“The Barrens” Now Available

I’m over the moon (get it?) that my horror novelette “The Barrens” is the cover story for the May/June issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Five teenagers venture into New Jersey’s vast Pine Barrens, in search of the pirate radio station 81.9FM The Barrens and its elusive DJ. But, as in all good horror stories, they should be more worried about what might find them. (Purchase information below.)

A car cruises up State Route 206, alone under the flushed sky. It parks beside the blackening pines, its doors wing open, and out step two teenagers. They’re suited to the land: dark jeans, black sweatshirts, skin and hair the shade of sand and soil. But their hearts are like the sky, fresh and pink. Flaming.

One holds a silver radio, first to her ear and then above her head. She turns in place, and so does her friend, intent on the compass in his hand. The calendar says spring, today, but still the nights are cold.

“Turn it up,” the boy, Brendan, says, and the girl, Tia, spins the dial a half-turn.

The music is like a fluttering ribbon in the air, thin but vibrant, and when it flares, the two stand in place. They’re facing the entrance to the woods, the beginning of Glass Forge Road.

They look at each other and smile. Perfect.

Look for copies in bookstores, including most Barnes & Nobles, or order online from the publisher. Electronic versions are available worldwide from Weightless Books, as well as from Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK). You can also add and review on Goodreads. SFWA members can read via the association website. (Log in required.)

First Review for Who Will Speak for America?

Our first review is in! Kirkus writes:

Feldman (The Angel of Losses, 2014) and Popkin (Everything Is Borrowed, 2018, etc.) gather a medley of diverse voices to reflect on politics, society, and culture in contemporary America.

Essays, poems, fiction, photographs, and cartoons bristle with emotion from contributors responding to issues they consider most urgent: racism, sexism, poverty, and injustice. Nancy Hightower, who grew up in the evangelical South, captures the tenor of the collection when she urges the church, academia, and publishing—which she sees as being largely white—to break down racial boundaries and become “filled with, and overflowing with diversity.” She suggests that “if those in the literary arts want to transform the landscape of America, they need to be better evangelicals.” By that, she means that they must “write and publish work that speaks to students in the Bronx and LGBTQ teenagers in Oklahoma.” Inclusivity, she asserts, would produce a “glorious rhetorical army” to resist the president “and his corrupt administration.” Not surprisingly, many contributors rail against Donald Trump. Fiction writer Carmen Maria Machado cites her observations of racism and homophobia as reasons she should have known that Trump would be elected president. Poet, novelist, and creative nonfiction writer Samira Ahmed, who was born in India, takes on racism, reporting that she has been called terrorist, rag head, and sand nigger. “You realize, too young, that racists fail geography,” she writes, “but that their epithets and perverted patriotism can still shatter moments of your childhood.” Keeping silent is no adequate response, she warns: “in this land of the free and home of the brave, you plant yourself. / Like a flag.” Cartoonist Liana Finck depicts a map of America with U.S. crossed out, substituted by T. H. E. M. Novelist Diane McKinney-Whetstone celebrates the “hopeful vibe” she felt when she participated in the Women’s March. Hope counters an undercurrent of despair for many contributors: “I don’t want to give up the struggle,” says a despondent individual drawn by Finck. “I want to win and move on.”

A heartfelt and thoughtful collection.

Praise for Who Will Speak for America?

Nathaniel Popkin and I are so grateful to Porochista Khakpour and Molly Crabapple for their support of Who Will Speak for America? Here’s what they have to say about the anthology:

“At too many points since Trump’s election, my mind went to leaving this country. But Who Will Speak for America? is one of the greatest reminders I’ve had not to stray again. That we are the majority–we who represent a whole spectrum of gender, sexuality, ability, race, ethnicity, nationality, class, and more–and we will take back this country forward from the few who want it to go backward. A potent and necessary read for everyone on this planet, really.” –Porochista Khakpour

“Panoramic in scope and exquisite in execution, Who Will Speak for America? is a platform for some of the country’s sharpest minds to artistically meditate on life during and after the reign of our Orange Mussolini.” –Molly Crabapple

The book is now available for preorder from B&N, Amazon, and your local bookstore via Indiebound.

Who Will Speak for America? Book Tour

Updated June 4. I’m thrilled to share the dates for the Who Will Speak for America? book tour. For updates, visit the book’s official website.

Philadelphia Launch Party – Tuesday, June 26, 7pm
L’Etage, 624 S. 6th Street
Featuring Ken Kalfus, Nancy Hightower, Liz Moore, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Carlos Perez Samano, Marc Anthony Richardson, Stephanie Feldman, and Nathaniel Popkin
Details and RSVP via Facebook

San Francisco – Wednesday, June 27, 7pm
City Lights, 261 Columbus Ave
Featuring Veronica Scott Esposito, Charlie Jane Anders, Craig Santos Perez, moderated by John McMurtrie (Book Editor, San Francisco Chronicle)
Details and RSVP via Facebook

New York – Thursday, June 28, 7pm
McNally Jackson, 52 Prince Street
Co-sponsored by VIDA
Featuring Melissa Febos, Stephanie Feldman, Bassey Ikpi, Lynn Melnick, Cynthia Dewi Oka, and Nathaniel Popkin

Washington, DC – Monday, July 2, 7pm
Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
Featuring Jericho Brown, Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Malka Older, Stephanie Feldman, and Nathaniel Popkin

Portland – Wednesday, August 8, 7:30pm
Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside St.
Featuring Rene Denfeld and Nathaniel Popkin

Denver – Thursday, August 9, 7pm
Tattered Cover, 2526 E. Colfax Avenue
Featuring Ganzeer and Nathaniel Popkin, moderated by Angela Evans (Boulder Weekly)

Philadelphia – Wednesday, September 5, 6pm
Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania
Featuring Herman Beavers, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Fran Wilde, Liz Moore, Ken Kalfus, Sarah Rose Etter, Marc Anthony Richardson, Carlos José Pérez Sámano, Stephanie Feldman, and Nathaniel Popkin

Brooklyn – Thursday, September 27, 7pm
Powerhouse Arena, 28 Adams Street
Featuring Herman Beavers, Sam J. Miller, Nancy Hightower, KC Trommer, Stephanie Feldman, and Nathaniel Popkin