News

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Charles Frazier reviewed Sugar Run for the New York Times Book Review

“Maren is masterly at describing America’s modern wastelands, the blasted towns not yet and maybe never-to-be the beneficiaries of rehabilitation and reoccupation. […] You can almost see Maren — like Raymond Chandler — cutting each typed page into three strips and requiring each strip to contain something delightful (startling simile, clever dialogue, brilliant description) offered to the reader as recompense for a world that presses up against you all raw and aggressive and dangerous. A language that fully owns its power to capture just that “heart-wild magic.”

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I talked with Scott Simon on Weekend Edition about Sugar Run, prisons and West Virginia!

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I will be doing a book launch at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC on Tuesday, January 8 at 6:00 p.m. I will be in conversation with Mamone of @queerappalachia and Electric Dirt Zine! If you purchase a book through Malaprop’s you will be entered to win a free handmade letterpressed broadside with a quote from Sugar Run!

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You can read some reviews of Sugar Run at

Publishers Weekly

Maren’s impressive debut is replete with luminous prose that complements her cast of flawed characters … Maren astutely captures Jodi’s desperation in trying to unite a family despite her past.

Kirkus

Darkly engrossing … Maren draws the reader into a world of shifting allegiances, small-town bigotry, draining poverty, pervasive substance abuse, and secrets as destructive as the blasts used in fracking on the property down the road from the farm. The author skillfully handles a dual plot, alternating chapters set in the near-present and 20 years before. The novel’s noir tone and taut suspense are enriched by Maren’s often lovely prose, especially in descriptions of the natural world, and sharp observations … This impressive first novel combines beautifully crafted language and a steamy Southern noir plot to fine effect.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Mesha Maren’s intriguing debut novel revolves around secrets: those we keep, those kept from us, and the pain and dangerous consequences that sometimes result when they are revealed.

Booklist

Dread and a lush natural world infuse Maren’s noir-tinged debut as she carefully relays soul-crushing realities and myths of poverty and privilege, luck and rehabilitation, and the human needs that can precede criminality through love-starved loner Jodi and her band of fellow hungry souls.

Library Journal (Star Review)

Unfold[s] in language that is just plain grittily gorgeous. These are stories of violence and passion and squashed hope … A highly recommended debut.

And more… read them all here: https://bookmarks.reviews/reviews/sugar-run-general/

 

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I talked to David Canfield at Entertainment Weekly about writing a Queer southern novel!

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You can read an excerpt of Sugar Run at Oxford American

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Sugar Run was chosen as Best of the Month Featured Debut at Amazon

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Sugar Run has been included in 2019 New Book Lists at

Nylon

New York Post

Lit Hub

Entertainment Weekly

Augusta Chronicle

Real Simple

Hey Alma and many more!

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BookRiot included Sugar Run in this list of

55 Amazing New Books You Need to Read this Winter!

 

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Eliot Parker interviewed me for the Now Appalachia podcast.

We talked about grit lit and growing up in West Virginia!

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ELLE Magazine asked me what books I read for solace in dark times and I wrote about one of my favorite books ever, Wojnarowicz’s incredible ‘memoir of disintegration’ about AIDS and art and bravery and love.

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Southern Living selected Sugar Run as one of the Best New Books Coming Out Winter 2019!!!

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Autostraddle chose Sugar Run to represent West Virginia in Queer Books Across America: Incredible Lesbian and Bisexual Novels and Memoirs Set in Every State

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Booklist: “Dread and a lush natural world infuse Maren’s noir-tinged debut as she carefully relays soul-crushing realities and myths of poverty and privilege, luck and rehabilitation, and the human needs that can precede criminality through love-starved loner Jodi and her band of fellow hungry souls.”

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Publishers Weekly: “Maren’s impressive debut is replete with luminous prose that complements her cast of flawed characters. Maren astutely captures Jodi’s desperation in trying to unite a family despite her past.”

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Kirkus Review: “In Maren’s darkly engrossing debut novel, two women yearning for freedom fall in love, but the secrets of the past and betrayals in the present threaten to crush them. […] The author skillfully handles a dual plot, alternating chapters set in the near-present and 20 years before. The novel’s noir tone and taut suspense are enriched by Maren’s often lovely prose, especially in descriptions of the natural world, and sharp observations, like this one of Jodi’s first love: “There is a velocity to her that pulls you close. Her life lived like the coil before the strike.” This impressive first novel combines beautifully crafted language and a steamy Southern noir plot to fine effect.”

 

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A huge thank you to Lauren Groff for giving me such a generous shout-out in her wonderful New York Times By the Book column!

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I talked with Louisa Ermelino at Publishers Weekly about growing up in West Virginia, building a cabin with my dad and writing about prison.

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“The King of Shopping Mall Surrealism”

My review of Scott McClanahan’s The Sarah Book at The Millions

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I interviewed April Ayers Lawson for Hobart

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My review of Matthew Neill Null’s Allegheny Front at Oxford American

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I had the honor of interviewing Claire Falkenberg about her art, nuclear power plants, landscapes and destabilizing the familiar and Guernica is featuring our conversation in their new Boundaries of Nature issue! Check it out: https://www.guernicamag.com/art/the-unknowing/

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I’ll be at the MacDowell Colony for the month of September, working hard on final edits of Sugar Run

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I am so incredibly excited to announce that, with the help of the amazing Bill Clegg, I sold my novel, Sugar Run, to Kathy Pories at Algonquin!!!!!

Fiction:
Debut
2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize Winner Mesha Maren’s SUGAR RUN, set within the charged insularity of rural West Virginia and following a wayward girl through the time just before and after her eighteen-year stint in prison for voluntary manslaughter; a novel about making a run for another life, the use and treachery of makeshift families, and how no matter the distance we think we’ve travelled from the mistakes we’ve made, too often we find ourselves standing precisely in the place we began, to Kathy Pories at Algonquin, at auction, by Bill Clegg at The Clegg Agency (NA).
Posted:
June 18, 2015 at 11:36 p.m. Eastern

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My short story “Confluence” is included in the new Appalachia Now anthology from Bottom Dog Press alongside some great stories from Chris Offutt, Charles Dodd White and many other talented writers!

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My short story “Eminent Domain” was included in this brand new anthology Choose Wisely alongside the work of Aimee Bender, Joyce Carol Oates, Amelia Gray, Mary Miller, Lindsay Hunter and  many other talented women!

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My short story “Chokedamp” was  chosen by Lee Smith as Winner of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize 

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Ucross Foundation Residency Fall 2014

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I’m excited to announce that I have been chosen as the recipient of the  2014 Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing!

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Thank you so much to Tin House for publishing my Lost & Found essay!

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Thank you so much to The Elizabeth George Foundation for their generous research and writing grant!

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I am honored to announce that I have been awarded a 2013 Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant.

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2 thoughts on “News

  1. Rosaia Shepard

    Hi Mesha,
    I just met you in Atlanta at the Margaret Mitchell House. (Black, head-shaven, first in line and fascinated by the use of present and past tenses in “Sugar Run”.) Thanks for a delightful evening. You read well.
    –Rosaia Shepard, Memoirist “Baby Butch”. Actually, I’m trying out a new genre name: Memnoir.

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