Join us to celebrate the launch of two debut short story collections. Ra’Niqua Lee’s For What Ails You is a flash collection about Black femmes and new conjure women who take MARTA and battle a multiverse of woes, racism, and generational trauma. Two events that forever shape Muscadine, Georgia, tie together the stories in Monic Ductan's collection, Daughters of Muscadine: the 1920s lynching of Ida Pearl Crawley and the 1980s drowning of a high school basketball player, Lucy Boudreaux. This free event will take place in the Fourth Floor of Decatur Library.
*Please note: Eventbrite is limiting the number of free tickets we can make available, so tickets are not required for this event. Please come even if it's "sold out," and feel free to call if you're worried about space. Stay tuned for updates on the Georgia Center for the Book ticketing.
Monic Ductan teaches literature and creative writing at Tennessee Tech University. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Oxford American, Good River Review, Southeast Review, Shenandoah, Appalachian Heritage, and South Carolina Review. Her essay "Fantasy Worlds" was listed as notable in The Best American Essays 2019.
Praise for Daughters of Muscadine:
Monic Ductan's debut collection offers storytelling that's rare these days, forgoing lurid, livid drama for tales about quieter yet deeply meaningful lives. The key characters we meet across several generations all have connections to the same small, north Georgia hometown, bound by blood or circumstance. Yet each of their stories is uniquely satisfying. This unforgettable collection is among the most authentic, heartfelt fiction I've read in a long time, stories akin to Alice Walker's "Everyday Use."
~Martin Lammon, Fuller E. Callaway endowed Flannery O'Connor Chair in Creative Writing at Georgia College (1997-2018), author of News from Where I Live and The Long Road Home
Daughters of Muscadine is a lovely debut from a talented writer with an unwavering eye and ear for small town Black life. The smart and observant girls and women in this linked collection are magnificently portrayed by a writer with a sure hand for the nuances of place, race, and belonging. These stories are tender and precisely imagined, a great promise of what is to come from Monic Ductan.
~Crystal Wilkinson, Kentucky poet laureate and author of The Birds of Opulence
A place never explains itself: its histories and rhythms are in its people, the land, in the stories and the spaces in between. The linked stories in Daughters of Muscadine vibrate with the longings of daughters and sons, sisters and lovers, parents and legends, and those whose escapes confound. In assured and graceful prose, Monic Ductan weaves a tapestry of human nature over time—with a seer's insight into the human heart.
~Anne Sanow, author of Triple Time
About Daughters of Muscadine:
Two events tie together the nine stories in Monic Ductan's gorgeous debut: the 1920s lynching of Ida Pearl Crawley and the 1980s drowning of a high school basketball player, Lucy Boudreaux. Both forever shape the people and the place of Muscadine, Georgia, in the foothills of Appalachia. The daughters of Muscadine are Black southern women who are, at times, outcasts due to their race and are also estranged from those they love. A remorseful woman tries to connect with the child she gave up for adoption; another, immersed in loneliness, attempts to connect with a violent felon. Two sisters love each other deeply even when they cannot understand one another. A little girl witnessing her father's slow death realizes her own power and lack thereof. A single woman weathers the excitement―and rigors―of online dating. Covering the last one hundred years, these are stories of people whose voices have been suppressed and erased for too long: Black women, rural women, Appalachian women, and working-class women. Ductan presents the extraordinary nature of everyday lives in the tradition of Alice Walker, Deesha Philyaw, James McBride, and Dorothy Allison in an engaging, engrossing, and exciting new voice.
About Ra'Niqua Lee: Ra’Niqua Lee writes to share her particular visions of love and the South. She earned an MFA in fiction from Georgia State University in 2018, and she is currently at Emory pursuing a PhD in early African American literature with a focus on spatial and Black queer feminist theories. She is the managing editor for Southern Spaces and Atlanta Studies and an assistant fiction editor for Split Lip Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cream City Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, Indiana Review, Passages North, and the anthologies Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions 2023. She received support from New York State Summer Writers Institute. She was a 2022 Voodoonauts Fellow, a Kenyon Review and Tin House Summer Workshop participant, and a resident of Sundress Academy for the Arts’ Firefly Farmhouse. The Georgia Writers Association awarded her the 2021 John Lewis Writing Grant for fiction. Every word is in honor of her little sister, Nesha, who battled schizoaffective disorder until the very end. For her, always.
Praise For What Ails You:
South South South—Georgia South—South like OutKast’s ATLiens South—an Atlanta South, and Ra’Niqua Lee’s For What Ails You is Southern with the most unique voice, a distinct tongue where sinners are full of faith, and healers are sinners. Peach South. Lee’s flash fiction collection deluges heat, simmering in humidity where childhood nostalgia blends with motel rituals—crushes and cauldrons, candles and chains, tea and tears—a mango with a bite, and For What Ails You carves its way into a new style of supernatural Black femme storytelling, one which requires books to be pushed aside on the shelf—her words need their own space, so let’s make way and then follow along in awe. Playing witness to a strange charm, Lee leads us with an unparalleled literary cantor—entrancing and rhythmic, a beat and a beat, we nod our heads and turn to the next page.
—Shome Dasgupta, author of Histories of Memories
Ra’Niqua Lee writes with the skill of a well-paced breath in that, each word exhales and inhales at just the right beat. Each story has a distinct place within this book’s body knowing exactly when to give us a reprieve, or when to deny us the comfort of that reprieve to sit meditavely with Lee’s well-crafted discomforts, allowing us to question, and from that questioning? Growth. From What Ails You gifts us with so much style, so much exploration of traditional and nontraditional femininity and masculinity, with so much Blackness, so much Southerness, so much strangeness and leaving us–in the most exquisite way that a reader can be left–simply wanting more, and more, and more.
—Exodus Oktavia Brownlow, author of I’m Afraid That I Know Too Much About Myself Now, To Go Back To Who I Knew Before, And Oh Lord, Who Will I Be After I’ve Known All That I Can?
About For What Ails You:
A flash collection about Black femmes and new conjure women who take MARTA and battle a multiverse of woes, racism, and generational trauma. They have the water, the juice, and the juju, and they’re healing each other through the powers of food, prayer, sex, and other un/known medicinals.
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