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Midsummer roundup: Reviews, media attention, and author events

We get to June, and the child in me still feels like we should all get a few months of summer vacation. We get to July and it seems like everyone else is out on vacation. But even while the pace of some things has slowed as the temperature rises, the literary interviews, reviews, and events carry on.

First up, congratulations are in order for Rachel King: Bratwurst Haven is the literary fiction winner of the 2023 Colorado Book Award! The Colorado Sun shows support through an interview with King and publication of a story from the collection, “Strangers.”

Congratulations also goes to Tom Bredehoft, whose debut Foote: A Mystery Novel is a finalist for the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America in the category of Best First PI Novel. Winners will be announced on September 1.

And another congratulations to Neema Avashia, whose Another Appalachia came in at #9 on’s audiobook nonfiction bestseller list for May. Neema also contributes to an Esquire article that explores the notion of writing as a hobby or as a career, and she features as one of GoMag‘s 100 Women We Love.

July is Disability Pride month, and the American Booksellers Association recommends The Wounds That Bind Us, the new memoir by Kelley Shinn (“that’s two Ns and no shins”) as a worthwhile read year-round. The book is hailed as “empowering” by the Southern Review of Books. You can find Kelley at bookstores around North Carolina this summer, including at Downtown Books in Manteo on July 25, in a Zoom book discussion on July 28 hosted by Jacar Press and the Regulator in Durham, and at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill on August 31 with Belle Boggs.

It’s also been a busy season for Courtney Sender and her debut story collection In Other Lifetimes All I’ve Lost Comes Back to Me, with interviews in Electric Lit, where Emma Copley Eisenberg calls the book “A profound and deeply funny examination of loneliness in many of its forms”; in jmww, where Robbie Herbst asks deep questions about love and grief, the death of optimism, the scar tissue of loss, and framing the ‘unsolvable problem’; and in Baltimore Fishbowl, where Angie Kim discusses the function of titles. On the reviews side of things, Barrellhouse Magazine praises the book as “fierce” and “rowdy,” and the Baltimore Sun recommends it among ten summer reading picks with ties to Maryland.

Kristen Gentry’s forthcoming story collection, Mama Said, (October 1, pre-order now!) makes Debutiful’s list of “The Most Anticipated Debut Books of 2023, Part 2.”

The In-Betweens by Davon Loeb stars as one of Ebony’s “5 Great Reads about Dads for This Fathers Day,” plus Loeb is among the “Black Authors You Should Read” in Lit Reactor. “[E]ngaging, melodic . . . raw, imaginative . . . [Loeb’s book packs] so much meaning, so much heart, into such little space” according to the Adroit Journal‘s review, and Hippocampus Magazine marvels at how “Loeb’s writing comes to life in the details” and the way its “power . . . is bound to its vulnerability.”

Inspired by the success of Demon Copperhead and the portrayal of Appalachia, Read Her Like an Open Book spends time with Monsters in Appalachia, in which Sheryl Monks “has created more than a dozen small worlds full of mesmerizing characters and startling conflicts. . . . [A] dark and darkly humorous collection.”

And finally, outside of fiction and memoir, Aeron Haynie and Stephanie Spong, authors of Teaching Matters: A Guide For Graduate Students talk with Teaching and Learning in Higher Education series editor Jim Lang in a video for OneHE about the story behind the book and their writing practices, and Recursive Reviews reflects on Sarah Rose Cavanagh’s The Spark of Learning and Joshua Eyler’s How Humans Learn.

Several WVU Press authors were at the ASLE conference in Portland, Oregon, earlier this month, including Stacy Balkan, who writes about her book Rogues in the Postcolony for Energy Humanities.

If you’re around Morgantown, join Renee Nicholson for dinner and a reading at Modern Homestead in Reedsville, WV on August 24. Find this and other readings on our events calendar.

Happy summer reading!

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