Litstack Recs: Two New Titles from WTAW Press & Us

by Lauren Alwan

Two New Titles from WTAW Press

Northern California’s newest independent press has just released its 2018 titles: Unnatural Habitats and Other Stories, a debut collection by Angela Mitchell, and Hungry Ghost Theater:  A Novel, by Sarah Stone.

From the publisher:

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Unnatural Habitats and Other Stories, by Angela Mitchell

This collection of seven connected stories set in the Ozarks explores the relationships between people and place and the changing culture of rural America where now, with a growing crime culture, characters are forced to reevaluate their sense of right and wrong.

Praise for Unnatural Habitats

Don’t start any of the stories in Unnatural Habitats if you’re in a hurry, because once you’ve read that first sentence, you will be hooked and unable to do anything else until you get to the end. This is an exciting debut by a young writer with loads of talent and plenty of heart. Highly recommended.

Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

The stories in Unnatural Habitats remind us that mistakes never look like mistakes, in the moments we make them. These characters do whatever they think they need to win or simply survive, only sometimes stepping back to see how decisions echo down through years and even generations. Angela Mitchell pulls off the wizardry of inviting the reader to look deeply inside people who would often prefer not to look closely at themselves, afraid of what they might see. These characters and stories will stick with me.

Caitlin Horrocks, author of This Is Not Your City

Angela Mitchell’s stories have appeared in Colorado Review, New South, Carve, Midwestern Gothic, storySouth, Natural Bridge, and many other journals. Her story, “Animal Lovers,” was awarded Colorado Review’s Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction, received special mention in The Pushcart Prize XXXV, and was noted as a distinguished story in the inaugural issue of New Stories from the Midwest. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and is the director of the St. Louis Writers Workshop. An eighth generation native of southern Missouri, she maintains a small farm on her family’s land, and resides in St. Louis with her husband and sons. UNNATURAL HABITATS is her first book.

Read an the Necessary Fiction interview with Angela Mitchell here.


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A loving, dysfunctional half-Jewish family of performers, scientists, and activists long to wake up the world but must first rescue each other from their own addictions and compulsions, with a little help (and sometimes hindrance) from the occasional ghost or god.

Praise for Hungry Ghost Theater

With her laser intelligence and gorgeous prose style, Sarah Stone has written a thrilling hybrid of a novel about the intricacies of family life and the inevitable handing down from one generation to the next of our deepest passions and pathologies. Set around the world—and in the next one—this book is both marvelously inventive and deeply humane. I loved it.

Ann Packer, author of The Children’s Crusade

Sarah Stone traces out the quirky, fateful dramas of one family, while having the visionary originality to take the longest possible view of human action. I found this an unforgettable book, astute, vivid, and stubbornly ambitious in its scope.

Joan Silber, author of Improvement

Sarah Stone ’s novel The True Sources of the Nile (Doubleday/Anchor) has been taught in courses on literature, ethics, and the rhetoric of human rights. It was a BookSense 76 selection and has been translated into German and Dutch. She’s the co-author, with her spouse and writing partner Ron Nyren, of the textbook Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Ploughshares; StoryQuarterly; The Believer; The Millions; The Writer’s Chronicle; and A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft, among other places. She teaches creative writing for Stanford Continuing Studies and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

Read an interview with Sarah Stone at The Millions.

Read the 2016  Litchat interview with WTAW Director Peg Alford Pursell here.

—Lauren Alwan

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