of their own child, with such precision and grace that Edison has. These poems offer so much to the reader—strength and struggle, beauty and fear, faith and doubt—Edison is not only the detailed observer, but the moth, the mother, and the world held together, she writes a powerful and necessary book for all.
–Kelli Russell Agodon, Author of Hourglass Museum & The Daily Poet

In The Moth Eaten WorldSuzanne Edison talks about a subject no one wants to talk about: the sick child, and accomplishes this onerous but fundamental task by invoking mythologies, African tradition, story telling and the use of fresh metaphors to guide us through a deep and challenging world. She describes the accouterment of illness with a cleverness that invokes sticks in the sand instead of IV poles, angels instead of nurses, always in the presence of a mother’s partially cloaked desperation, and her fervent desire to “stitch you back whole” once again. All in all the book is a clear view of a catastrophic situation made palatable by the skill of the writer and a vision that uses language as warrior against the sorrow of loss.

–David Watts, author of Bedside Manners, and The Orange Wire Problem.

Mary Ann Honaker

Becoming Persephone

Third Lung Press; September 19, 2019

“These poems are fierce. Turbulent. Forceful. Astute. In Becoming Persephone, Mary Ann Honaker has put together a collection that tears at the fabric of those moments in our lives that become us, that render our lives, that remember us, sometimes when we don’t want to remember them. There is darkness here, but not desperation. Love and anti-love. Pain, certainly, but also perception. The poems are wonderfully constructed and sharply stated, giving voice to things that drag us down to our personal hells, but also ultimately insightfully and intelligently facing them down. They develop into hymns of maturation, accepting that death is a rebirth, the underworld goddess holding the sheaf of new life, understanding a way of being that has become, like her Jazz Birds acknowledge, ‘All right, all right, all right.’”–Kirk Judd, author of My People Was MusicMary

It Will Happen Like This

YesNo Press; 2015

Mary Ann Honaker’s first chapbook of poetry. The 15 ekphrastic poems in this collection share the same title and same opening lines. From this shared beginning, the poems explore the emotions of different women as they confront and experience artwork. The paintings and photographs that inspired the chapbook were all created by artists in the Boston North Shore.

Christine Jones

Voices Amidst the Virus: Poets Respond to the Pandemic (Anthology)

Lily Poetry Review; October 5, 2020

122 pages. Poems about our shared experiences of isolation, lock-down, re-entry. Poems which confront despair and reach for hope. And of course, sourdough. Featuring works by multiple Lesley MFA alums and mentors.

Girl Without a Shirt

Finishing Line Press; January 17, 2020

“The self of the poems–girl, mother, lover, daughter– is at home in the body; the body is at home in the natural world, with which it often intersects (it is “one of nature’s devices”). Jones confronts the difficulties of loss, acknowledging that ‘What we fear is travelling toward us’ but adding, ‘so is what we love.’ Language itself–carefully spare but metaphorically rich–is both a source and a reflection of that love.” – Martha Collins

Kate Kearns

How to Love an Introvert

Finishing Line Press; January 1, 2015

“From this little book’s opening poem, ‘Genesis,’ in which ‘the word insists upon itself,’ to its closing poem’s imperative, ‘Tell it like the scrape of the match before it’s burned up,’ How to Love an Introvert quietly celebrates the tidal cycles of human grief and resilient joy. Kate Kearns creates a Maine landscape of human loves–mother, husband, daughter, father, sister—a register made in iambic waves as they touch her shore.” – Janet Sylvester

Caitlin Krause

Designing Wonder: Leading Transformative Experiences in Virtual Reality

Gumroad; September, 2020

Designing Wonder is a book that brings together ideas about how to create VR experiences that have emotional resonance and impact, featuring research and also the voices of leaders in the field, including Tom Furness, Jessica Outlaw, Skip Rizzo, Jeremy Bailenson, Lorelle vanFossen, Kent Bye, Daniel Dyboski-Bryant, Jackie Lee, Chris Madsen, Jeremy Nickel, Jaime Donally and more. Talking about everything from The VR Hero’s Journey to Maslow Before Bloom, as well as introducing a new methodology for how to design meaningful experiences in VR, filled with wonder, this book is about experience design and more, reaching everyone from corporate training leaders to educators and those who organize social groups in VR. If you’re passionate about VR and XR collaboration, as well as new opportunities in spatial immersive tech, this book is designed with you in mind.

