Author Archive

The Danger and Loneliness of Passing

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Brit Bennett’s recently published novel and Nella Larsen’s classic reveal the danger—and loneliness—of a black woman passing for white in the early 1900s and the 1990s. Passing affords the freedoms and opportunities for reinvention that whiteness allows for, but this comes at a terrible cost.

Girlhood and Desire in The Lightness

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The narrator of Emily Temple’s debut novel, Olivia, holds a deep desire to belong, to be loved, and to be touched—a desire that trumps her regard for safety, leading her to even give up her will to find her missing father.

“I Wanted to Create Some New Legends for Appalachian Women”: An Interview with Amy Jo Burns

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Burns’s new novel resurrects the experience of women in Appalachia rather than letting their stories be buried while their husbands’s live on.

Love, Liberation, and Empowerment in Godshot

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Chelsea Bieker’s debut novel, out today, feels familiar, devastating, like it has already happened, could, or might again. It’s the story, too, of motherhood in all its iterations, from abandonment to adoption, at the best of times and worst, and the moments, no matter how small, of love.

The Tragedy of Lady Macbeth

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Lady Macbeth’s tragedy is the tragedy of being a woman. What more powerful way to show this than through a difficult woman to like?

Ander Monson’s Essaying

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Monson’s newest collection, out tomorrow, continues his exploration of essays and essaying, scrutinizing the “I”; playing with prose and white space on the page; and examining the nature of memory—all while suffusing his observations with the cultural elements he examines in earlier collections.

The Narrative of Breast Cancer

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Anne Boyer joins others, like Susan Sontag, Nina Riggs, Audre Lorde, and Kathy Acker, who push against and question the breast cancer narrative conventions.

Reading Know My Name and Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl

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New memoirs by Chanel Miller and Jeannie Vanasco are about their rapes, but also about what it means to move through this world in a woman’s body. What has happened to Miller’s body and to Vanasco’s body connects them with millions of women globally and across time.

The Landscape of Memory

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For most of us, memory supplies meaning and connection to our past selves, our place of origin, a greater world. Memory gives us meaning.

The Power of Reading

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For Ocean Vuong, Jesmyn Ward, and Jaquira Diaz, reading and writing became necessities early on when their classrooms, families, and streets confined them, left them feeling othered and uncertain of their identities.