Meet 4 writers collected in the PEN America Best Debut Short Story Collection Anthology

Meet 4 writers collected in the PEN America Best Debut Short Story Collection 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 Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Beth Piatote.

For the past two years, I have asked a handful of those in the collection to answer some get-to-know-you questions, which you can read here: 2021 and 2020.

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A Life of Books with Kelsey McKinney, author of God Spare the Girls

A Life of Books with Kelsey McKinney, author of God Spare the Girls

Kelsey McKinney is a writer, reporter, and co-owner of Defector.com. She has written cover stories on Olivia Munn, in-depth looks at how a producer created the most dangerous monster of the 21st Century and everything in between.

Her debut novel, God Spare the Girls, is a family drama about two sisters who uncover a disturbing secret about their father. The two handle it very differently and the book follows their family story through mega-churches in Texas to their most intimate moments where everything is questioned.

Debutiful asked McKinney to answer the reoccurring questionnaire A Life of Books so readers can get to know her better.

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Pik-Shuen Fung on astronaut parents and Ghost Forest

Pik-Shuen Fung on astronaut parents and Ghost Forest

Pik-Shuen Fung, author of Ghost Forest, grew up in Canada in an astronaut family – where a parent stays back in the family’s native country working while the rest move abroad. Those experiences found their way into her debut novel. Prior to releasing Ghost Forest, she receivedfellowships and residencies from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Kundiman, the Millay Colony, and Storyknife.

Fung corresponded with Debutiful to give more insight into her debut experience.

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Elizabeth Gonzalez James feels Mona at Sea can help serve the community

Elizabeth Gonzalez James feels Mona at Sea can help serve the community

Elizabeth Gonzalez James was certain Mona at Sea would never be published. It was passed on in 2015 and sat in a drawer until she entered it to the Santa Fe Writers Project award. Even when she won, she wasn’t sure if she’d sign a contract.

We discussed the long journey she took and Mona took from graduating with a business degree during the Great Recession to publishing a book about unemployment over a decade later.

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A Life of Books with Eve Gleichman and Laura Blackett, authors of The Very Nice Box

Eve Gleichman and Laura Blackett are best friends who write together. Their natural chemistry oozes onto the pages of their debut The Very Nice Box. It’s an off-kilter work place comedy where bad men get what’s coming to them.

I asked the duo to fill out the semi-regular “A Life of Books” questionnaire to help introduce them to readers.

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