In Seeing Ghosts, Kat Chow Unspools Memory and Grief to Reconstruct a Life

The memoir follows Chow’s attempts to reckon with her mother’s life and death through dim memories, dreams, and fragmented stories.

Hours after Kat Chow’s mother dies, her uncle gathers her and her two sisters in his arms and tells the trio that nothing has changed. “OK,” the sisters say, echoing each other in the embrace. Their uncle probably means this as a consolation, to reassure them that they still have family who will love and…

Eleven Years Queer: OutWrite Returns For Another Virtual Festival

Co-chair Marlena Chertock talks about what’s in store for 2021’s weekend-long fest.

Local poet Marlena Chertock, the 2021 co-chair of OutWrite, D.C.’s annual LGBTQ literary festival, is excited for this year’s event, taking place Aug. 6 through 8. “We can’t be in person, but last year we had it virtually and we still managed to have some form of community—I’m hoping that continues for this year,” she…

Rotten Is a Multifaceted Look at Surviving Sexual Assault and D.C.’s DIY Scene

Mandy Brownholtz’s debut novel is both a love letter to D.C. subculture and a middle finger to rape culture.

It turns out, a global pandemic is not a terrible time to self-publish a novel. Mandy Brownholtz, author of the recently released Rotten, describes making the book during lockdown as “a bright spot in a dark time.” The design process gave her something to focus on and, as a music industry veteran, she was thrilled…

In Her Poetry, Jenari Mitchell Isn’t Only Telling Her Story

The 21-year-old from D.C. has attracted attention from across the world for poems like “We Just Trying to Grow Up.”

Born and raised in Southeast Washington neighborhoods strained by poverty and street violence, Jenari Mitchell attended charter schools, navigated her way through multiple community youth programs, and was accepted to the well-regarded Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a generous scholarship. “I was very excited,” she recalls. “I just got basically a full ride to one of…

Melissa Scholes Young Is Creating Buzz With The Hive

The American University professor and author’s new novel has already been optioned by Sony Entertainment.

D.C. is waking up after a long pandemic year, cautiously but surely, and local writers are eager to connect—both with each other and with their readers, who they’ve often struggled to reach during such an isolating time. Melissa Scholes Young, a D.C. area author and associate professor in literature at American University, has found herself…

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…

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