Mindful by Design

Corwin; February 7, 2019

This resource explores how mindfulness can improve teaching and learning, and helps students develop 21st century skills including creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, and communication. Readers will learn how to cultivate a personal mindfulness practice that reflects their individuality, and how to create a community of care and respect through mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the building of three capacities: awareness, advancement, and authenticity. Built upon these core capacities, Mindful by Design provides 24 detailed exercises for teachers and students, including step-by-step mindfulness lessons embedded into specific curriculum areas, ready to implement immediately. This book demystifies mindfulness and allows educators to inspire powerful learning environments.

The Book of Electric Cattle Prods

Self-Published; August 15, 2011

A collection of photographs, poetry and prose inspired by a year of living in the heart of Europe.

Jennifer LeBlanc


Finishing Line Press; February 14, 2020

As its title attests, the lucid secrecies that underlie Jennifer LeBlanc’s Descent stem from the Eleusinian Mysteries, initiation rites enacting one of the earliest recorded vegetation myths. Everywhere in LeBlanc’s finely etched poetry, the speakers feel the chill tug of the underworld, even as they respond to the cycle of the seasons and the metaphors for birth, death, and renewal that the turning earth provokes. Formally adroit (there’s a sonnet crown, four variations on the ghazal, a pantoum, a sestina, and some intricate prosodic inventions of the poet’s own), LeBlanc’s symmetries honor recurrence. And yet, readers will find no “irritable reaching after fact and reason” from this poet, who states her manner and matter with disarming candor—“no need to be rational”—as well as with a sly irony tinged with rue: “Hades is clever.”
–Steven Cramer, author of Goodbye to the Orchard and Clangings

Jon D. Lee

These Around Us

Aldrich Press; June 28, 2014

Jon D. Lee begins this new collection of poems with a well-known quote from Ecclesiastes reminding us that ‘there is nothing new under the sun.’ Old wisdom, and maybe so. Certainly Lee’s themes are old ones: confrontation with mortality; the nature of love; the mysteries and joys of parenthood; imagining the decay of his own parents; the burden of self-doubt and the responsibilities of daily choice. Ecclesiastes might be right, but what is clear is that Lee does not rely on received notions about what he encounters; what’s new is his own sensibility, his determination to truly see and feel for himself the world he inhabits. It’s that honesty, born of an unwillingness to take any easy way that he passes on to his readers. I’ll listen to him any day.
—Samuel Green, Inaugural Washington State Poet Laureate

An Epidemic of Rumors

Utah State University Press; April 7, 2014

In An Epidemic of Rumors, Jon D. Lee examines the human response to epidemics through the lens of the 2003 SARS epidemic. Societies usually respond to the eruption of disease by constructing stories, jokes, conspiracy theories, legends, and rumors, but these narratives are often more damaging than the diseases they reference. The information disseminated through them is often inaccurate, incorporating xenophobic explanations of the disease’s origins and questionable medical information about potential cures and treatment.

Folklore studies brings important and useful perspectives to understanding cultural responses to the outbreak of disease. Through this etiological study Lee shows the similarities between the narratives of the SARS outbreak and the narratives of other contemporary disease outbreaks like AIDS and the H1N1 virus. His analysis suggests that these disease narratives do not spring up with new outbreaks or diseases but are in continuous circulation and are recycled opportunistically. Lee also explores whether this predictability of vernacular disease narratives presents the opportunity to create counter-narratives released systematically from the government or medical science to stymie the negative effects of the fearful rumors that so often inflame humanity.

With potential for practical application to public health and health policy, An Epidemic of Rumors will be of interest to students and scholars of health, medicine, and folklore.

Ode to Brian

Logan House; February 22, 2006

Ode to Brian is simultaneously a very funny and eerily horrifying book — a sort of Mormon college Animal House crossed in a weird hybrid with Kafka. You will be shocked that the narrator does not murder Brian before the calm stoical last page. I may have myself if trapped with this roommate from hell. You too… What is Brian? An emblem of sloth and gluttony straight from the Middle Ages, maybe Piers Plowman. There’s more news of modern life and the world of the young in this charming and entertaining poetic sequence than you are likely to find almost anywhere else. Read it and learn . . . and pass the Doritos. –Bill Holm, author of Coming Home Crazy

Michelle Lynch

“Last Days of the Machine”
(Available in Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands)

