More than 130 adult and children’s authors and illustrators will be attending this year’s Winter Institute. Below are well-known and up-and-coming adult authors who will be signing at the conference.

Adult Fiction

Julia Alvarez

Afterlife: A Novel (Algonquin, Apr.; $25.95; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “In her first adult novel in almost 15 years, bestselling author Julia Alvarez gives us a luminous look inside the mind of a literature professor trying to rediscover who she is after the sudden death of her husband, even as a series of family and political jolts force her to ask what we owe those in crisis in our families, whether biological or the wider human family.”—Michael McKenzie, associate publisher, Algonquin

Opening: “Today, the magnet on her fridge proves prophetic: Even creatures of habit can sometimes be forgetful.”
Evening author reception

Jessica Anthony

Enter the Aardvark (Little, Brown, Mar.; $26; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “Enter the Aardvark is many things: a mystery, a ghost story, a love story, a political satire. It is also (and I find this especially thrilling) a subversive feminist text about men, delivering a clear and powerful indictment of patriarchy through a cast of male protagonists. It is a novel to be binge-read once for sheer entertainment and wit, and then savored a second time for its many layers of meaning.”—Jean Garnett, editor, Little, Brown

Opening: “—a whirling mass of vapors is unhinged, shooting through outer space for an infinity until it collides with an ellipsis which does not let go, and after another infinity, the vapors boil into fire clouds.”
Evening author reception

Annette Binder

The Vanishing Sky (Bloomsbury, June; $27; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “Annette’s novel takes place in Germany, in the final six months of WWII, and is told from the perspective of a German family. It’s based on Annette’s family—specifically her father’s time serving in the Hitler Youth. The result is a spellbinding novel about the daring choices we make for country and for family, the irreparable damage of war on the home front, and one family’s participation—involuntary, unseen, or direct—in a dangerous regime.”—Liese Mayer, adult fiction director, Bloomsbury

Opening: “It was worry that made her fat.”
Evening author reception

Cara Black

Three Hours in Paris (Soho Crime, Apr.; $27.95)

Why the buzz: “June, 1940. Occupied Paris. Kate Rees, a grieving American markswoman working with the British government, has come to the City of Light with a single objective: assassinate Adolf Hitler. After 19 books in her Aimée Leduc series, NYT bestseller Cara Black, the doyenne of the Parisian PI novel, has written a masterful historical spy novel, which is the first standalone of her 20-year career. This is Cara’s first Winter Institute appearance.”—Paul Oliver, v-p, director of marketing and publicity, Soho

Opening “Sacré-Coeur’s dome faded to a pale pearl in the light of dawn outside the fourth-story window.”
Evening author reception

Priyanka Champaneri

The City of Good Death (Restless, June; $27)

Why the buzz: “I love great, capacious, imaginative, voice-driven Indian novels, and I was thrilled when Restless elected one such debut as the winner of our third Prize for New Immigrant Writing: Priyanka Champaneri’s The City of Good Death. It’s set in a Varanasi ‘death hostel,’ where guests check in and hope to die within two weeks or lose their chance at a holy death. It’s a ghost story, a murder mystery, and an immense pleasure to read.”—Nathan Rostron, editor and marketing director, Restless

Opening: “When the boatmen found the body in the river, they should have thought nothing of it.”
Lunchtime author reception

Janet Skeslien Charles

The Paris Library (Atria, June; $28; 200,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “From the moment I met the aspiring librarian Odile, with Dewey decimal numbers swirling in her head, she had my book-lover’s heart. I eagerly followed her into the American Library in Nazi-occupied Paris and found a captivating story of courage and love.”—Trish Todd, v-p, executive editor, Atria

