In Things We Lost to the Water, Family Is Vital, Even When it Falls Apart

A melancholy sense of loss seeps through the pages of D.C. author Eric Nguyen’s Things We Lost to the Water, about a Vietnamese family of refugees who emigrate to New Orleans after the Vietnam War.

When a family flees their home for another place—or another country—and starts over, they must make sacrifices. That melancholy sense of loss seeps through the pages of D.C. author Eric Nguyen’s Things We Lost to the Water, about a Vietnamese family of refugees who emigrate to New Orleans after the Vietnam War—except the entire family […]

The Good Listening Project Turns Health Care Workers’ Stories into Poems

“Poetry is the how of what we do,” says co-founder Kay McKean. “Listening is the why of what we do."

“The word tender comes to mind,” says Tamara Wellons, who manages the artist in residence program at the Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Fairfax. In a space on the second floor, near the elevators and escalator, a person sits at a table with a typewriter and an open chair across from her. Two signs read […]

Long Live GoGo: The Movement Shows that Moechella Is About More than Music

The new book, Long Live GoGo: The Movement #Moechella, now in its second printing, clarifies that Moechella represents a convergence of political activism and go-go culture.

Nearly two years ago, a resident of a Shaw luxury high rise sought to silence the go-go that had played for decades on speakers outside a nearby Black-owned shop. After the hashtag #DontMuteDC went viral on social media, thousands of the city’s Black residents responded with a resounding hell no, which manifested as nightly musical […]

Everything After Tells a Story of Grief and Romance

Jill Santopolo's novel about a married therapist and her old flame touches on miscarriage, regret, and love.

Romance novels are the money-makers of fiction publishing. Some readers expect steamy, explicit sex scenes as they watch a heroine wander through her amorous adventures. That’s one branch of the genre, and that image is often used to malign romances. But readers of Jill Santopolo’s new novel, Everything After, about a married therapist and her […]

Reissuing JEB’s Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbians 40 Years Later

The local photographer addresses queer history, trans rights, and fighting for change.

“People without a history are rootless and easy to blow away,” explains Joan E. Biren, better known as JEB, the documentary photographer and filmmaker behind the groundbreaking photography collection Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbians.  For the first time in 40 years, Eye to Eye, the first known photography book depicting only out lesbians photographed […]

A Year Into a Pandemic, This Is What America’s Literary Scene Looks Like

Washington Writers’ Publishing House managed to launch an anthology in a year with no in-person events or editorial meetings.

The pandemic forced writers and publishers (and everyone else, for that matter) to reconsider their daily actions. Canceled in-person events meant no book tours. Readers couldn’t meander through bookstores, or pick featured books off curated tables. Friends couldn’t linger at The Royal or The Coffee Bar chatting about books and couldn’t swing by a Tuesday […]

Fake Accounts Is a Novel That Feels Like an Endless Scroll

Lauren Oyler's novel of the internet is on-the-nose representation for the extremely online.

The internet makes us weird, and we do strange things for attention there. That’s an uncontroversial statement, but the heavily online continue scrolling anyway. We’ve even come up with names for what social media, in particular, does to the human mind after prolonged exposure: brain worms, poster’s brain, terminal onlineness. These describe the desire to […]

Bride of the Sea Follows a Family Across Borders and Decades

Eman Quotah's debut novel is a poet's manuscript—a compelling story that comes alive in its lyricism.

A young marriage disintegrates, even as a beloved daughter is born; then, a shocking betrayal and disappearance followed by decades of rippling repercussions. Bride of the Sea, D.C.-area author Eman Quotah’s debut novel, follows those ripples across decades. It is a fast-paced, beautiful saga of family and identity. It is also a deep, immersive dive […]

I Came As a Shadow Captures the Lasting Legacy of John Thompson Jr.

"I really hope that people who read this understand this was a person who bridged eras in a very remarkable way, who grew up during Jim Crow and then met six presidents."

In the 1980s, John Thompson Jr. and the Georgetown men’s basketball team left a lasting impression on Jesse Washington. Even though Washington lived more than 300 miles away from D.C., in Poughkeepsie, New York, the Hoyas were “a thousand percent” his team. “Wait, let’s just stop. They were every Black kid’s team,” Washington, a senior […]

Everyone Is Suddenly a Home Cook. Bold Fork Books Is Here to Help.

City Paper talks with Clementine Thomas, owner of Bold Fork Books, a new culinary bookstore in Mount Pleasant.

When Clementine Thomas walked into Montreal’s Appetite for Books, a bookstore that sells cookbooks and offers cooking classes, “everything kind of clicked.” She had always loved cookbooks. “It all started percolating then,” she says, “‘What if D.C. had its own space to bring together home cooks, professional cooks, and the authors that are exciting?’ It […]

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