Monday 11/9, 6 pm (register via Crowdcast here)
About Hallelujah Station:
M. Randal O’Wain’s debut short story collection, Hallelujah Station and Other Stories, introduces readers to a wide and diverse cast of characters struggling with and responding to changes and loss. These gritty and poignant stories follow the tragic parts of life, the pieces that may neither start nor end in comfortable resolution and the pieces that make up complex realities. In the first story, a former drug dealer reflects on a life-changing decision he made years ago that ended up hurting the person he most wanted to protect. Later in the collection, we meet a would-be robber who turns out, in strange ways, to be the hero. O’Wain’s characters are often deeply flawed or totally lost, but in each instance, these traits serve to reveal the characters as real, compassionate, and, ultimately, human. Sprinkled with humor and heartache, O’Wain’s stories bring us into contact with the curious, the tragic, and the authentic.
This collection takes us to a forgotten corner of the rural South, full of cemeteries, soybean fields, fishing holes, and Duck Thru gas stations. We meet a runaway teen, a mattress salesman, feral kittens, an elderly bachelorette wearing a horsehair locket, and a little girl named after Shania Twain. Here, time and memory circle above Phillips’ characters like vultures and angels, as they navigate the only landscape they’ve ever known. Corn reaches for rain, deer run blindly, and no matter how hungry or hurt, some forgotten hymn is always remembered. “The literary love child of Carson McCullers and John the Baptist, Ashleigh Bryant Phillips’ imagination is profoundly original and private," writes Rebecca Lee. Sleepovers marks the debut of a fearless new voice in fiction.
M. Randal O'Wain is the author of Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working Class South and the story collection Hallelujah Station. He teaches creative writing at UNC Chapel Hill.
Ashleigh Bryant Phillips is from Woodland, North Carolina. Her debut collection, Sleepovers, won the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize. Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The Oxford American, and elsewhere.
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