Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Wednesday November 15th - Kelly Sather, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for her forthcoming powerhouse of a book, Small in Real Life.

Kelly Sather, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for her forthcoming powerhouse of a book, Small in Real Life. As a former entertainment lawyer, and screenwriter, Kelly has really captured the emotion, ambition, humanity, and conflict in her characters on their search for power, fame, love, and the possibility of and redemption. Kelly's writing is undeniably moving and sharp-- an easy read with so much to discuss-- the dark side of the quest for a better life.



ABOUT THE BOOK
Small in Real Life invokes the myth and melancholy of Southern California glamor, of starry-eyed women and men striving for their own Hollywood shimmer and the seamy undersides and luxurious mystique of the Golden State. Exiled to a Malibu rehab, an alcoholic paparazzo spies on his celebrity friend for an online tabloid. Down to her last dollar, a Hollywood hanger-on steals designer handbags from her dying friend’s bungalow. Blinded by grief, an LA judge atones after condescending to a failed actress on a date. When hunger for power, fame, and love betrays the senses, the characters in these nine stories must reckon with false choices and their search for belonging with the wrong people. Small in Real Life offers an insider’s view of California and the golden promises of possibility and redemption that have long made the West glitter.

ABOUT KELLY SATHER

Kelly Sather is the author of SMALL IN REAL LIFE (Oct. 2023), her debut short story collection, and winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, a book that evokes the myth and melancholy of Los Angeles. A former entertainment lawyer and screenwriter, she pulls back the curtain to reveal the power, desire, and illusions beneath the California Dream. Her work has appeared in Santa Monica Review, J Journal, Pembroke Magazine, PANK, and elsewhere. She grew up in L.A. and lives in Northern California.




“Kelly Sather is a clear-eyed observer. These stories remind the readers of the thrills and dangers of living, and that we are never far from the undercurrent of human emotions, both mysterious and meaningful.”
—Yiyun Li, author of The Book of Goose

2023 Drue Heinz Literature Prize Winner explores the seamy undersides and luxurious mystique of California

Pittsburgh, PA – Kelly Sather of Larkspur, CA is the 2023 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards for a collection of short stories. Sather's debut book, Small in Real Life, was selected by author Deesha Philyaw. The University of Pittsburgh Press will publish Small in Real Life on October 3, 2023.

“This compact but mighty collection explores both the heights and depths of the unsavory business of being human,” says Philyaw, National Book Award finalist and author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. “With exquisite, emotionally rich prose, every single story surprises and unsettles. Tenderness co-exists with terror, beauty alongside betrayal. Characters are at turns earnest and terrible as they grapple with longing, lust, grief, regret, and disappointment in these utterly original stories. The heart of this brilliant collection is chaos––the way the universe is chaotic, unpredictable, and simply dazzling.”

The stories in Small in Real Life invoke the myth and melancholy of Southern California glamour, of starry-eyed women and men striving for their own Hollywood shimmer no matter the consequences. Exiled to a Malibu rehab, an alcoholic paparazzi spies on his celebrity friend for an online tabloid. Down to her last dollar, a Hollywood hanger-on steals designer handbags from her dying friend’s bungalow. Blinded by grief, an LA judge atones after condescending to a failed actress on a date. When hunger for power, fame, and love betrays the senses, we must reckon with false choices and our human struggle to appear brighter to our beholders. Small in Real Life offers an insider’s view of California, and the golden promises of possibility and redemption that have long made the West glitter.

“I’m thrilled and honored Deesha Philyaw selected my story collection for the Drue Heinz Prize,” reflected Sather. “When I submitted the manuscript I imagined this step towards publishing, but to hear the good news, that my stories were selected by a writer I admire so much and my first book will be published this year, was tremendous. I’m grateful to Deesha Philyaw, Drue Heinz and University of Pittsburgh Press for their support of the short story.

Kelly Sather is a writer, former entertainment lawyer, and screenwriter. Her stories and reviews have appeared in Santa Monica Review, J Journal, Pembroke Magazine, PANK, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. She grew up in Los Angeles. and lives in Northern California.

In addition to publication by UPP, the Drue Heinz award also includes a cash prize of $15,000. Drue Heinz, who passed away in 2018, created the endowment for this accolade in 1981. Jane McCafferty is the managing editor for the Drue Heinz Prize.

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Small in Real Life by Kelly Sather, will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press with an on-sale date of October 3, 2023 · 150 pp · 6 x 9 · ISBN 9780822947998 · Cloth $24.00 · eBook available.




PRAISE

“Small in Real Life is a heart-piercing and haunting debut. Kelly Sather is a writer possessed of rare courage—the courage to render our darkest tendencies and the last flicker of light we are terrified to lose. Each of these gorgeous, unflinching stories is the shard of broken mirror, refracting pieces of our impossible lives, showing us what we’ve done and what we look like right now.”
—Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This


“This compact but mighty collection explores both the heights and depths of the unsavory business of being human. With exquisite, emotionally rich prose, every story surprises and unsettles. Tenderness coexists with terror, beauty alongside betrayal. Characters are at turns earnest and terrible as they grapple with longing, lust, grief, regret, and disappointment. The heart of this brilliant collection is chaos––the way the universe is chaotic, unpredictable, and simply dazzling.”

— Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies and finalist for the National Book Award


“In Kelly Sather’s phenomenal short story collection, she compresses the daily commotion of life into riveting moments of reckoning, whether earned or forced. Desire can obscure or illuminate, and in these compelling stories, Sather’s characters deal with the complications of wanting and existing in the world. Sentence by sentence, Small in Real Life is one of the best debuts I’ve ever read.”
—Michele Filgate, editor of What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About


“Reading this very brilliant debut feels like holding a live wire, receiving a kind of shock our current literature seldom gives. It’s a shock we need. Kelly Sather’s characters, seeking escape from unbearable lives, are canny, na├»ve, cruel, bewildered, sometimes a little despicable, always entirely human—and utterly indifferent to our sympathy. Small in Real Life has a rare wisdom, born of freedom from illusions most of the rest of us can’t bear to let go of. This is among the most impressive new books of fiction I have read in years.”

— Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness

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