2015 Debut-litzer Winners
Late Night Conversation, hosted by Paul Martone
Featured guests: Eugenia Leigh and Catherine Lacey
Purchase Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows
“Everyone warns us off the rocks. / But what will keep us from the river?” Leigh asks in her debut collection, which pieces together a kind of mythology in which the surreal and celestial coexist with the realities of childhood abuse as an adult speaker grapples with its lasting emotional trauma. Rooted in a place of deep faith and bottomless compassion, Leigh’s speaker struggles to remember, and to remind us all, “that to worship is to survive is to be / wholly human.”
Eugenia Leigh’s writing has appeared in numerous publications including Indiana Review, The Collagist, North American Review, and the Best New Poets 2010 anthology. The recipient of fellowships and awards from Poets & Writers Magazine, Kundiman, Rattle, and the Asian American Literary Review, Eugenia serves as the Poetry Editor of Kartika Review. She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was awarded the Thomas Lux Scholarship for her dedication to teaching, demonstrated through her writing workshops with incarcerated youths and with Brooklyn High School students. She is currently a PhD student in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Purchase Nobody Is Ever Missing
The risks Elyria takes on her journey are paralleled by the risks Catherine Lacey takes on the page. In urgent, spiraling prose she whittles away at the rage within Elyria and exposes the very real, very knowable anxiety of the human condition. And yet somehow Lacey manages to poke fun at her unrelenting self-consciousness, her high-stakes search for the dark heart of the self. In the spirit of Haruki Murakami and Amelia Gray, “Nobody Is Ever Missing” is full of mordant humor and uncanny insights, as Elyria waffles between obsession and numbness in the face of love, loss, danger, and self-knowledge.
Catherine Lacey’s short fiction and essays have been published widely. She was named a Granta New Voice in 2014, awarded an Artist’s Fellowship from NYFA in 2012, and has taught in the Creative Writing Program at Columbia University. Her second novel and first short story collection are forthcoming from FSG and abroad.