Kate Blackwell’s Highly Praised Short Story Collection Now Available in Paperback and E-Book

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Stories that probe the ordinary and reveal the unexpected

"Blackwell's stories are jewels, each polished and tweaked to perfection, characters vividly rendered and plots as tightly wound as watch springs.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

The twelve stories in Kate Blackwell’s debut collection, You Won’t Remember This, published to high praise by Southern Methodist University Press in 2007 and released in paperback and ebook by Bacon Press Books on May 1, 2015, illuminate the lives of men and women who appear as unremarkable as your next-door neighbor until their lives explode quietly on the page. Her wry, often darkly funny voice describes the repressed underside of a range of middle-class characters in the South. Blackwell’s focus is elemental—on marriage, birth, death, and the entanglements of love at all ages—but her gift is to shine a light on these universal situations with such lucidity, it is as if one had never seen them before.

In “My First Wedding,” a twelve-year-old girl attends her cousin’s Deep South nuptials, where she discovers both mystery and disillusionment and, in the end, finds she’s not immune to her family’s myth of romantic love.

In “Heartbeatland,” when a young woman’s husband dies suddenly, she refuses to sell his Jeep to an importuning gay neighbor. The more she clings to the Jeep—and to the memory of her beloved David—the more he becomes someone she doesn’t recognize.

In “Queen of the May,” a former belle looks for ways to assuage her loneliness in her large new house in the empty Carolina sandhills.

Blackwell began writing fiction after a career in journalism. At first she wrote stories in order to learn how to write novels, but the strategies of the short form proved a pleasure all their own. “Stories are more like poems than novels,” she says. “Besides, I fell in love with the challenge of the story: compressing a life into twenty pages, finding the right ending.”

She also sees the story as a particularly democratic form. “The modern short story isn’t just a short read versus a long one. Following the tradition that began with Chekhov, it’s become the literary voice of the individual, often the solitary, whose pain and fear go unheard”—like the protagonist in Olive Kittredge, for example, or the provincial characters in Alice Munro’s stories.

“I try for stories that allow us entry to the inner lives of people we wouldn’t otherwise know. What we find isn’t what we expect.” In this way, she believes, fiction “helps us develop the capacity for empathy, the willingness to probe under the surface, to inquire and understand rather than judge.”             

You Won’t Remember This
Kate Blackwell
List $12.99
Paperback: 232 pages
Bacon Press Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-9863060-1-3
List: $8.99

What People Are Saying
"Blackwell's stories are jewels, each polished and tweaked to perfection, characters vividly rendered and plots as tightly wound as watch springs.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

"Blackwell's collection of 12 stories may be one of the best books of the year.” – The Clarion Ledger

"You Won’t Remember This, the first book of short stories by Kate Blackwell, a Winston-Salem native, is one of the finest collections I’ve read, and, in my work, I am privileged to read many. Blackwell’s wisdom and subtlety are evident even in the title. By telling us we won’t remember, she ensures that we do. . . ." – Winston-Salem Journal

“. . . the kind of truth that fiction gets at best." – The Raleigh News & Observer

“Kate Blackwell has what Flannery O’Connor called ‘a talent for humanity.’ In each story, she looks at life with a direct gaze and writes in elegant, measured tones with beautiful, melancholy humor. The collection surely derives its honesty and power and music from the great Southern tradition—but in its sheer comprehension and passion, it is universal as well.” - Howard Norman, The Bird Artist

“Kate Blackwell is a wonderful and very perceptive writer who knows more about love, and more about loss, than most of us ever will. These stories about all sorts of Southern men and women are both funny and sad, and always subtly but deeply sympathetic.” - Alison Lurie, Foreign Affairs

“Throughout this fine first collection, there is a fascinating tension between limpid prose and incisive truth. Kate Blackwell tends to deal with secrets—an unfulfilled desire, a denied knowledge, a hidden love. She writes with especial power and insight about the parts of themselves women give up—or bury—when they marry.” - Joyce Johnson, Minor Characters

About the author
KATE BLACKWELL worked as a journalist and editor before turning full-time to fiction. Her first collection, YOU WON’T REMEMBER THIS, was published in hardback in 2007 by Southern Methodist University Press. Her stories have appeared in numerous journals, including Agni, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Carve, The Literary Review, The Greensboro Review, Sojourner, and So To Speak. She lives in Washington, DC. Learn more about Kate Blackwell at http://www.kateblackwell.com

Bacon Press Books is an independent publisher based in Washington, DC. Contact: editor(AT)baconpressbooks.com

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Michele Orwin

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