Opening: “Numbers floated round my head like stars.”
Evening author reception

Christina Clancy

The Second Home (St. Martin’s, June; $26.99; 200,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “I spent childhood summers on Cape Cod, but for me no novel has ever fully captured its magic and nostalgia—until The Second Home, with its vivid descriptions of an old Wellfleet saltbox and a trio of unforgettable siblings who quickly felt more real than my own. If you’ve ever loved a house like a member of your family, or had one summer change your life forever, The Second Home will feel like coming home.”—Sarah Cantin, executive editor, St. Martin’s

Opening: “Ann had never been to Wellfleet in February.”
Evening author reception

Julie Clark

The Last Flight (Sourcebooks Landmark, June; $26.99)

Why the buzz: “I could not get this addictive novel out of my head from the moment I started it. Julie Clark has written a blazingly smart story of two women, running from circumstance, who meet in an airport and make a split-second decision to trade plane tickets. The reverberations of this moment ripple in ways you won’t see coming, and the grit and strength of these two women gives real depth to a shatteringly twisty read.”—Shana Drehs, editorial director, Sourcebooks Landmark

Opening: “Terminal 4 swarms with people, the smell of wet wool and jet fuel thick around me.”
Evening author reception

Adeline Dieudonné

Real Life (World Editions, Feb.; $16.99 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “Adeline Dieudonné’s is a unique new voice that I am very proud to present to you. I fell in love with this debut even before the original version was published in France, where it became a bestseller right away. Dieudonné’s writing is extremely powerful, and it feels both fresh and alive. I love her dark humor, the evocative metaphors she uses, and the fearless way she writes about violence and sex. Her writing is something else.”—Judith Uyterlinde, publishing director, World Editions

Opening: “Our house had four bedrooms. There was mine, my little brother Sam’s room, that of my parents, and the one with the carcasses.”
Indies Introduce presentation

Kelli Jo Ford

Crooked Hallelujah (Grove, July; $26)

Why the buzz: “I was entranced by the tough and tender grandmother-mother-daughter bonds in Kelli Jo Ford’s achingly beautiful debut Crooked Hallelujah. The roads these strong, loyal mixed-blood Cherokee women travel both metaphorically, over four decades, and geographically, from Oklahoma’s Indian Country to Texas and back, moved me to tears. A citizen of the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma and winner of this year’s Plimpton Prize, Ford is an exceptionally heart-stirring and deeply talented young author.”—Elisabeth Schmitz, v-p, editorial director, Grove

Opening: “When Lula stepped into the yard, the stray cat Justine held took off so fast it scratched her and sent the porch swing sideways.” Evening author reception

Megan Giddings

Lakewood (Amistad, Mar.; $26.99)

Why the buzz: “Toni Cade Bambara remains one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t seen anyone who takes language, characters, sentences, and feminism as far as they can go until I encountered the prescient language of Lakewood’s heroine Lena Johnson. Megan Giddings’s debut novel tackles issues of womanhood, racism, regionalism, and classism, brilliantly and fearlessly.”—Patrik Henry Bass, senior editor, Amistad

Opening: “Lena’s grandmother’s final instructions were that the funeral should be scheduled for 11 a.m. but would start at 11:17 when everyone would be there and seated.”
Evening author reception

Paulette Jiles

Simon the Fiddler (Morrow, Apr.; $27.99; 250,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz:Paulette Jiles has a unique ability to capture history in a way that’s both tangible and compelling. Working on News of the World was a thrill because it’s not only an exquisitely crafted tale, but also a riveting story. It’s very rare for an author to follow up such a beloved and memorable work with another engrossing narrative, but Paulette has managed to do it. I can’t wait to share Simon the Fiddler with readers.”—Camille Collins, publicity manager, William Morrow

Opening: “Simon the fiddler had managed to evade the Confederate conscription men because he looked much younger than he was and he did everything he could to further that impression.”
Evening author reception

Fowzia Karimi

Above Us the Milky Way (Deep Vellum, Apr; $28)

