Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne’s characters are ‘Holding On To Nothing’

Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne’s characters are ‘Holding On To Nothing’

The characters in Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne‘s debut novel Holding On To Nothing want more. They want more than what their life has to offer in rural Tennessee. They want to be wanted and not just merely picked because there isn’t anyone else left. They want something bigger.

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M. Randal O’Wain reveals the raw and honest truth of the South in ‘Meander Belt’

M. Randal O’Wain reveals the raw and honest truth of the South in ‘Meander Belt’

The essays in M. Randal O’Wains debut memoir, Meander Belt, tap into what life was truly like growing up in the rural South. Subtitled “Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working Class South,” the book is a raw and intimate portrayal of an area often at the mercy of stereotypes or often altogether left out of media portrayals.

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John Englehardt’s ‘Bloomland’ is the sobering novel America needs right now

John Englehardt’s ‘Bloomland’ is the sobering novel America needs right now

At the center of Bloomland, the debut novel by John Englehardt, is a mass shooting on the campus of a university. It is a sobering insight to the aftermath of a tragedy written in a unique perspective. Englehardt didn’t originally intend to write a novel like this. It came from building off of numerous ideas. Still, what came of it is an important and original understanding of these horrific events like the one depicted.

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Inside the strange mind of Stuart Ross, author of ‘Jenny in Corona’

Inside the strange mind of Stuart Ross, author of ‘Jenny in Corona’

Who is Stuart Ross? After reading his debut novel, Jenny in Corona, that’s what I wanted to know. Even Pulitzer Prize-finalist Rebecca Makkai said Ross “has one of the strangest minds [she’s] ever encountered.”

His novel is as funny as it is devastating. It follows Tyrone, a man with a multitude of problems including a girlfriend who is cheating on him and a father addicted to pills. It shouldn’t be a heartwarming novel, but something in Ross’s writing makes it so. He turns the awful into something bearable.

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Monica Duncan explores empowerment and ambition in her debut novel ‘Twine’

Monica Duncan explores empowerment and ambition in her debut novel ‘Twine’

Monica Duncan‘s Twine is a sharp commentary on the socioeconomics of America that is as endearing as it is a warning. It follows a struggling artist who ends up back in her small home town struggling with what motherhood means for her ambitious career plans.

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Meet five writers collected in the ‘PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2019’ anthology

Meet five writers collected in the ‘PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2019’ anthology

Every year, PEN America releases an anthology of the best short stories written by first time published writers. This year, a dozen writers were selected from a wide-ranging array of literary journals – both in print and online. They were judged and selected by Danielle Evans, Alice Sola Kim, and Carmen Maria Machado.

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On death and imaginary friends: Amanda Goldblatt reveals how she created ‘Hard Mouth’

On death and imaginary friends: Amanda Goldblatt reveals how she created ‘Hard Mouth’

In Hard Mouth, the dizzying debut from Amanda Goldblatt, the main character Denny retreats from her every day life into the woods to escape the news that her father’s battle with cancer is finally coming to an end. Once she arrives, Goldblatt offers a Phoebe Waller-Bridge twist on Thoreau. Denny deals with death by diving into her own head to be accompanied by an imaginary friend.

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Sarah M. Broom invites readers into ‘The Yellow House’

Sarah M. Broom invites readers into ‘The Yellow House’

Every so often, a book comes around that must be read far and wide regardless of usual taste in literature or culture. The story is personal but also transcendent. It is written intimately but speaks globally. Sarah M. Broom’s memoir about the house her family lived in is that story now. 

The titular yellow house of Broom’s memoir The Yellow House was nestled in the neighborhood known as New Orleans East. Purchased in the 1960s by Broom’s mother Ivory Mae, it was filled with hope. Filled with a dozen children, the house was filled with love. It was also filled, at times, with chaos. Its meandering history came to a devastating end in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Broom tracks her family and the house through an intimate lease filled with many nooks and crannies just like the house she grew up in.

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A Life of Books with R.L. Maizes, author of ‘We Love Anderson Cooper’

A Life of Books with R.L. Maizes, author of ‘We Love Anderson Cooper’

In her debut story collection, R.L. Maizes offers stories filled with quirky wit that explore the small tender moments of our lives. We Love Anderson Cooper brings outsiders into a warm embrace.

The stories have the same heart, but range in a deliciously diverse cast of characters. From a therapist’s couch to a boys Bar Mitzvah, we are welcomed in to relatable scenarios that will make readers feel connected.

Below, R.L. Maizes answered Debutiful‘s “A Life of Books” questionnaire.

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Karen Raney on crafting the characters in her coming-of-age debut ‘All the Water in the World’

Karen Raney on crafting the characters in her coming-of-age debut ‘All the Water in the World’

The characters that inhabit All the Water in the World, the debut novel from Karen Raney, are like tapping into the third season of your favorite television series. They’re all incredibly rounded and grounded.

In the midst of dealing with her relationship with her mother, learning to love for the first time, and all of the pains of being 16-years-old, Maddy is also diagnosed with cancer. Told between alternating chapters from Maddy and then her mother’s perspective, the story is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking.

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