This spring marks the debut from countless new writers brushing alongside writers already entrenched in well-established careers. In particular, this spring continues thrusting exciting—and notably diverse—publications; perhaps, most fittingly, many writers currently dominating the contemporary literary sphere are writers of color, women, LGBTQIA+ identifying people, among many others from backgrounds just as diverse and thrilling as the titles they are publishing. Here, I have compiled notable titles being published this spring, with a particular emphasis on writers whose works often get neglected by the mainstream bestsellers list, writers whose work markedly defy the quintessential “American” story or novel, and writers whose work who certainly deserve a spot on your TBR (To Be Read) list in the near future.
1. Call Me Zebra by Azareen van der Vliet Oloomi
Call Me Zebra is Oloomi’s second novel, riding off the success of her haunting debut, Fra Keeler. Released this February, Call Me Zebra follows the haunting love story shared between Ludo and Zebra, a woman who hails from a long line of erratic geniuses and anarchists, and who finds herself on the path of exile from New York City to Barcelona following the death of her father. makes no mistake describing Oloomi as a writer “on the verge of developing a whole new literature movement.” Oloomi’s writing is painfully conscious of the transience of life and living, while retaining a much-needed—and artfully crafted—hallucinogenic quality. Undoubtedly, Call Me Zebra is a testament to her craft—and it leaves no doubt why she was commended for the “5 Under 35 Award” from the National Book Award Foundation.
2. A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley
A recent graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, Brinkley’s A Lucky Man is his first published short story collection (though he is no rookie to the publishing realm, with stories appearing or forthcoming in Best American Stories 2018, Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, American Short Fiction, as well as a newly minted 2018-20 Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University). What readers will find in his forthcoming collection are stories about brotherhood, about relationships, about the cities that inhabit them, and, above all else, about “the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them.”
3. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay, remains particularly timely with the rise of #MeToo and Times Up. However, Gay’s collection—intended to detail accounts of sexual assault and harassment—will span from “the rape of refugees displaced by local crises to first-person accounts of child molestation” (The Guardian). Intended to capture how women are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronised, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” once they speak out against sexual assault, there is no doubt the forthcoming collection, helmed by critically acclaimed essayist, novelist, and professor Roxane Gay, will succeed in tackling this topic with much-needed nuance and grace.
4. The Pisces by Melissa Broder
To end this list on a lighter note, I included Melissa Broder’s forthcoming The Pisces: a bizarre, absurd romance shared between a Ph.D. grad student and a merman that washes on the LA shore. This stands as Broder’s debut novel, although you might recognize her name from her essay collection So Sad Today (a harrowing essay collection based on her Twitter account detailing her anxiety disorder) and her poetry collection Last Sext. Given Broder’s ability to weave between humor and clarity and distinctive storytelling style, surely Broder’s The Pisces won’t disappoint.