To say Ashleigh Bryant Phillips is proud of being born and raised in Woodland, North Carolina is an understatement. Her social media is @woodlandraised and her debut story collection Sleepovers is largely inspired by her upbringing in the rural town tucked away in the northeast corner of the state.
That collection won her the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize, which comes with a prize of $10,000 and publication from Hub City Press. Sleepovers features a wide variety of voices from people often forgot about society. If you ever get the chance to speak to Phillips, you realize her voice and point of view are just as distinct as the characters she writes.
Continue reading “Ashleigh Bryant Phillips gives a voice to the forgotten in Sleepovers”
The essays in M. Randal O’Wain‘s 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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Azelea “Knot” Centre, the main character in De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s debut In West Mills is easily one of the most memorable characters I’ve been introduced to recently. She is, excuse the cliche, a tour-de-force. Is she a saint? No, far from it. Her flaws make her as realistic as a character on page can be. If this book ever gets adapted in Hollywood (it should), whichever actress is lucky enough to play Knot will be stepping into an Oscar-worthy role due to how perfect Winslow wrote her.
Continue reading “De’Shawn Charles Winslow created one of the most memorable characters in fiction”
Each month, I will pick a handful of buzzworthy and under the radar debut books I feel you’ll enjoy.
Continue reading “6 debut books you should read this June”