Why the buzz: “We’re thrilled to bring Fowzia Karimi to Winter Institute for her gorgeous, illustrated autobiographical novel, Above Us the Milky Way. Karimi’s novel shares the immigrant experience of one Afghan-American family but is also, ultimately, an argument for empathy and hope that I can’t wait to share with booksellers. This release marks Deep Vellum’s first non-translated English-language original title and further cements our mission of bringing the world into conversation.”—Sara Balabanlilar, marketing and sales director, Deep Vellum

Opening: “The alphabet. A set of letters arranged in a particular order. A set of letters that combine endlessly to form words on the page.”
Lunchtime author reception

Lily King

Writers & Lovers (Grove, Mar.; $27; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “We are hugely excited to bring Lily King back to Winter Institute with her first novel since the award-winning Euphoria. Exuberant and wise, warm and witty, Writers & Lovers is the book King wished she had had to read as a young woman leaping netless into a creative life. A brilliant portrait of a young romantic’s life in freefall as she fights for the future of her dreams, 31-year-old Casey Peabody’s story is one early readers are inhaling in single breathless sittings.”—Elisabeth Schmitz, v-p, editorial director, Grove

Opening: “I have a pact with myself not to think about money in the morning.”

T.J. Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea (Forge, Mar.; $26.99; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “The House in the Cerulean Sea is so insightful, sweet, and enchanting. It’s about fighting the system and finding your family. And it has the most delightful magic, an adorable little Antichrist, and a were-Pomeranian.”—Ali Fisher, senior editor, Tor

Opening: “ ‘Oh dear,’ Linus Baker said, wiping the sweat from his brow. ‘This is most unusual.’ ”

Andrew Krivak

The Bear (Bellevue Literary, Feb.; $16.95 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “We were thrilled at the accolades Andrew’s debut novel, The Sojourn​, received, which included a National Book Award Finalist nomination. Nothing could be more gratifying than having him return to us with this gorgeous novel, his third. From the moment we released the ARCs, the response to it has been overwhelming, from our sales reps, booksellers, librarians, and critics. It is clearly a book for the present moment, on its way to becoming a contemporary classic.”​—Erika Goldman, publisher and editorial director, Bellevue Literary

Opening:​ “The last two were a girl and her father who lived along the old eastern range on the side of a mountain they called the mountain that stands alone.”
Evening author reception

Sam Lansky

Broken People (Hanover Square, June; $27.99; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “At its heart, Sam Lansky’s Broken People is about the things we all crave. Love. Acceptance. A freedom from the ghosts of our past. A peace within our own skin. I can’t remember the last time a debut novel affected me in such a visceral way. It’s Sally Rooney meets Garth Greenwell, but with a wholly original vision that will reframe how we think about the line between fiction and real life.”—John Glynn, senior editor, Hanover Square

Opening: “He fixes everything that’s wrong with you in three days.”
Lunchtime author reception

Carla Malden

Search Heartache (Rare Bird, Jan.; $26)

Why the buzz: “Like her father, Academy Award–winning actor Karl Malden, Carla Malden is an extraordinary force, and Search Heartache is far from being an exception to that momentum. I had seen her appear on Connie Martinson for her memoir, After Image: A Brokenhearted Memoir of a Charmed Life, a fiercely personal account of losing her first husband to cancer. And it’s been a remarkable process working with her on this transition to fiction.”—Jessica Szuszka, publicist, Rare Bird

Opening: “I must have been 12 years old when I first heard the joke.”
Lunchtime author reception

Becky Mandelbaum

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals (Simon & Schuster, Aug.; $26; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz:The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals hooked me from the first line with its declarative humor, immediacy, and dogs. So many dogs! Becky Mandelbaum is a dazzling and award-winning writer who manages to be hilarious and tender to her flawed characters as they struggle to bridge myriad divides—personal, familial, community, political. This book opened my eyes to a nuanced Kansas, and who doesn’t love a mother-daughter reconciliation story? Bring tissues.”—Marysue Rucci, v-p, editor-in-chief, Simon & Schuster

Opening: “It was midnight in Kansas, and the bigots were awake.”

Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations (Flatiron, Aug.; $26.99; 200,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “Migrations is the kind of novel I love best: an unforgettable, universal story that also speaks to our current moment. In addition to being a propulsive read, this is a love letter to the wild places and creatures threatened by our changing world. Few novels have addressed the climate crisis in a way that feels rooted in our recognizable reality rather than taking a dystopian approach, and Charlotte’s heartbreaking but never hopeless pages are galvanizing.”—Caroline Bleeke, senior editor, Flatiron

Opening: “The animals are dying. Soon we will be alone here.”

Ellen Meeropol

Her Sister’s Tattoo (Red Hen, Apr.; $17.95)

Why the buzz: “We fell in love with this novel—two sisters at a protest, one who ends up in jail. In this age of protests and of children separated from their parents, this gives us a story of redemption. When the sisters meet after a lifetime of struggle, prison and separation, there is an origami moment of peace that we can only wish for in America. You must read this book.”—Kate Gale, managing editor and cofounder of Red Hen Press

Opening: “The August air was charged with whiffs of marijuana and patchouli oil, the sulfur stench of asphalt softening in the heat, and the distant admonition of tear gas.”
Lunchtime author reception

Amy Meyerson

The Imperfects (Park Row, May; $27.99; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “The Imperfects is a captivating family story that follows three estranged siblings who unexpectedly inherit the Florentine Diamond, blending together a fast-paced comedy of manners and a powerful, masterfully-researched historical mystery inspired by the real diamond. Amy Meyerson proved she’s a bright new star with her bestselling debut The Bookshop of Yesterdays, and her talent is on dazzling display in The Imperfects, which will appeal to fans of Tara Conklin, Emma Straub, and Curtis Sittenfeld.”—Natalie Hallak, assistant editor, Park Row

Opening: “She keeps a journal to forget as much as to remember.”
Lunchtime author reception

Lisa Moore

Something for Everyone (Astoria, Feb.; $16.95 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “Internationally celebrated as one of literature’s most gifted stylists, Lisa Moore—the award-winning author of February and Caught—returns with a story collection that mirrors the unconventional, the sensual, the fractured, the anxious, and the funny of what it means to be human in the modern world. Something for Everyone stretches the boundaries of the short story—it is at once imaginative, compassionate, powerful, and wildly entertaining.”—Janie Yoon, associate publisher, House of Anansi

Opening: “‘Do you feel that?’ Steve asks. The customer, a leggy junior high school teacher, has just taken up running.”
Evening author reception

David Nicholls

Sweet Sorrow (Mariner, May; $16.99 trade paper; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “David Nicholls writes the smartest of all romantic novels—line by line, character by character, they draw us in and give us all hope that ‘sweet sorrow’ is a paradox that always resolves as ‘sweet.’ ”—Bruce Nichols, senior v-p, publisher, general interest, HMH

Opening: “The world would end at five to four, just after the disco.”
Lunchtime author reception

Kim Powers

Rules for Being Dead (Blair, May; $25.95)

Why the buzz: “I love the wicked humor and unexpected tenderness that memoirist and television writer Kim Powers brings to this small-town Texas novel. It reads like a combination of Siebold’s Lovely Bones and McMurtry’s Last Picture Show with a touch of Childress’s Crazy in Alabama. The young protagonist—clever, gay, and obsessed with movies—searches for the cause of his mother’s death, a mystery that parallels events in Powers’s own life. The results are intriguing and unpredictable.”—Robin Miura, senior editor, Blair

Opening: “The Ugly Dachshund is playing at the Ritz today but my little brother Corey and I didn’t get to see it, because yesterday was the day our mother died.”
Lunchtime author reception

