by Mollie Weisenfeld
Highlighted here are books publishing in the latter half of the year. We’ve already seen publishing change in the face of the pandemic, and as a publishing professional, I would like to take a moment and say: If any of these titles look interesting to you, such that you think, “Oh, I might read that when it comes out!” please pre-order it now. My industry is in the midst of a printer crunch and we need to plan far ahead in order to print enough books so that everyone who wants to read can get one. Higher pre-orders demonstrate more interest, and focus a publisher’s attention on that title (sad, but true). So please, set yourself up for a little gift in the mail (#SavetheUSPS, and please request your absentee ballots early!), and pre-order these fantastic Bloomers.
Lysley Tenorio was born in 1972 in Olongapo City, Philippines and grew up in San Diego, CA. He did not begin to write until his senior year of college, when he discovered that through fiction he could grapple with issues that were important to him, like the Filippino-American immigrant experience. He has received fellowships from The Whiting Foundation, Stanford University, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and the NEA, among others. His stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Zoetrope, and Ploughshares, and have been adapted for theatre by The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Ma-Yi Theater in New York City. Tenorio lives in San Francisco and teaches at Saint Mary’s College of California.
Tenorio’s first book was published by Ecco in 2012, when he was 40 years old. Monstress is a collection of 8 short stories about Filippino-Americans, and Tenorio strives to write ordinary life stories rather than ones that seek to encapsulate the entirety of a community. Another Ecco publication, his second book, The Son of Good Fortune was described as “an affecting portrayal of just how potently a parent can shape the expectations of her child” by The New York Times. It follows Excel, an undocumented young Filippino man learning to move through the US and find a place even without legal “roots.”
David Heska Wanbli Weiden made his age nigh-impossible to find online, but in an interview with the LA Review of Bookshe describes himself as a “middle-aged writer.” He grew up in the Swansea/Elyria neighborhood of Denver, CO before moving to Aurora. His family was poor and his parents divorced when he was young. An enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation, Weiden is a first-generation college graduate and received his MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, his JD from the University of Denver, and his PhD in political science from UT. In 2001, Weiden left Colorado to teach at Hofstra University in New York, but returned in 2013. He is an associate professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Weiden has been a resident of Tin House, the MacDowell Colony, and more; in 2018, he received the PEN American Writing for Justice Fellowship . He is the fiction editor for Anomaly and teaches writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. His work has been published in Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, and others. Weiden donates his time and legal skills to the Denver Indian Family Resource Center, which supports and protects Native families in the child welfare system.
His first book was published in 2019 by Reycraft and won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. Spotted Tail is a middle grade biography of the Lakota leader who fought the US government and then negotiated on behalf of the Lakota. His first novel, Winter Counts , was published on August 25th by Ecco. It is a crime thriller that follows vigilante Virgil Wounded Horse as he tracks down a murderer from the Rosebud Indian Reservation, which leads to a connection with drug cartels expanding into Denver and a reckoning with Virgil’s own Native identity. The Washington Post declares, Winter Counts “hits the sweet spot between gritty thriller and social novel.”
Roberto Lovato was born in San Francisco in 1963 to Salvadoran immigrants and was raised in the Mission District. He is an educator and journalist based at The Writers Grotto, a community of working writers and narrative artists who support each other while creating. A journalist by trade, Lovato is a contributor to The Nation and his work has appeared in The Guardian, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Der Spiegel, Al-Jazeera, Mother Jones, Salon, and more. Prior to his writing career, Lovato was the Executive Director of CARECEN, the largest immigrant rights organization in the US. He was a cofounder of the first Central American Studies program in the US at Cal State Northridge, cofounder of Presente.org, and cofounder of #DignidadLiteraria, the activist organization that advocates for more Latinx stories and Latinx people in publishing.
Lovato’s memoir Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americaswas published by Harper on September 1st, when he was 57 years old. The narrative traces the author’s childhood growing up in San Francisco as MS-13 and other gangs began to take hold, the violence he endured, and his own rebellion as a young man, joining the guerilla movement in El Salvador. It also examines his relationship with his father, who grew up in Salvadoran countryside in poverty during a period of extreme violence, and whose own trauma was reflected in how he interacted with his son. Publishers Weekly calls it “an intimate, gripping portrait of El Salvador’s agony.”
Jenny Bhatt was born in Rajkot, Gujarat, India in 1975. She graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with an engineering degree. Bhatt worked in the engineering sector until 2008, when she transitioned into pricing and strategy consulting. From 2012 – 2014 she founded and ran Storyacious, an online arts and literary magazine. She is now a full-time translator, writer, and literary critic. Bhatt lives in Dallas, TX, teaches at Writing Workshops Dallas, and runs the Desi Books podcast. Her writing has been published in The Washington Post, LitHub, The Atlantic, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best American Short Stories series.
Bhatt has two projects publishing this year. The first is a short story collection, out today, September 8th, titled Each of Us Killers, from 7.13 Books. Featuring multiple locations, including the US, England, and India, Bhatt writes about people striving—and not always succeeding—to achieve their dreams through their jobs. Kirkus Reviews notes the book is “a formally diverse collection with exquisitely crafted stories about longing, striving, and learning what we can control.”
Her second title is a work of translation from HarperCollins India, out in December. Ratno Dholi: Dhumketu’s Greatest Short Stories, is a book of short stories from the Guajarati writer.
Rebecca Roanhorse was born in 1971 in Conway, AR and was raised in Forth Worth, TX. A Yale graduate, she lived for a time in the Navajo Nation, clerking at the Navajo Supreme Court and now practices law. She herself is Black and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. Roanhorse has been awarded the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Astounding Award for Best New Writer.
Roanhorse has published prolifically, releasing two books in the Sixth World series: Trail of Lightning and Storm of Locusts. The first was published when she was 48 years old. She has also published Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, middle grade novel Race to the Sun, and will be releasing Black Sun on October 13th, from Gallery/Saga Press—the first fantasy novel in the Between Earth and Sky series. The book earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Black Sun follows Serapio, a young blind man, and Xiala, the captain of the ship on which Serapio has booked passage. They travel towards the holy city of Tova as the winter solstice is set to coincide with a solar eclipse.
Mollie Weisenfeld is an Assistant Editor at Hachette Books. Her essay is forthcoming from december magazine. She has been published in Folio, Lilith, Guildscript, and Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things. Visit her Facebook @MollieWeisenfeldAuthor for updates on her mocha addiction, worldwide quest for the perfect writing café, and attempts to write everything except the next Great American Novel. Also Twitter @TheMollieJean
homepage image via flickr