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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Stephanie Jimenez’s coming-of-age novel ‘They Could Have Named Her Anything’ is eye-opening for both teens and adults

Stephanie Jimenez’s coming-of-age novel ‘They Could Have Named Her Anything’ is eye-opening for both teens and adults

Stephanie Jimenez‘s debut novel They Could Have Named Her Anything is about a Latinx teenager named Maria Anís Rosario coming into her own sexually as she grapples with racial and class issues that many members of the community are facing today. It is an honest and raw insight into what it’s like to be a girl in today’s world.

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Patrick Coleman’s ‘The Churchgoer’ is a modern noir that reshapes the genre

Patrick Coleman’s ‘The Churchgoer’ is a modern noir that reshapes the genre

The Churchgoer by Patrick Coleman is an engrossing noir that tackles religion, faith, and morality. Set in Southern California during the early-2000s, it follows a former Evangelical pastor turned blue-collar worker and surfer. His world gets turned upside-down when his coworker is murdered and a new woman in his life go missing on the same night.

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How boarding schools and low-residency MFAs shaped Alexander Tilney’s ‘The Expectations

How boarding schools and low-residency MFAs shaped Alexander Tilney’s ‘The Expectations

Alexander Tilney always knew he wanted to be a writer, but after finishing college, he wasn’t sure how to make it work. After finding an MFA program that worked for him, he found himself writing the type of novel he never thought he’d write. Nine years later and his coming-of-age at a boarding school novel, The Expectations, is finally out in the world.

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