Zalika Reid-Benta

Frying Plantain (Astoria, Mar.; $16.95 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “A graduate of Columbia University’s prestigious MFA fiction program, Zalika Reid-Benta is the vibrant young author of Frying Plantain, a novel-in-stories that Booker Prize-winner Paul Beatty called ‘an unforgettable debut.’ Kara Davis is a Jamaican-Canadian girl struggling to navigate the old country and the new, the expectations of her mother and grandparents and her peers at school. Ultimately, it’s about one young girl trying to make her way into the world on her own terms.”—Janie Yoon, associate publisher, House of Anansi

Opening: “On my first visit to Jamaica I saw a pig's severed head."—from the story “Pig Head”
Evening author reception

Kelly Rimmer

Truths I Never Told You (Graydon House, Apr.; $16.99 trade paper; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “On the surface, Kelly Rimmer writes absorbingly about complicated families—dissecting the relationships between parent and child, siblings, husbands and wives. Yet what delights me with every one of her books is how subtly and brilliantly she’s actually exploring powerful social themes—in the case of her upcoming Truths I Never Told You, attitudes towards traditional gender roles and postpartum depression—and reminds us how shockingly little they’ve changed in the last 50 years.”—Susan Swinwood, editorial director, Graydon House

Opening: “I am alone in a crowded family these days, and that’s the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced.”

Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X (Celadon, Feb.; $26.99)

Why the buzz: “Saint X is one of the most accomplished debuts I have ever read, and it touches on so many important issues: race, family, identity. It is part thriller, part literary novel—utterly transcendent and utterly page-turning.”—Deb Futter, senior v-p and co-publisher, Celadon

Opening: “Begin with an aerial view. Slip beneath the clouds and there it is, that first glimpse of the archipelago—a moment, a vista, a spectacle of color so sudden and intense it delivers a feeling like plunging a cube of ice in warm water and watching it shatter.”
Indies Introduce presentation; evening author reception

Anna Solomon

The Book of V. (Holt, May; $27.99; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “As a working mom of three, I assume my life is very different from what Esther’s life in ancient Persia might have been like—and from what senator’s wives in D.C. 50 years ago were. But The Book of V. forced me to consider whether our lives as women are really so different then they were in biblical times. This novel represents the kind of fiction we’re proud to put out in the world.”—Serena Jones, executive editor, Henry Holt

Opening: “Close the book now.”
Lunchtime author reception

Sheree Renée Thomas

Nine Bar Blues​ (Third Man, Apr.; $14.95 trade paper; 10,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “Sheree Renée Thomas was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, where America’s id and ego have always negotiated coexistence. If America needs a hard look into the mirror to see our past, and future, look there. Thomas is the person, writer, and seer born of that. Her debut collection of short fiction, ​Nine Bar Blues, is the mirror. Hers is a voice that contains every person and that every person needs now more than ever.”—Chet Weise, editor-in-chief, Third Man

Opening:​ “In the beginning were the ancestors, gods of earth who breathed the air and walked in flesh.”
Evening author reception

Emma Jane Unsworth

Grown Ups (Scout, May; $27; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “If our collective obsession with Fleabag is any indication, the appetite for stories about flawed, self-destructive women shows no sign of slowing, perhaps because they provide a much-needed counternarrative to those filtered, shiny, perfect lives we see on social media. I found myself nodding with recognition on nearly every page of this book—the good, the bad and the ugly—and laugh-cried all the way to the end.”—Alison Callahan, v-p, executive editor, Scout

Opening: “I sit and wait for her, my feet swinging under the bench. She’ll come soon, and she’ll know where.”
Lunchtime author reception

Kawai Strong Washburn

Sharks in the Time of Saviors (MCD, Mar.; $27; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “The thrill of reading Sharks for me was the sense that I had just never read anything like this before. The comparisons I kept reaching for—Gabriel García Márquez, Lois Ann Yamanaka, Tommy Orange—only worked in that their novels feel exhilaratingly unexpected and that you’re in the hands of a storyteller who is going to take care of you. Maybe I didn’t know what was going to happen from page to page, but Kawai did.”—Sean McDonald, v-p, executive editor, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Opening: “When I close my eyes we’re all still alive and it becomes obvious then what the gods want from us.”
Lunchtime author reception

