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Short stories! Emily W. Pease, Let Me Out Here, and Joanna Pearson, Every Human Love

Saturday, June 8   |   2:00 pm

“The feeling of living on the edge of a breaking point permeates these 16 rich, finely crafted stories. Pease’s prose demands attention and refuses to let readers avert their gazes from the near-constant sense of approaching disaster, a steady thrum of quiet doom. And yet, each story is all the more enticing because the humanity of the characters is not overshadowed by plot. A compelling examination of what it means to survive when thriving seems to be an option only for other people.”  —Kirkus Reviews

In her debut collection, Emily W. Pease is at work redefining the short story. Let Me Out Here explores the underbellies and strange desires of our neighbors, our loved ones, ourselves. A co-ed takes up with a with a mysterious cab driver who’s been calling every night on her dormitory’s hall phone; a family isolated by their faith hikes to a waterfall in search of healing; a mother sets her balcony on fire after an awkward family dinner; a woman befriends the snakes her preacher boyfriend keeps in their shed. This revealing collection offers a deep empathy for people doing the best they can, despite themselves.

Spread over varied landscapes of the South and offering surprising moments of raw revelation, the characters here find themselves at crossroads or alone on an empty street at night. With Let Me Out Here, Pease joins the ranks of Mary Gaitskill, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Kelly Link, and adds to their tradition a deft, singular style and a voice as darkly funny as it is exacting.

Let Me Out Here is the 2018 winner of the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize.

Emily Pease graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in English and a concentration in journalism. She went on to receive an MA from Virginia Tech and an MFA in Writing from Warren Wilson College. Her stories have appeared in the Missouri Review, the Georgia Review, Shenandoah, Crazyhorse, the Alaska Quarterly Review, Narrative, and Witness. After teaching for many years at the College of William & Mary, she now teaches writing to veterans through the Armed Services Arts Partnership, where she also serves as a member of their arts council. She is currently beginning a novel about logging the last forests of West Virginia. She lives in Williamsburg, VA.

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“Imaginative and haunting, Every Human Love is a masterful collection of short stories by Joanna Pearson, written with insight and empathy. . . .there’s a strength, a lucidity, and a brilliance that shimmers and enchants.” –Synapsis

Every Human Love is breathlessly stunning, in the sense that it is beautiful writing, but also in that it is profoundly unsettling. The fourteen stories in collection demand rests between one and the next in order to absorb the various uncanny landscapes: raw urban cities, the alleys of clinics and hospitals, Gothic southern farms and highways, ‘the woods’ and the things hiding in them,  and delirious ‘post-partum fever dream-ghost stories.’”