Debut author Emily W. Pease reads from and discusses her story collection Let Me Out Here, in conversation with Boston poet Jennifer Jean.
In her award-winning 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/leaves school 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 W. Pease's stories have appeared in Witness, the Missouri Review (Editors Prize in Fiction), the Georgia Review, Shenandoah (including the Bevel Summers Prize), Crazyhorse (Crazyshorts! Prize), the Alaska Quarterly Review, and Narrative. 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.
Jennifer Jean is a poet, educator, editor, activist, and consummate "literary citizen." She was born in Venice, California and lived in foster-care until she was seven. Her ancestors are from the Cape Verde Islands. Jennifer's debut poetry collection is The Fool (Big Table); her poetry chapbooks include: The Archivist, and In the War. Her newest manuscript, titled Object, was a finalist for the 2016 Green Mountains Review Book Prize. Other honors include: a 2018 Disquiet FLAD Fellowship; a 2017 "Her Story Is" residency, where she worked with Iraqi women artists in Dubai; a 2016 Good Bones Prize; and, a 2013 Ambassador for Peace Award for her activism in the arts. Her poetry, prose, and co-translations have appeared in: POETRY Magazine, Waxwing Journal, Rattle Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Solstice, Pangyrus, The Common and more. Jennifer is the Community Engagement Manager of The Boston Book Festival, is the managing editor of Talking Writing Magazine, and is the director of Free2Write Poetry Workshops for Trauma Survivors.