2019

THE LIGHT SOURCE, a novel by Kim Magowan

When Heather finds out her best friend Julie is engaged, she becomes enraged. She’s watched Julie cycle through one boyfriend after another since they were boarding school roommates, always refusing to acknowledge Heather’s feelings for her. On the eve of Julie’s wedding, Heather makes sure the marriage doesn’t happen. That’s just the beginning of their two-decade-long on-and-off relationship. Narrated by seven characters, including Heather’s and Julie’s friends, THE LIGHT SOURCE is reminiscent of Meg Wolitzer’s THE POSITION and shows that what’s meant-to-be becomes increasingly complicated with age.

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Kim Magowan’s debut short story collection, UNDOING, won the 2017 Moon City Press Short Fiction Award and is forthcoming in March 2018. Her fiction has appeared in Atticus Review, Bird’s Thumb, Cleaver, The Gettysburg Review, Hobart, New World Writing, Word Riot, and other journals. She is the Fiction Editor for Corium Magazine. She lives in San Francisco and teaches in the Department of Literatures and Languages at Mills College. You can follow her on Twitter (@kimmagowan).

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KANSASTAN, a novel by Farooq Ahmed

Inspired by the American Civil War, KANSASTAN takes place in a dystopic Kansas that is besieged by its neighboring state, Missouri. Close to the state line, an orphaned Muslim boy lives atop a minaret and is relegated to custodial work by the mosque’s imam while the threat of occupation looms. The boy plots to take over the mosque and then lead the parishioners into war against Missouri, but his plans are upstaged by the arrival of his aunt and cousin. When his cousin is hailed as a new prophet and given command of the mosque, the narrator executes his power grab, for which he is imprisoned by his cousin’s followers as the faithful march on Missouri. Like Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, but inspired by Islamic folklore and Quranic verses, KANSASTAN is a grim and harrowing look at the role of faith in America that is leavened by Ahmed’s singular lyricism.

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Raised in the great state of Kansas, Farooq Ahmed is a graduate of the Columbia University Creative Writing Program and of Brown University, where he studied biochemistry. His writing has appeared in the Financial Times, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been lauded by the South Asian Journalists Association. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two children, and a fear of earthquakes. You can follow him on Twitter (@mcfruke).

 

2020

EDIE ON THE GREEN SCREEN, a novel by Beth Lisick

Edie Wunderlich was an twenty-eight year-old It Girl in late ‘90s San Francisco, on the cover of the city’s alt-weekly, repping the freak party scene on the eve of the first dotcom boom. Fast-forward twenty years, and Edie hasn’t changed, but the city has. Still a bartender in the Mission, Edie now serves a seemingly never-ending stream of tech bros while the punk rock parties of the millennium’s end are long gone. When her mother dies, leaving Edie her Silicon Valley home, Edie finds herself mourning in the center of the Bay Area’s tech monoculture, and embarks on perhaps a last-ditch quest to hold on to her rebel heart.

Like the work of Diablo Cody and Miranda July, New York Times bestseller Beth Lisick’s first novel Edie On The Green Screen effortlessly mixes biting observational humor with disarming pathos, while asking, “What comes after It?”

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Beth Lisick is a writer and actor. She is the author of five books, including the New York Times bestseller Everybody Into the Pool and Yokohama Threeway and Other Small Shames (City Lights). Her work has been published in various anthologies, including Best American Poetry and Santa Cruz Noir. She co-founded Porchlight, San Francisco’s longest-running storytelling series, traveled the country with the Sister Spit performance tours, and received a grant from the Creative Work Fund for a chapbook series with Creativity Explored, a studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Beth has appeared in films that have screened at Cannes, Sundance, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. Edie On The Green Screen is her first novel.

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MISERY BOY, a novel by Rose Servis

At a liberal arts college in Michigan in 1980, the strange, perplexing poems by Roger Ackroyd have won him a cult following. But who is Roger Ackroyd? Just about the only person on campus not asking that question is Edward, Roger Ackroyd’s secret creator. Instead, Edward is flunking his girlfriend’s psych class, fighting with his family, and suffering writer’s block. Enter Jonathan, a rival artist pretending to be Roger Ackroyd. Jonathan is everything Edward hates—phony, pretentious, narcissistic, and self-serving. In his last week of college, Edward’s obsession with exposing Jonathan leads to a series of comically unwise decisions that threaten to reveal his true identity.

A hilarious college novel in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis, Misery Boy skewers the nature of youth, friendship, and ambition, while making us feel for the lovable, but hapless Edward.

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Rose Servis’ short stories have appeared in Trop, Entropy Magazine, and Phantom Drift. She lives in San Francisco.

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GOLDEN GATE JUMPERS SURVIVORS SOCIETY, stories by Ross Wilcox

A battle of wills emerges when one of the suicide survivors in the Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society turns the meetings into a yoga class. A small town is gripped by a lawn ornamentation craze. A woman dresses up as Paul Bunyan to rob banks to pay her ailing mother’s exorbitant nursing home bills. A married couple decides to 3-D print a son…and his entire childhood.

Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society is a funny and poignant story collection about everyday people confronting everyday challenges with escalating absurdity. Reminiscent of the work of Aimee Bender, Ross Wilcox’s stories will make you view the mundane in an entirely new way.

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Ross Wilcox is from Elk Point, South Dakota. He has attended Morningside College, the University of South Dakota, and is now finishing the last year of his PhD at the University of North Texas, where he teaches writing and composition. His stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society: Stories is his debut book-length work. He is currently at work on a novel. In addition to writing and fiction, Ross is a huge lover of basketball and a full-on disciple of LeBron James. He lives in Forth Worth, Texas with his wife and two cats. You can follow him on Twitter @rossofthewilcox.

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PROS AND CONS, stories by Jenny Bhatt

Pros and Cons is a story collection about the working lives of Indians across India and the global diaspora. Characters include an auto-wallah, a housemaid, a street-vendor, a journalist, an architect, a baker, an engineer, a sari shop employee, a yoga instructor, a bartender, and more. Straddling the fault lines of class, caste, gender, nationality, race, globalism, and more, they go against socio-cultural norms despite the challenges and indignities and the choices they make will change their lives forever.

Jenny Bhatt is a writer, literary critic, and literary translator. Having grown up in Bombay, she has lived and worked her way around India, the UK, Germany, and the US as an engineer, marketer, and a management consultant. She is currently a Contributing Editor (Books) at PopMatters. Her nonfiction has been published in the US, the UK, and Indian literary magazines such as The Atlantic, BBC Culture, Literary Hub, The Millions, Longreads, PopMatters, National Book Review, Scroll.in, and more. Her fiction has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and the Best American Short Stories anthology. One of her short stories was a finalist in the 2017 Best of the Net Anthology alongside acclaimed writers like Daisy Johnson, Allegra Hyde, and Lydia Davis. This is her first book-length work of fiction. Her literary translation of the short stories of Gujarati writer, Dhumketu (pioneer of the Gujarati short story), will be out in 2019 with HarperCollins India.