Savannah Johnston, Kristen Millares Young, Erika T. Wurth in Conversation with Lily Hoang
SAVANNAH JOHNSTON — RITES: STORIES
Set in Oklahoma, this collection of short stories documents the quiet sorrow of everyday life as Johnston’s characters traverse the normalized, heartbreaking rites of passage such as burying a grandfather, mother, or husband, becoming a sex worker, or reconnecting with family after prison; the effects are subtle, yet loud, and always enduring. Johnston delivers this economy of loss and resilience with biting, captivating prose.
“Savannah Johnston in her debut collection, Rites: Stories is shown to be a writer of beautifully and calmly compressed prose and sly, powerful storytelling.” —Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone and The Maid’s Version
Savannah Johnston is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, HTMLgiant, and Gravel, among others. She lives in New York City.
KRISTEN MILLARES YOUNG — SUBDUCTION
Fleeing the shattered remains of her marriage and a betrayal by her sister, in the throes of a midlife freefall, Latina anthropologist Claudia Ranks retreats from Seattle to Neah Bay, a Native American whaling village on the jagged Pacific coast. Claudia yearns to lose herself to the songs of the tribe and the secrets of her guide, a spirited hoarder named Maggie. But when, spurred by his mother’s failing memory, Maggie’s prodigal son Peter returns seeking answers to his father’s murder, Claudia discovers in him the abandon she craves. Through the passionate and violent collision of these two outsiders, Subduction portrays not only their strange allegiance after grievous losses but also their imperfect attempts to find community on the Makah Indian Reservation.
“The brilliance of Subduction only suggests the wonders to come. It is a good day for us when Kristen Millares Young puts pen to paper. Highly recommended.”—Luis Alberto Urrea, winner of the American Book Award and author of The House of Broken Angels
Kristen Millares Young is the author of the novel Subduction, a Paris Review staff pick called “whip-smart” by the Washington Post and “a brilliant debut” by the Seattle Times. Shortlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, Subduction won silver Nautilus and IPPY awards and was a finalist for a Foreword Indies Book of the Year and two International Latino Book Awards. Her essays, reviews and investigations appear in the Washington Post, The Rumpus, PANK Magazine, the Guardian, Literary Hub, and the anthologies Alone Together and Advanced Creative Nonfiction. She is the editor of Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature, which is a finalist for the 2021 Washington State Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. A former Hugo House Prose Writer-in-Residence, Kristen was the researcher for the New York Times team that produced “Snow Fall,” which won a Pulitzer. She teaches a bilingual writing workshop for the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau.
ERIKA T. WURTH — WHITEHORSE
Erika T. Wurth’s speculative novel Whitehorse is forthcoming from Flatiron/Macmillan. A writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Buzzfeed, Boulevard, The Writer’s Chronicle, Waxwing and The Kenyon Review. She is a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Scholar, attended the Tin House Summer Workshop, and is a narrative artist for the Meow Wolf Denver installation. She is of Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee descent and was raised outside of Denver where she lives with her partner, stepchildren, and extremely fluffy dogs.
“Wurth is a master of brutal beauty and hypnotic prose.” —Andrea Kneeland, author of How to Pose for Hustler
MODERATED BY LILY HOANG
Lily Hoang is the author of five books, including A Bestiary, a PEN USA Non-Fiction Award finalist, and Changing, the recipient of a PEN Open Book Award. She has two forthcoming works in 2021: her novel Underneath, winner of the Red Hen Press Fiction Award, and her micro-tale collection The Mute Kids (Spuyten Duyvil Press). She is the Director of the MFA in Writing at UC San Diego.
"Fearless, brilliant, and incessant, Underneath is both a page-turner and a beast, one that gets you high on the terror of being alive." —Blake Butler, author of Alice Knott