Shabda Press; February 15, 2017

In Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands is the symphonic voices of 163 poets living throughout the United States and world, in places such as India, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Philippines, Japan, South Africa, Guam, Singapore, Poland, Australia, France, Vietnam, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, China and Pakistan, on the impact of nuclear power and warfare on human life and the planet. Navajo poet Hershman R. John’s poem, “Theory of Light,” opens the anthology. Towards the end of Hershman’s beautiful and heart-breaking poem, he writes “The sun’s core/is made from turquoise and the moon’s mass is made from radiant white shell/lighting the metallic half-life in susurrations across/the Navajo-Hopi reservations.” The poems in the anthology take us through Navajo-Hopi reservations, the Nevada desert, Los Alamos, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Trinity, air raid drills, Chernobyl, Pripyat, Ogoturuk Valley, Alaska, Fukushima, nuclear testing in India and Pakistan, and more. In the poems, we experience the legacy of nuclear power created by human hands and its effects on human life and all life on Mother Earth. In the second to the last poem in the anthology, Vivian Faith Prescott, a fifth generation Alaskan of Sámi heritage, reveals nuclear impact in the tundra, the Chuckchi Sea and villages, in her brilliant and chilling poems, “Project Chariot” and “Recipe for Disaster at Ogotoruk Valley.” Through the words and clarity of these poets, we see the reach of nuclear impact from the desert to the far reaches of the Artic.

Lisa Pegram

The Next Verse Poets Mixtape
Volume One: the 4 X 4

Central Square Press; June 2016

Featuring Melanie Henderson, Fred Joiner, Lisa Pegram, & Enzo Silon Surin, The Next Verse Poets Mixtape is a poetry sampler of ethnographic significance. 4 poets represented by 4 poems each offer insight into the shared experiences of black Americans in today’s political and social climate. Poems such as “Notes to a Little Black Boy”, “Seven Ways of Looking at Black Flowers”, and “How to Nullify a Super Hero” speak loudly about negotiating the delicate promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In addition, poems like “Lamb & Vodka”, “Drum Lesson”, “Nostalgia”, and “Once, When We Were Not Gods” highlight place and its lingering presence in our beings in ways that are akin to us all. These poems, both layered and plain, coax reverence as each poet explores the intricacies of the familiar.

Cracked Calabash

Central Square Press; June 2015

Cracked Calabash is a vessel of 13 poems that contemplates personal identity in the context of healing and self-love. At its core, this collection is rooted in the notion that there is wisdom and even joy to be found in the places where we are broken and put back together again. Similarly, Kintsukuroi, “to repair with gold”, is the Japanese art of repairing pottery in the spirit that it is more beautiful for having been broken. The title was inspired by the ancient tradition of using the calabash as a vessel and, when it inevitably cracks, making an art of the mending.

“Perspective” and “yet another epiphany”
(Available in Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the 21st Century)

Black Classic Press; September 18, 2002

A vibrant collection of Black poetry that delights and amazes with moments of reflection, solitude, rebirth and love. Miller is a poet and intentional anthologist. He has made a career as a nurturer of Black writers and works tirelessly to ensure the survival of African American poetry.

(Available in Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam)

Broadway Books; October 23, 2001

Bum Rush the Page is a groundbreaking collection, capturing the best new work from the poets who have brought fresh energy, life, and relevance to American poetry.

“Here is a democratic orchestration of voices and visions, poets of all ages, ethnicities, and geographic locations coming together to create a dialogue and to jam–not slam. This is our mouth on paper, our hearts on our sleeves, our refusal to shut up and swallow our silence. These poems are tough, honest, astute, perceptive, lyrical, blunt, sad, funny, heartbreaking, and true. They shout, they curse, they whisper, and sing. But most of all, they tell it like it is.”
–Tony Medina, from the Introduction

Bonita Lee Penn

Every Morning A Foot Is Looking For My Neck

Central Square Press; June 19, 2019

Sometimes the cadence of our experiences cannot be expressed with traditional language and one must find a pace and rhythm that bellows what the mouth cannot. Bonita Lee Penn has done so with her chapbook of poems, EVERY MORNING A FOOT IS LOOKING FOR MY NECK. Whether it is the thumping of a heart or a black body hitting the ground prematurely, her words elegize the cries of those who have left us in a violent frenzy and bring to light an all too familiar ache with wit, fire and a haunting truth. In this striking debut collection, Penn is unrelenting in the pushback against a world that tries to force us “to press our- / selves into the recesses, into shadows / of our skin. to lay low, to be silent, to / shrink. disappear.” These are vibrant and brilliant poems.

Enzo Silon Surin

When My Body Was A Clinched Fist

Black Lawrence Press; July 2020

When My Body Was a Clinched Fist is a book that addresses the effects of social violence on a young boy’s mind and the consequent physical toll it takes on his body. At the heart of the collection is the metamorphosis of trauma from different acts of violence, some witnessed firsthand, and the struggle to make sense of the world in its aftermath. Set in the borough of Queens, New York, each poem is unrelenting in its depiction of the body as a fist and a young boy’s decade-long clinch for survival.

