One of the most fulfilling prospects of being a writer is publishing your first work. For those who can relate, when I was an English undergrad, nothing excited me more than knowing that people might actually want to read, let alone buy, my work one day.
I am always on the prowl for a great new book to read, and so it’s always a delight to find a book by first-timers—these little discoveries have been the ray of light and silver lining of hope in my tunneled life as a freelancer over the years.
For this month’s debuts, we look at three women crashing onto the lit scene — with the exception of one, whose second book explores a new genre.
Oyinkan Braithwaite, My Sister, the Serial Killer
Oyinkan Braithwaite graduated from Kingston University with degrees in creative writing and law. She’s since worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo, a Nigerian publishing house, and as a freelance writer and editor. Braithwaite has been shortlisted as a top-ten spoken word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2016.
My Sister, the Serial Killer, in a nutshell: A hysterical sibling slasher bursting with blood and humor. (Amazon, $15.28)
My two cents: Itching for a slice of this plauded debut as I’ve heard only good things — plus, it’s being made into a movie!
Laura Adamczyk, Hardly Children
Illinois-born writer Laura Adamczyk’s fiction has won awards from the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation of Chicago and has appeared in Hobart, Chicago Reader, PANK, Salt Hill, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Bellevue Literary Review, Necessary Fiction, and elsewhere. In 2014, her story “Girls” (Guernica) won the 2014 Dzanc Books/Disquiet International Literary Program Award. Adamczyk lives in Chicago, where she works at The A.V. Club.
Hardly Children, in a nutshell: Stories told from harrowing narrators on the brink of loss. (Amazon, $10.40)
My two cents: Reading this one now and the first few tales alone are reason enough for me to pull an all-nighter.
Maryse Meijer, Northwood: A Novella
Maryse Meijer is the author of Heartbreaker, a novella, Northwood, and a second story collection forthcoming from FSG called Rag. Meijer’s fiction has appeared on Electric Literature, Joyland and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago.
Northwood, in a nutshell: A young woman documents her sexual and emotional abuse in verse. (Amazon, $12.88)
My two cents: Northwood is not technically Meijer’s “debut” but an author’s unforgettable foray into verse and novella territory — and a total grab, considering I’ve read it already myself.
Read our review here.