“Tender and unsparing, They More Than Burned feels a little like finding love at the end of the world.” Lannie Stabile, Something Dead in Everything
“They More Than Burned is an incendiary archive: a collection of jagged memories that tumble and catch one another in the light, an unwinding a spool of film on fire. Whitehead narrates the fire of a burning world—Southern California wildfires, the burning of the Twin Towers, a house set ablaze and filmed—but the real fire in question throughout this book is the passion of this woman who, at sixteen, began to film a generation as it emerged in the shadow of these fires, a product of the gritty Southern California reality where parents are in prison, boys go from being anarchists to soldiers overnight, and going back to the beginning is painful because that’s when everyone was still alive. To bring their lost faces to light, she persists refusing to be dimmed by exploitative Hollywood bosses, sleazy post-me-too producers, addiction and its terrible consequences.
Southern California’s Gogol, Whitehead records the diary of not a madwoman, but a woman made mad. Watch as Whitehead burns it down, and rejoice at the power of her will and the power of her words.” – Katie Farris, author of Standing in the Forest of Being
“Darkness, shame, grief, lust, and anger never had it so good.” Barrett Warner, author of Why Is It So Hard to Kill You?
PRAISE FOR THE YEAR OF THE MONSTER
“The stories in The Year of the Monster are tender, truthful, fiery and finely wrought. Tara Stillions Whitehead has built a collection that leaves little doubt as to her range and mastery as a storyteller. This book could be studied at the level of language alone as her sentences are both elegant and exacting. The people who inhabit these stories have been through some things and there are no easy answers, but let this book serve as a short course in self-acceptance, grit, honesty, and survival. I’m in awe of Whitehead’s intelligence and heart, fully on display in these pages. I know she has many more books ahead of her. I can’t wait to read every one of them.” – Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works
“If you mix a cocktail of Octavia Butler, Mary Robison, and early Jayne Anne Phillips, you might get something approaching Tara Stillions Whitehead’s style. Yet her style is highly original and all her own: shape-shifting and subtle. Her language packs real power. The stories in The Year of the Monster deal with love and unlove, math and physics, deception, truth, and loss – – both personal and cultural. As they navigate life’s obstacles – both spiritual and societal — her characters show resilience and stamina even when darkness looms. ‘God and Laundry’ is one of the best short stories I’ve read in years. But read them all, every story – from cover to cover. The entire collection sparkles.” – Larry Fondation, Martyrs and Holymen
Events, & Readings
1.12.23 – Cloudburst Reading Series – 6pm @ The Downpour Wilkes-Barre, PA
3.9.23 – 10:35am – “Writing the Screen-Worthy Story,” panelist, AWP Conference and Book Fair Seattle, WA
3.10.23 – @12pm Book Signing – Unsolicited Press table – AWP Conference and Book Fair Seattle, WA
3.11.23 – 1:30pm – “Writing at 24 Frames Per Second,” moderator, AWP Conference and Book Fair Seattle, WA
3.27.23 – SUNY Adirondack – In person – 12:45pm – Author reading and Q&A – in person Queensbury, NY
April 2023 – San Diego Literary Festival – Featured Writer – Grossmont College
October 2023 – Berry College Author Reading Series Mount Berry, GA
PRAISE FOR BLOOD HISTORIES “Innocence lost—more likely stolen—as glitter vacuumed from a child’s open chest: Blood Histories functions, in part, as an experiment in confession, interrogating how we are educated and educate others into and out of existence. The speaker tells of the burdened blood of women, flowing with trauma and diseased with memory, how we are ‘genetically predisposed to self-destruct.’ There are lines in this collection that no one has written before—that, perhaps, no one has ever even thought but has only felt.” – Brenna Womer, author of honeypot and Atypical Cells of Undetermined Significance
Listed as a notable essay in the Best American Essays 2022 anthology edited by Alexander Chee, “The Mother Must Die and Other Lies Fairy Tales Told Me,” a hybrid essay about Anne Sexton, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Cinderella, and motherhood/addiction, published in the Gold Issue of Fairy Tale Review was also nominated for a 2022 Pushcart Prize!
Sincere thanks to the editors at Porcupine Literary Journal for nominating “A Lesson on Endings” for both a 2022 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net!