A Letter of Resignation

Central Square Press; April 2017

A Letter of Resignation is a meditation on American history informed by the Black experience in the United States and neighboring island republics. This musically-infused libretto is addressed to History as a Republic, in which certain moments and individuals have been vetted and elected to convey a message that consistently denigrates more than it celebrates what it is to be American Black. Part Blues, part Jazz, part Hip-Hop, this book-length poem is a sound declaration from a tired, fed-up and “woke” generation.

The Next Verse Poets Mixtape
Volume One: the 4 X 4

Central Square Press; June 2016

Featuring Melanie Henderson, Fred Joiner, Lisa Pegram, & Enzo Silon Surin, The Next Verse Poets Mixtape is a poetry sampler of ethnographic significance. 4 poets represented by 4 poems each offer insight into the shared experiences of black Americans in today’s political and social climate. Poems such as “Notes to a Little Black Boy”, “Seven Ways of Looking at Black Flowers”, and “How to Nullify a Super Hero” speak loudly about negotiating the delicate promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In addition, poems like “Lamb & Vodka”, “Drum Lesson”, “Nostalgia”, and “Once, When We Were Not Gods” highlight place and its lingering presence in our beings in ways that are akin to us all. These poems, both layered and plain, coax reverence as each poet explores the intricacies of the familiar.

July Westhale

Via Negativa

Kore Press; June 15, 2020

“Via Negativa,” often used to talk about the divine: a way of describing what something is by describing what it is not, is a book about the more difficult, but truer, ways of talking about the ecstatic world. Half grappling with divinity and the many manifestations of gender/the self , and half an ars poetica, Via Negativa is a gorgeous holy dunking, a submersion into a rich field of lyricism and emotion, a mikva that yearns to leave the reader clear-eyed and bright. Diving into verbal lostness, the hatred of poetry, mythology, and the epistemology of identity, this book challenges the tripartite notion of holiness and its relationship to poetic duty.

See reviews from Publishers Weekly and Coal Hill Review

Occasionally Accurate Science

Nomadic Press; January 2019

The poems and illustrations in Occasionally Accurate Science investigate, play with, and push the envelope of collective nouns in fantastical and ordinary ways. With off-the-wall forms and the occasional scientific accuracy, Occasionally Accurate Science seeks to help children (and quirky adults!) explore the blurry lines between fact and fiction, poetry and taxonomy. Occasionally Accurate Science allows readers to explore the fantastical world of groupings of animals with one eye turned toward the truth. It is a delightful book that can be used for fancy and education in equal measure.

Trailer Trash

Kore Press; March 16, 2018

Winner of 2016 Kore Press First Book Award, selected by Robin Coste Lewis
Trailer Trash is a book about the cotton-country of Riverside County, Southern California, in1980s/90s. A book about poverty, ravaged landscape, and gender, it touches on a fuller, dustier California than Hollywood would have you believe. It is not only a book of class and struggle, it is also a book of triumph, beauty, and constructed worlds. It interfaces with grief and sanctuary in equal measure, creating a deeper understanding of origin stories.

See reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Datebook.

Quantifiable Data

Alley Cat Books; June 2019

Quantifiable Data is a special-release chapbook that is a part of the Alley Cat Books Writers-in-Residence program in San Francisco. The manuscript swan-dives into the very human ways poets and people attempt to make scientific decisions concerning emotional landscapes–and the benefits and draw-backs to doing so.

The Cavalcade

Finishing Line Press; September 2, 2016

The Cavalcade is a collection of poems that explores what we think about when we think about historical figures. Here, Virginia Woolf explores a rich, inner-personal life—goes to the grocery store, shows desire, considers the literary canon, reimagines her own suicide. Here, the Chilean dictator Pinochet is given the opportunity to consider his actions from inside his casket. Weaving together personal narrative with global events, The Cavalcade truly is a processional of a different sort.

Writing for Stage and Screen

Thato Mwosa

14 African Women Who Made History: Phenomenal African Women

Tuli Media LLC; May 12, 2021

This book celebrates 14 phenomenal women across Africa (Wangari Maathai, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ama Ata Aidoo, Leymah Gbowee, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Helen Ndume, Lupita Nyong’o, Winnie Mandela, Cesaria Evora, Flora Nwapa, Miriam Makeba, Abebech Gobena, Unity DowUmra Omar), who have made tremendous contributions, in their respective fields, to advance African society.