Essay in Prairie Schooner


I’m very excited to have an essay, “How to Breathe in Deep Space,” in the Summer 2017 issue of Prairie Schooner. The issues arrived in the mail yesterday, and I’m thrilled to share pages with my friend Brenda Peynado, who has a story in this issue, as well as with many other fine writers. This essay is about moving from Cincinnati to Ohio and is patterned after old NASA manuals for breathing apparatuses in space exploration. Many, many thanks to the editors at Prairie Schooner for including my work in this beautiful issue.

Second Novel Forthcoming!

I am thrilled to announce that my second novel, Utah, is forthcoming from William Morrow/HarperCollins in 2019. This novel is dear to my heart, a book about two sisters – one a former NASCAR driver and the other a falconer just released from prison – who take to the road from Illinois to Utah to attend their mother’s funeral, a former paleontologist who has left them geocached clues at multiple sites along their route to ease their grief and help them find their way. Complicating their journey are a series of plane crashes that have been occurring around the world as the climate shifts, forcing them to take their journey by car. For me, this is a book about the earth, and a book about women being where they’re not supposed to be. I’m so gratetul to my agent, Kerry D’Agostino, for providing me the chance to work with HarperCollins again, and I’m so excited to work with Jessica Williams at William Morrow. The photo below is from my own solo road trip last summer to Arches, Canyonlands, Salt Lake City and the Spiral Jetty to research the book.

Happy summer!


Sewanee Fiction Fellow

Amid end-of-semester activities this week, I am beyond delighted to learn that I’ve been awarded a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship in Fiction at this summer’s 2017 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. As a fellow, I’ll be participating in workshop and giving a reading, and I’m very much looking forward to traveling to Sewanee in July. Having attended three years ago as a scholar, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to return to such a magical, supportive and generative place with such a fantastic group of writers. Happy summer!


Texas Tech Creative Writing

I know I’ve already posted this week about my visit to Texas Tech University as part of their Creative Writing Program Reading Series, but it was such a wonderful trip that I’m going to go ahead and post twice. The faculty and graduate students are some of the most generous I’ve had the fortune to meet, and it was a particularly special visit for me since Iron Horse Literary Review published the short story of “Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down” that became this novel. Professor and founding editor Leslie Jill Patterson is one of the kindest, most generous literary citizens and people, and it was such a pleasure to spend the week with her, creative writing professor Katie Cortese, and a cohort of really amazing graduate students. In addition to having the chance to read from the novel, I also conducted a Master Workshop with several of the doctoral students in fiction, and it was a such a pleasure to read and workshop their beautiful work.

Below is the podium where I had the pleasure of reading from the novel. Many, many thanks to Texas Tech University for an amazing visit!


Texas Tech University Reading Series

I’m really delighted to be visiting Texas Tech University’s creative writing program this week, where I’ll be giving a reading from Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down and working with Texas Tech’s doctoral students on their fiction manuscripts. This is a near-and-dear visit for me, as Iron Horse Literary Review published the short story of “Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down” that eventually became my first novel. I’m so excited to visit and meet everyone at the program, and many thanks to Leslie Jill Patterson for inviting me as part of Texas Tech’s Creative Writing Series.



The Best Small Fictions 2017



I’m thrilled to have just learned this week that my short story, “A Personal History of Arson,” which appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Puerto del Solwas chosen by Amy Hempel for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions 2017The anthology is due out from Braddock Avenue Books in September 2017 and will include work by Allegra Hyde, Jesse Goolsby, Joy Williams, Scott Garson, Julia Slavin, Matthew Baker, W. Todd Kaneko, and William Woolfitt, among many others. Huge thanks to Series Editor Tara Masih for organizing this anthology, and many congratulations to the other winners, finalists and semifinalists!

TK Podcast with James Scott

This week, I’m thrilled to be featured on the TK Podcast with James Scott, my absolute favorite writing podcast that interviews novelists, editors, agents and authors. The podcast has featured writers like Mike Scalise, Laura Van Den Berg, Matt Bell, Sarah Domet and Jamie Quatro, and I’m thrilled to share this week’s episode with writer and Southern Review editor Emily Nemens. Emily and The Southern Review published an excerpt of Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down last summer, and I’m beyond excited for us both to featured on this week’s episode. Thanks for having us, James!

Episode 28: Anne Valente & Emily Nemens

Passages North and AWP


I am beyond thrilled to have a new short story, “The Whispering Arch,” in the latest issue of Passages North. Issue 38 is absolutely gorgeous and includes new work by Robert James Russell, Alex McElroy, Sadie Hoagland, Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Jill Talbot, Matthew Minicucci and many others, as well as a stunning new essay by LaTanya McQueen. My story appears in print alongside these fantastic writers, and can also be found in its entirety online. Many, many thanks to Jennifer Howard and the editors at Passages North for including my work in such an impressive issue.

I’ve also just returned from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Washington DC, which was one of the best AWPs I’ve attended. It was great to catch up with so many friends and meet new writers, and I had the chance to do two signings – one for Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down and one for An Elegy for Mathematics, which sold out at the conference and is now entering its second printing – and also participate in Bull City Press‘s 10th Anniversary Reading with Ross White, Tiana Clark, Anders Carlson-Wee, Emilia Phillips and Anna Ross. In addition, I had the chance to serve on a panel about writing fiction away from our own experience with Michael Croley, Richard Bausch, Brad Watson and Ananda Lima, a picture of which is below, and also attend the conference’s Candlelight Vigil for Free Speech. Given the current political climate, and especially with the conference being held in DC, it was affirming to be around so much wonderful energy and resistance through art.


Danielle Evans at SFUAD


We’ve had the tremendous honor this week at Santa Fe University of Art and Design of hosting Danielle Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, as our spring visiting writer in the Creative Writing and Literature Department. Danielle visited our fiction classes, conducted a lunch Q&A with students, and gave a phenomenal reading on Tuesday night of her new short story, “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain,” which appears in the recent 25th anniversary issue of American Short Fiction.

One of our creative writing students, Chantelle Mitchell, also had the chance to interview Danielle for SFUAD’s Jackalope Magazine. Thanks to Chantelle for this excellent interview, and many, many thanks to Danielle for a really amazing, enriching visit. Our students and faculty are incredibly lucky to have had the chance to learn from Danielle and her work this week.