This week, I’m honored to be on faculty at the Colgate Writers’ Conference alongside such wonderful writers as CJ Hauser, Jennifer Brice, Naomi Jackson, Angela Palm, Brock Clarke, Jenny Xie, Kyle Bass, Greg Bottoms, Eduardo C. Corral, Carrie Brown, John Gregory Brown and Peter Balakian. I read Monday night with Naomi Jackson and Rachel Dickinson, and yesterday gave a craft talk on constellating images in fiction. I’m leading a novel-writing workshop and am delighted to be part of such a magical week of readings, craft talks and inspiration. Tremendous thanks to directors Jennifer Brice and Alison Fromme for bringing me on board this year!
I’m delighted to have new fiction in the Spring 2019 issue of Crazyhorse, a horror story about ticks called “Tick Season” (right in time for summer). The issue is jam-packed with excellent new poetry, fiction and non-fiction from Traci Brimhall, Alison Stine, Tory Adkisson, Erin Flanagan, Sarah Rose Nordgren and Nicky Beer, among many others. Huge thanks to to editors Anthony Varallo and Jonathan Bohr Heinen for including my work!
Welcome to the world, second novel! The Desert Sky Before Us officially releases today, and tonight I’ll be launching the novel at Left Bank Books, my hometown bookstore in St. Louis. Please join us at 7pm if you are in the area, and many thanks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for this generous review of the novel!
This week in Literary Hub, I have a new essay on why it’s so difficult to write about music in fiction, especially in a road-trip novel like The Desert Sky Before Us where Billie and Rhiannon presumably listen to hours and hours of driving playlists, and yet there is only brief mention of music throughout the book. Thank you to editor Emily Firetog for featuring this piece, and as a special bonus, there is a giveaway of the novel in the sidebar!
Thank you to InStyle Magazine for including The Desert Sky Before Us on their list of top 10 books for May, “10 Books to Binge Over Memorial Day Weekend.” If you are so inclined, I hope you enjoy reading the book in one sitting over your holiday weekend!
I’m delighted to learn that The Desert Sky Before Us has earned a starred review from Library Journal, which says, “Valente’s superb writing propels us on a most unusual journey filled with unraveling emotions and the breathtaking mysteries of desert river beds, red rock formations, and dinosaur skeletons. Impossible to put down.” Thank you, Library Journal, for this lovely review!
At the end of this month, I’m delighted to be presenting at Colgate University’s Spring 2019 Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series on the connections between human language and environmental justice. This talk converges my teaching in environmental literature and creative writing, as well as how environmental justice shapes the language of my own creative work. I’m so looking forward to the event – if you’re in the area, please join us on Tuesday, April 30th at 4:15pm!
First pre-pub alert! This past month, Library Journal published its Emerging Stars preview for Literary Fiction, which included The Desert Sky Before Us for its May release radar. Many thanks to editor Barbara Hoffert for including me on this list!