Manuscripts

In 1911, 12 Black men were delivered to the forest in rural Maryland and began building their new residence, the State Hospital for the Negro Insane. During its near century of existence, the hospital (re-named Crownsville) held patients in prisonlike conditions without offering them adequate medical attention, food, space or safety. In Madness: Race and
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Anita Kelly dedicates their latest rom-com, How You Get the Girl, to “every queer and trans person in Tennessee. Your joy will outlive the cruelty of your government.” A teen librarian by day, Kelly knows intimately how remarkable educators can make all the difference in the world. Julie Parker is enjoying her first season as
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In Olivia Dade’s witty and warm new romance, At First Spite, the incredibly named town of Harlot’s Bay in coastal Maryland is the perfect place to start over. That’s good because jilted, 37-year-old Athena Greydon has two graduate degrees, no job and nowhere else to go. Even before her broken engagement to man-child Dr. Johnny
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Behind You Is the Sea, Susan Muaddi Darraj’s debut novel, brings readers into the lives of three Palestinian families in and around Baltimore: the Salamehs, the Baladis and the Ammars. Generational disputes form the core of the novel’s action, which unfolds through weddings, graduations, unplanned pregnancies and funerals. Women’s issues are also at the fore,
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Almost from the moment it docked in Mobile Bay, Alabama, much has been written about the Clotilda, the schooner that brought 110 captive Africans to the U.S. in 1860, more than five decades after the slave trade had been outlawed. The illegal voyage was conducted with stealth, but the arrival of the ship was an
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If you asked romance author Tia Williams what her favorite genre is, you might be surprised to learn it is horror. In fact, she once took a yearlong class on Dracula, taking an interest in the mythology of immortality and the fearsome, seductive title character. Williams chuckles as she says, “I’d love to write [a
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Kacen Callender dedicates their first foray into young adult fantasy, Infinity Alchemist, to “the younger me who always wanted to write a YA fantasy.” While this might make one imagine a teenage Callender dreaming of a future as an author, Callender explains it is actually in reference to their early days of their career, when
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As a 19-year-old undergraduate, Antonia Hylton read an academic paper that mentioned Crownsville State Hospital, known at its founding as the Hospital for the Negro Insane. That reference triggered an obsession with the hospital’s bleak history that has carried her through the 10 years it took to produce Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim
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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles As the days become shorter, there’s nothing more comforting than immersing myself in a sweeping historical novel—the bigger, the better! When my book club recently voted to read Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow (Penguin, $18, 9780143110439), I welcomed the opportunity to escape nightly into the grand halls
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Steph Auteri is a journalist who has written for the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Pacific Standard, VICE, and elsewhere. Her more creative work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, under the gum tree, Poets & Writers, and other publications, and she is the Essays Editor for Hippocampus Magazine. Her essay, “The Fear That Lives Next to
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Kendra Winchester is a Contributing Editor for Book Riot where she writes about audiobooks and disability literature. She is also the Founder of Read Appalachia, which celebrates Appalachian literature and writing. Previously, Kendra co-founded and served as Executive Director for Reading Women, a podcast that gained an international following over its six-season run. In her
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Welcome to Today in Books, where we report on literary headlines at the intersection of politics, culture, media, and more. And the Nominees Are… Award season rolls on with the recently revealed longlist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The ten nominees range from commercial hits (Emma Cline’s The Guest) to critical darlings (Catherine Lacey’s Biography of X)
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Danger, intrigue and a hell of a lot of blood are splashed across the pages of Carissa Broadbent’s gripping fantasy romance, The Serpent & the Wings of the Night. The first entry in Broadbent’s Crowns of Nyaxia duology, The Serpent & the Wings of the Night grants more nuance than usual to vampires, casting them
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Tom Straw—the writer behind the bestselling real-life versions of TV character Richard Castle’s mystery novels—is kicking off a thrilling new espionage series with The Accidental Joe. Rockstar chef Sebastian Pike’s cooking travel show is the perfect cover for a covert CIA mission, even if Sebastian himself is less than thrilled with the idea. At least
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Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until
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Laura Sackton is a queer book nerd and freelance writer, known on the internet for loving winter, despising summer, and going overboard with extravagant baking projects. In addition to her work at Book Riot, she reviews for BookPage and AudioFile, and writes a weekly newsletter, Books & Bakes, celebrating queer lit and tasty treats. You
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Julia is a professional nerd who can be spotted in the wild lounging with books in the park in Brooklyn, NY. She has a BA in International Studies from the University of Chicago and an MA in Media Studies from Pratt Institute. She loves fandom, theater, cheese, and Edith Piaf. Find her at juliarittenberg.com. View
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Happy Singh Soni is not, well, happy: He is longing for more. And, given his condition at the outset of Celina Baljeet Basra’s debut novel, why wouldn’t he be? His home, a Punjabi farming village that is being steadily encroached upon by an expanding theme park, is no place for a young man with ambition—of
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After decades of being a largely underserved area of scientific study, fungi are finally having their moment. The phenomenon feels not unlike the overnight appearance of a mushroom; all it took were the right conditions for the right fruiting body. The conditions: a reading public amid COVID-19 lockdown in spring 2020, aching for connection. The
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Michael Cunningham has used three timelines to great effect in his novels Specimen Days and The Hours, his acclaimed homage to Mrs. Dalloway. He does so once again in Day, which follows a Brooklyn family on the same April day over three years: 2019, 2020 and 2021. As Day opens, Isabel and Dan, in early
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As long as piracy has existed, it has been shrouded in myth, legend and rumor, which compromises the reliability of primary texts describing its major figures. Author Katherine Howe tackles this historical pitfall in her newest novel, A True Account. Hannah Masury, nicknamed “Hannah Misery” by the clientele at the waterfront inn where she works
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Author Ying Chang Compestine mixes a smart, clever heroine into her own take on the Rapunzel story, inspired by Chinese culture and food as well as Compestine’s own childhood. In a world of myriad fairy-tale retellings, Ra Pu Zel and the Stinky Tofu stands out as delightful, energetic and unique: a fairy tale you will
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