Ashleigh Bryant Phillips gives a voice to the forgotten in Sleepovers

Ashleigh Bryant Phillips gives a voice to the forgotten in Sleepovers

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. 

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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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The 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize announced

The 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize announced

The Center for Fiction announced the seven book shortlist for their First Novel Prize. Of the seven, six were featured previously on Debutiful. Three were interviewed here (see below), while another I interviewed for Electric Literature.

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Chanelle Benz on how her first novel ‘The Gone Dead’ expands on themes from her debut collection

Chanelle Benz on how her first novel ‘The Gone Dead’ expands on themes from her debut collection

Chanelle Benz‘s debut story collection, 2017’s The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, was one of the best collections published that year. The 10 stories in it range in location and time, but always feature a strong voice. The diverse perspectives ranging from non-traditional Westerns to baroque style chorus narratives proved the author knew how to tell a gripping story.

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Appalachian misunderstandings and memories with Mesha Maren, author of ‘Sugar Run’

Appalachian misunderstandings and memories with Mesha Maren, author of ‘Sugar Run’

A confluence of events led to Mesha Maren writing Sugar Run. The debut author grew up in rural West Virginia where her father volunteered working with incarcerated women. Years later, while working as a waitress in Iowa City, she drew on those scenic summer days she missed to create an atmospheric setting for her characters.

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