Robin Wasserman

Mother Daughter Widow Wife (Scribner, June; $27; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “I have a very clear memory of my first read on Robin Wasserman’s Mother Daughter Widow Wife. I remember feeling excited by Robin’s muscle as a writer, by the level of control, the precision of the language, the complexity of the plotting, with multiple perspectives—and her ability to capture and keep my attention.”—Kathy Belden, v-p, executive editor, Scribner

Opening: “For all the obvious reasons, Lizzie preferred rats. Rats were adaptable and interchangeable, smart and cheap.”
Lunchtime author reception

Elizabeth Wetmore

Valentine (HarperCollins, Apr.; $26.99; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “Valentine is a novel about justice and power disguised as a gripping read about five women in West Texas. Though its moral center is unwavering, it’s never heavy-handed, and as many times as I’ve read this book, it’s moved me, angered me, and inspired me—all the things we look to great fiction to do.”—Emily Griffin, executive editor, HarperCollins

Opening: “Sunday morning begins out here in the oil patch, a few minutes before dawn, with a young roughneck stretched out and sleeping hard in his pickup truck.”
Evening author reception

Ian Williams

Reproduction (Europa, Apr., $18 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “Reproduction (which just won the Giller Prize, a remarkable achievement for a debut) is a big novel with a big heart, a book about family, race, community, illness, inheritance, living, and loving. It’s the kind of novel that feels necessary right now. I think independent booksellers will adore Ian and the way he talks about his work and his characters.”—Michael Reynolds, editor in chief, Europa

Opening: “Both of their mothers were dying in the background.”
Lunchtime author reception

Karen Tei Yamashita

Sansei & Sensibility: Stories (Coffee House, May; $16.95 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “Karen is a quintessential Coffee House author: artistically adventurous, politically bold, and best of all, just plain fun to read. Here she transports Jane Austen’s novels to the Japanese-American communities of post-internment California, recasting those classics’ themes of empire, class, familial duty, and romance through her own lively imagination and inimitable wit. Booksellers are the greatest champions of Karen’s work, and we expect this book will help them introduce her to a broad audience of new readers.”—Daley Farr, publicist, Coffee House

Opening: “In their house, they often say that Mother has a special fascination for the bath.”
Lunchtime author reception

An Yu

Braised Pork (Grove, $23; $25)

Why the buzz: “An Yu is a marvel, and I’m glad the Indies Introduce committee agreed! At the age of 26 and in her second language, she has written one of the most extraordinary debut novels I’ve ever read. A dreamlike tale of a woman’s quest for meaning, and an incandescent portrait of an affluent metropolitan China we rarely see in the West, Braised Pork has an atmosphere and timbre all its own.”—Peter Blackstock, senior editor, Grove

Opening: “The orange scarf slid from Jia Jia’s shoulder and dropped into the bath.”
Indies Introduce presentation

C. Pam Zhang

How Much of These Hills Is Gold (Riverhead, Apr.; $26; 50,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “How Much of These Hills Is Gold takes a section of America’s history that we think we know and invites us to experience it in different light. Pam masterfully blends Chinese symbolism with this history to give us an astonishing survival story that intimately examines family, identity, and the meaning of home. Beloved authors like Garth Greenwell, Chigozie Obioma, and Lauren Groff have called the book ‘ferocious’ and ‘exhilarating,’ and I couldn’t agree more.”—Glory Plata, publicist, Riverhead

Opening: “Ba dies in the night, prompting them to seek two silver dollars.”
Indies Introduce presentation

Laura Zigman

Separation Anxiety (Ecco, Mar.; $26.99)

Why the buzz: “I love this novel so much because Zigman has a way of using the lens of humor to take the reader deep into the cavern of human emotion—and before you know it, you realize that you’re in the hands of a novelist who is deeply attuned to the complexities of being a parent, a partner, a friend, a person. It’s a novel I hope readers will immediately crack open.”—Sonya Cheuse, senior director of publicity, Ecco

