2022 Books by CRAFT Contributors
For literary enthusiasts seeking to support authors and presses this postholiday season, check out this roundup of 2022 book releases by CRAFT contributors. We have been lucky to have platformed a range of rising and established writers across all the genres we currently publish, and we are excited to celebrate and share a selection of their publishing accomplishments with you. Consider purchasing their books locally or through an author-supporting site such as Bookshop.org if you don’t buy from the publisher links included in the list below. Visit the authors’ personal websites to see what else they’ve been up to by clicking on the links attached to their names, or revisit what they’ve published on our website for a taste of their prose styles.
Stella Lei, Inheritances of Hunger
“This is not your average family drama. In five raw, gutting stories, Lei pulls us into a post-apocalyptic girlhood where bloodline means blood spilled, where childhood games have chilling conclusions, where mothers give daughters voice and teeth, teach them to sing and teach them to bite. But Lei’s stories are as universal as they are specific; reading her work, you have the feeling that she is slipping her blade beneath your skin, revealing a world that could exist, or maybe already does. A cutting, thrilling, and delightfully subversive collection.” —Kaya Dierks
Published by River Glass Books.
CRAFT: Read Stella’s “Graftings” (short fiction).
Zoe Ballering, There Is Only Us
“Wholly original and wildly contemporary, Zoe Ballering’s There Is Only Us moves from the COVID-19 pandemic’s Before Times to the After Times, every story a meticulous and emotionally resonant examination of a rapidly shifting world. Reading it feels like reading the world as it is unfolding, an Ovidian rendering of the cataclysmic changes of our time, with all the accompanying strangeness, pain, and exultation.” —Polly Buckingham
Published by UNT Press.
CRAFT: Read Zoe’s “Substances: A School Year” (short fiction).
Madari Pendás, Crossing the Hyphen
“An outstanding and important collection that brilliantly captures the emotional complexities, tensions, and traumas of exile and assimilation, all rendered with exquisite lyrical clarity and masterful metaphors. These poems are an essential read for all hyphenated Americans sifting through layers of culture, language, memory—and much more—to find the essence of our true being.” —Richard Blanco
Published by Tolsun Books.
CRAFT: Read Madari’s “Instructor Feedback” (flash fiction).
Beth Kephart, A Room of Your Own: A Story Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Famous Essay, illustrated by Julia Breckenreid
“…a gorgeous book that explores all the different kinds of room we can find in our lives for creativity. Those rooms can be in the house, in the garden, in a barn, in a bathtub, in a cabinet, in a tree, under the bed, or even simply in the pages of a book.” —Savvy Verse and Wit
Published by Abrams Books.
Beautiful Useful Things: What William Morris Made, illustrated by Melodie Stacey
“Kephart’s text is leisurely, encouraging readers to fully take in every stanza and lovely illustration. Rich vocabulary, lyricism, and careful word choices enhance and deepen meaning. Stacey’s incredible soft-edged illustrations are reminiscent of Morris’ style: full of movement, imagination, and detail.” —Kirkus Reviews
Published by Abrams Books.
CRAFT: Read Beth’s “Thieves” (creative nonfiction) and “Time Stamps: Eleven Ways of Managing the Clock in Memoir” (critical essay).
Thea Prieto, ed. Stranged Writing: A Literary Taxonomy
“Stranged Writing: A Literary Taxonomy is a collection of defamiliarized creative writing curated according to biological taxonomy (species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, and domain) using word count.” —The Gravity of the Thing
Published by The Gravity of the Thing.
CRAFT: Read Thea’s conversation with Peg Alford Pursell.
Louise Marburg, You Have Reached Your Destination
“You Have Reached Your Destination is a brilliantly subtle and elegantly crafted collection about fractured families, primal wounds, and lost opportunities, resilience, forgiveness, and the vibrancy of solitary lives. I greatly admired Louise Marburg’s portrayal of women taking care of children, parents, friends, and neighbors while taking stock of their own experiences, women on the verge of regarding themselves with new excitement and tenderness.” —Mary South
Published by EastOver Press.
CRAFT: Read Louise’s conversation with Gale Massey.
“Sara Lippmann is a master of the absurd realities that comprise our American domestic lives. The stories in JERKS crackle with urgent, electric prose that sets fire to every sentence on every page. Funny, daring, brutal, honest, brilliant. Lippmann is dazzling.” —Robert Lopez
Published by Mason Jar Press.
“Sara Lippmann’s LECH is a superb Jewish gothic, an expertly pitched polyvocal tale of family, loss, and redemption. By turns funny, beautiful, lewd and heartbreaking, Lippmann delivers a literary performance with all the timing and energy of a great Borscht Belt comic.” —Adam O’Fallon
Published by Tortoise Books.
CRAFT: Read Sara’s interview with Michelle Ross.
Michelle Ross, They Kept Running
“In this taut collection of flash fiction, Michelle Ross weaves together fairy tales and horror, beauty and the grotesque, to inhabit the intersections of gender, sexuality, violence, and romantic love. Each story draws the reader into a sharply etched world studded with tension. A seemingly safe domestic life turns, just slightly to reveal its hidden dangers. For the girl and woman characters at the center of this book, the call is often coming from inside the house, and Ross is unafraid to look directly at what lurks on the other end of the line.” —Meagan Cass
Published by UNT Press.
CRAFT: Read Michelle’s interview with Sara Lippman.
