The D.C. region celebrates a rich literary history that bolsters a thriving literary present. Home to dozens of reading series and festivals, small presses, independent bookstores, and creative writing programs, the DMV nurtures a literary scene that is both home-grown and internationally reaching.
It’s little wonder so many famous and award-winning authors and writers take up residence in and around the District. So while you’re drawing up your summer reading list (which may be even more extensive than usual this year) why not dive into recent work from some of our local wordsmiths?
This list is not exhaustive, but offers a taste of something for everyone.
The Sleeping World, Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes
Fuentes is a master of elegant prose and her skill at weaving the delicacy of individual lives within the broader context of historical events is indeed a gift, one that shines through in her debut novel set against the turmoil of post-Franco Spain.
The Art of Dissolving, Donald Illich
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “poetry” person, you won’t be able to resist reading this collection in one sitting. Donald Illich’s sardonic humor carries you through his poems from line to line as the true weight of his words creeps up on you just when you’re least expecting it.
Beautiful & Full of Monsters, Courtney LeBlanc
For anyone who ever thought they would never emerge from the nightmare of a breakup, LeBlanc’s collection of poems is a testament that life, and love, goes on… you just might have to dig a little deeper to uncover the beauty beneath.
A Short History of Monsters, Jose Padua
With praise from Billy Collins, Padua’s first full-length collection is the 2019 Miller Williams Poetry Prize winner, and rightfully so. Inspired by the tradition and spirit of beat poets of the past, Padua paints a stark picture of the American Dream, interrupted.
First Cosmic Velocity, Zach Powers
In his debut novel, fiction writer Zach Powers blasts off with a beautiful and poignant imagining of two brothers’ very different lives set against a vivid backdrop of the space race, political intrigue and Cold War history.
Furious Gravity, Melissa Scholes Young
Known for her award-winning debut novel Flood, Melissa Scholes Young is an associate professor in literature at American University where she also edits the biannual “Grace and Gravity” series, a collection of works by women writers from D.C. Volume IX, Furious Gravity, which is available through a partnership between American University and Politics & Prose Bookstore.
Need a place to buy said books, read our story about supporting local bookstores.
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