Opening: “I start wearing the family dog, a mini-sheltie, a little Lassie, in an unbleached cotton baby sling across the front of my body like a messenger bag, a few weeks shy of fall.”
Evening author reception

Adult Nonfiction

Kendra Atleework

Miracle Country: A Memoir (Algonquin, June; $27.95)

Why the buzz: “An extraordinary and utterly moving debut memoir, Miracle Country captures one family’s spirit and losses in a harsh landscape, and chronicles Atleework’s journey to realizing that there’s nowhere else in the country, no matter how green and welcoming, that feels like home. This is for fans of Rebecca Solnit, Terry Tempest Williams, Cheryl Strayed, and H Is for Hawk: readers hungry for raw emotional accounts of how nature can help us mourn, and ultimately, heal.”—Michael McKenzie, associate publisher, Algonquin

Opening:The valley lay dry that winter, and wind roared over the mountains.”
Evening author reception

Jazmina Barrera

On Lighthouses (Two Lines, May; $19.95)

Why the buzz: “I like my books delicate and wise, simultaneously expansive and particular. Jazmina Barrera’s English-language debut is all of these, and somehow, despite its brevity, absolutely towering, too. At the heart of On Lighthouses is the observation that lighthouses communicate, ‘first and foremost, that human beings are here.’ It’s a gripping insight, one that guides the writer’s deeply human, arts-fueled inquiry into her obsession with lighthouses, the meaning of collecting, and the undeniable allure of loneliness.”—Chad Felix, sales and marketing manager, Two Lines

Opening: “We arrive in Portland, Oregon, to stay with Willey, my aunt’s boyfriend.”
Lunchtime author reception

Michael Ian Black

A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son (Algonquin, May; $24.95; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz:Written in response to rising gun violence and building off of his New York Times op-ed, ‘The Boys Are Not All Right,’ Michael Ian Black’s A Better Man is a poignant look at manhood. Writing in the form of a heartfelt letter to his teenage son before he leaves for college, Black offers a radical plea for rethinking masculinity and teaching young men to give and receive love.”—Michael McKenzie, associate publisher, Algonquin

Opening: “Dear Elijah, If you ever want to feel useless, I recommend attending the birth of your child.”
Evening author reception

Evan Bloom

Eat Something: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews, coauthored with Rachel Levin (Chronicle, Mar.; $29.95)

Why the buzz: “We’re always excited to publish unique narrative in a cookbook. Eat Something is, broadly, a Jewish humor cookbook, containing reflections on culture and shared experiences, with recipes for all the delicious, beloved Jewish foods. More so, in these fractious times, it’s a book about how diverse cultures come together and coexist: traditional deli with Bay Area fresh ingredients and Korean-inflected latkes, a deli full of people of every stripe and type digging into the food.”—Sarah Billingsley, executive editor, food and lifestyle, Chronicle

Opening: “I’m at Wise Sons Deli, in San Francisco’s Mission District, slurping a bowl of matzo ball soup while the owners give me a convincing spiel about a book that doesn’t exist yet—but should.”
Evening author reception

Betsy Bonner

The Book of Atlantis Black (Tin House, Aug.; $26.95)

Why the buzz: “I don’t want to sound like marketing copy, but this book is propulsive. It needs to be read in a sitting. And though it’s true crime and memoir, it feels bigger than both. It’s a profound exploration of mental illness, mothers and daughters, sisters, and dreams both found and lost. I promise you’ll shake your head the whole time reading this book, asking yourself, ‘Could this really be true?!’ ”—Nanci McCloskey, director of sales and marketing, Tin House

Opening: ”On June 25, 2008, a young woman with my sister’s IDs was found dead on the floor of a hotel room in Tijuana.”
Lunchtime author reception

François S. Clemmons

Officer Clemmons: A Memoir (Catapult, May; $26)

