Featured Books

With your registration to Conversations and Connections, you can select one of our four featured books. Each of the authors will be on hand during the conference, participating in our author reading and QA. Below is a brief summary of each book. 


How to sit, by Tyrese Coleman

A recent quote from author Jill Talbot perfectly describes the essence of How to Sit. She wrote, "I do not consider my memory to be fact. And I do not consider it fiction. When I write, I romp in the in-between." This collection, a memoir when viewed in its entirety, plays with the line between fiction and nonfiction, forcing you to pull up a chair and have a seat inside that in-between. How to Sit explores adolescence, identity, grief, and the transition between girlhood and womanhood for a young black woman seeking to ground herself when all she wants is to pretend her world is fantasy. This collection of stories and memoir is intended to make you wonder what is and what isn't true, and whether or not that matters. How to Sit forces you to interact with reality, no matter how it is represented, and examine how these perceived truths of fiction and nonfiction speak to one another within the same space. 


Harbors, by Donald Quist

“Mastering narrative like other transnational writers such as Díaz and Jhumpa Lahiri, Quist captures coming-of-age dilemmas and family dramas with finesse. Yes, there are countless other essays, short stories, and poems out there currently examining the borderlands of human existence and racial identity. But readers should flock to Quist because he illustrates that being a decent human being isn’t simple or easy. Quist articulates not only his geographical, ethnic, and class complexities well, but explores the grey spaces in between with delicacy and verve.”

– Celeste Doaks, The Millions


year 14, by Michael Konik

The narrator of Year 14 was a young man when a revolution changed his homeland forever—a new regime, a new calendar, a new flag, a new anthem and new money. Thirteen years later he has a comfortable job as an editor for the state-sanctioned newspaper, a loving wife, and an unswerving belief in the benevolence of his country’s Caring Leaders. But when a new Information Gatherer is assigned to the newsroom—a peculiar man-child named Tup-Tup, the son of an important government minister—he’s forced to face the truth about his sacred homeland.

Year 14 is a comedy, a tragedy, and a cautionary tale. By turns frightening and absurdly funny, this timeless novel offers a hopeful, if hard-won, affirmation of humanity’s indomitable spirit.


Whatever Statis, by Chris Tonelli 

"With precise statement and chiseled lines, Chris Tonelli's microtonal music speaks volumes. Whatever Stasis is a stunner as each poem unfolds syllable by syllable to depict an abstract interiority with lived reality."

Peter Gizzi, author of Archeophonics

“This is actually the kind of poetry I love best - spare, philosophical, a bit funny, meditative, questioning. I feel like I could read each of these poems at any time on any given day and they would ring true in my mind, somewhere down deep inside.”

-- Barrelhouse Poetry Editor Dan Brady