A Life of Books with Brian Broome, author of Punch Me Up To the Gods

A Life of Books with Brian Broome, author of Punch Me Up To the Gods

Brian Broome is a poet and screenwriter who lives in Pittsburgh where he is K. Leroy Irvis Fellow and instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King Writing Awards. He also won a VANN Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation for journalism in 2019.

His debut memoir, Punch Me Up To the Gods came out earlier in 2021 and we corresponded via email so he could answer Debutiful’s reoccurring “A Life of Books” questionnaire.

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10 debut books to read this July

10 debut books to read this July

Considering the record heat waves America is currently suffering through, it would be tacky to talk about how these books are hot, yeah?

These ten debuts, mostly from July but also some June debuts you can’t miss are must reads. They range from introspective magical realism to coming-of-age comedies; from memoirs to books in translation. These ten debut books are guaranteed to make you forget about the oppressive heat.

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Vince Granata knew he always had to write his heartbreaking and revealing memoir Everything is Fine

Vince Granata knew he always had to write his heartbreaking and revealing memoir Everything is Fine

Vince Granata‘s memoir Everything is Fine is one of the most heartbreaking books I’ve ever read. I think that term is thrown out a lot; however, the story inside it truly made me weep. Vince’s brother, with undiagnosed schizophrenia, killed their mother. His memoir is about that event and what came after. How could he still love his brother? How would their family move on? So many questions I asked myself how I’d react in Granata’s shoes but couldn’t.

Everything is Fine is a moving mediation on pain and suffering, but also love and persistence. We corresponded via email about his background and why this memoir had to be written.

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A Life of Books with JoAnne Tompkins, author of What Comes After

A Life of Books with JoAnne Tompkins, author of What Comes After

JoAnne Tompkins, author of What Comes After, had a career as a mediator and judicial officer before writing her debut book. In her first novel, she explores a familiar situation: an idyllic town turned upside down by a the shocking death of two teenage boys.

The book, however, is about more than the mystery. It’s about how the families can put their lives back together and how the town can trust again. It’s a meditation on optimism in the darkest of times.

Below, the author answers Debutiful‘s A Life of Books Questionnaire.

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A Life of Books with Forsyth Harmon, author of Justine

A Life of Books with Forsyth Harmon, author of Justine

You may recognize the name Forsyth Harmon. If you do, you’re lucky enough to have read tremendous books that she has illustrated like the essay collection, Girlhood, by Melissa Febos. 

Now Forsyth has her own illustrated novel out called Justine and it is exquisite. Set in 1999, the story follows Ali as she meets Justine in a life changing series of events. Justine takes Ali under her wings at a local store where the two start as coworkers and blossom into something more. Harmon’s work is intimate. It’s cozy in the way that you want a book to be but allows you to be uncomfortable with the realities of these young lives.

I wanted to know more about what makes Forsyth Harmon tick and asker her to fill out Debutiful’s A Life of Books questionnaire. Read her answers below.

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Layla AlAmmar’s American debut can help break patterns

Layla AlAmmar’s American debut can help break patterns

Layla AlAmmar grew up in Kuwait where she found solace in books. Her childhood passion turned into a career. AlAmmar has an MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and is working on a PhD on the intersection of Arab women’s fiction and literary trauma theory.

Her book, Silence is a Sense, is her American debut, but she previously published The Pact We Made, which is available in many countries outside of America. She’s also has work published in Evening Standard, Quail Bell MagazineAesthetica Magazine, the St Andrews University Prose Journal, and in the collection Underground: Tales for London.

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A Life of Books with Cherie Jones, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

A Life of Books with Cherie Jones, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

In her debut novel, Cherie Jones tells a cautionary tale set mostly in Barbados. A grandmother uses a story about one-armed sister. Her granddaughter Lala listens to what happens to girls who disobey their mothers but the question is, does she absorb the story?

Years later, Lala is married to a petty burglar and their seemingly cozy lives are upended in a spiral of violence, crime, and deceit. What unfolds is, How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, a devastating debut that is a must-read. Be warned though: you’ll want to finish this in one sitting. So block out a lot of time one you start this.

Below, Cherie Jones answers the A Life of Books Questionnaire for Debutiful.

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A Life of Books with Robert W. Fieseler, author of Tinderbox

A Life of Books with Robert W. Fieseler, author of Tinderbox

In his multi-award winning (Winner of the Edgar Award and Louisiana Literary Award, shortlisted for the 2020 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing) debut book Tinderbox, writer Robert W. Fieseler explores the 1973 fire that devastated New Orleans’ queer community. The book chronicles what happened the night when 32 people lost their lives in one of the largest mass murders against gay and lesbian people in our country’s history.

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