“These are tiny, quietly incendiary stories that feel like gathering storm clouds. There’s the same thrill of electricity, the same tingling awareness of wreckage on the horizon. Stories brimming with lovers and friends and families, small town desires and spectacles and cautionary billboards, Hollows pulls together the finest stories Tommy Dean has written to date and should not be missed.” —Kathy Fish
Published by Alternating Current Press.
CRAFT: Read Tommy’s interview with Jill Witty.
“Shaped from foreboding, almost neobiblical prose, 40 is a fast-paced vision of a shattered American future: a place of violent factions, barbaric pageantry, remote-control rain, and angels made real. Alan Heathcock has created a speculative thriller that glitters with imagination and glows with heart.” —Anthony Doerr
Published by Macmillan Publishers.
CRAFT: Read Alan’s interview with CRAFT’s editor in chief, Courtney Harler.
Suzanne Roberts, Animal Bodies: On Death, Desire, and Other Difficulties
“Animal Bodies is a marvel, a heartbreaking road map of living, loving, and grieving. Roberts bravely recalls the deaths of her alcoholic father, her dear friend, and her mother, a complex force in her life. Here, we read about rape, escape, affairs, and repair. There is wilderness and then, somehow, the clearing—both in her world travels and the dying around her. Thinking about death clarifies life, and Roberts knows the thin line between grief and joy, the importance of living fully and fighting for freedom without apology. This is hard-earned wisdom and liberation. I can’t stop thinking about it.” —Lee Herrick
Published by University of Nebraska Press.
CRAFT: Read Suzanne’s conversation with Al Landwehr.
Al Landwehr, What’s Left to Learn
“…a thoroughly engaging and propulsive page-turner of novel with an amazing sense of place and time in every scene—little details and asides creating a rich world with a sun-drenched neo-noir vibe where Santa Ana winds blow through the all-too-brief eight days of the story.” —Glen Starkey
Published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press.
CRAFT: Read Al’s conversation with Suzanne Roberts.
Coco Picard, The Healing Circle
“The Healing Circle is a far-reaching, honest, and funny novel about dying and living, a kind of pilgrimage to wholeness through uncertainty and disorientation. Full of resonance, it asks what it means to heal, to be in pain, to be a person.” —Amina Cain
Published by Red Hen Press.
CRAFT: Read Coco’s conversation with Sue Mell.
“If you’ve ever suffered a loss, if you’ve ever had to start over, you will find kinship and hope and even joy in Provenance, the story of a widower seeking to salvage his life after moving back to his small hometown in upstate New York. I cannot recall reading a debut novel imbued with such depth of understanding and compassion for its characters, or one that better captures the messy business of living. Sue Mell writes like a dream.” —Will Allison
Published by Madville Publishing.
CRAFT: Read Sue’s conversation with Coco Picard.
Sarah Fay, Pathological: A True Story of Six Misdiagnoses
“In this brilliant and excruciating memoir, through careful reporting and exquisite analysis, Fay takes on the myriad ways in which women’s minds, not simply our bodies, have become a marketplace for trendy and dangerous ideas about mental health. This book is a triumph of the spirit and the flesh for a woman who since the age of twelve has been fighting, against all odds, not only to survive, but to live.” —Eliza Griswold
Published by HarperCollins Publishers.
CRAFT: Read Sarah’s conversation with Sadaf Ferdowsi.
“Conjuring an ecosystem of Madness, music, memory, bugbutter explores bodies on the edge. In these hybrid poems, the human and the more-than-human mingle in sites of trauma and hope, with fantastical characters from Moomin to Catdog guiding the way.” —Gap Riot Press
Published by Gap Riot Press.
“Out of Mind & Into Body tears through the medicalized trappings of social embodiment with analytical precision. From examining the ways in which doctors pry through autistic minds to unraveling the feminine coding of a fainting couch, Cavar leaves no diagnostic harm left unquestioned.” —Fox Auslander
Published by Ethel.
CRAFT: Read Cavar’s interview with Claire Oshetsky.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras, The Man Who Could Move Clouds
“The Man Who Could Move Clouds is a memoir like no other, mapping memory, myth, and the mysteries and magic of ancestry with stark tenderness and beauty. A dreamlike and literal excavation of the powers of inheritance, Ingrid Rojas Contreras has given us a glorious gift with these pages.” —Patricia Engel
Published by Doubleday.
CRAFT: Read Ingrid’s interview with CRAFT’s creative nonfiction section editor, Jacqueline Doyle.
Kristine Langley Mahler, Curing Season: Artifacts
“An exquisite excavation of childhood and adolescence, Curing Season recounts Kristine Langley Mahler’s long-ago attempts at fitting in after moving to her new town: from wanting to carry the right shopping bag in the mall to forming an alliance with one girl against others to mailing ‘histrionic letters of homesickness’ to friends at her old school. In wise, lyrical, and formally inventive essays, Mahler vividly illustrates the heartaches of trying to belong in a place—even after leaving it.” —Jeannie Vanasco
Published by Western Virginia University Press.
CRAFT: Read Kristine’s “This Century, the Last” (flash creative nonfiction).
Sarah Fawn Montgomery, Halfway From Home: Essays
“In vivid, compelling prose, Sarah Fawn Montgomery explores nostalgia, restlessness, and a complexity of grief sparked by personal loss and a world that often seems constantly aflame.” —Dinty W. Moore
Published by Split/Lip Press.
CRAFT: Read Sarah’s “Dash” (flash creative nonfiction).
Featured image by Kimberly Farmer, courtesy of Unsplash.