Why the buzz: “Officer Clemmons will remind readers across generations of the impact one person’s life can have on millions of people, of how powerful art can be as a catalyst to a remarkable and seemingly unlikely life, of the love and nostalgia for the award-winning television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and finally, that it is never too late to reclaim and to speak one’s truth in a full-throated, inspirational, and vulnerable way.”—Mensah Demary, editor, Catapult

Opening: “Dear Fred, My guardian angels, spirit guides, ancestors, literary agent, and many friends and acquaintances have urged me to write this book for over 20 years.”
Evening author reception

David Dayen

Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power (New Press, June; $27.99)

Why the buzz: “In Monopolized, American Prospect editor David Dayen puts a human face to the victims of business monopolies—spoiler alert: it’s all of us!—through a series of engrossing vignettes that show how monopoly has insinuated itself into the most intimate parts of our lives, strangling creativity and freedom. Yet Monopolized is also a hopeful book, telling the remarkable stories of people who have fought back against this.”—C­arl Bromley, editorial director, The New Press

Opening: “On April 15, 2019, announced a $300 million deal to buy”
Antitrust symposium

Rickey Gates

Cross Country: A 3700-Mile Run to Explore Unseen America (Chronicle, Apr.; $24.95)

Why the buzz: “Rickey’s journey, as captivatingly documented in the book, is inspiring on so many levels. It’s a truly remarkable physical feat—a five-month cross-country run of 3,700 miles—and it’s fascinating to follow his personal account. But it’s also an inspiration for all of us, in these divisive times, to share his spirit of connecting with the people he meets and looking for what we have in common, which is more than what keeps us apart.”—Steve Mockus, executive editor, entertainment, Chronicle

Opening: “This story starts off on a beach, sad and lonely. I think that this is how I wanted it to start. Or this is just how it has to start. My wishes no longer have any bearing on this precise moment.”
Evening author reception

Grace Elizabeth Hale

Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture (Univ. of North Carolina, Mar.; $27)

Why the buzz: “UNC Press is thrilled to introduce the first title in our new imprint, Ferris and Ferris Books, at this year’s Winter Institute. The imprint is for high-profile books about the American South. We’re confident that Grace E. Hale’s Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture will be a hit with indie booksellers, many of whom are fans of R.E.M. and the B-52s and embrace the DIY ethic that is celebrated in this book.”—Regina M. Mahalek, director of publicity, Univ. of North Carolina

Opening: “In Athens, Georgia, in the 1980s, if you were young and willing to live without much money, anything seemed possible.”
Lunchtime author reception

Kirkland Hamill

Filthy Beasts (Avid Reader, July; $27; 100,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “I remember encountering a single image early in my reading of the proposal for Kirkland Hamill’s memoir and knowing then that I had to edit his book: he visits his mother, on her deathbed and ravaged by alcohol, and all he can recognize in her face are her eyes. That power and that control affirmed for me that not only did Hamill have a powerful story to tell, but that he had the writing talent to do it.”—Ben Loehnen, v-p, editor-in-chief, Avid Reader

Opening:I remember them laughing.”
Evening author reception

Jim Hock

Father on the Line (Rare Bird, May; $26)

Why the buzz: “Growing up the son of John Hock, an original Los Angeles Rams legend from the ’50s, Jim Hock was on the frontlines of not only an important period of sports history, but also a very unique father-son dynamic that will most definitely surprise and intrigue readers—whether football fans or just interested in a heartfelt story.”—Guy Intoci, editor, Rare Bird

Opening: “I remember the words as if it were yesterday: ‘If you don’t do this I will kick your ass.’ ”
Lunchtime author reception

Bradford R. Kane

Pitchfork Populism: Ten Political Forces That Shaped an Election and Continue to Change America (Prometheus, out now; $25)

Why the buzz: “Brad Kane’s deft elucidation of the current national political moment transcends a noisy media landscape to craft a clear, informed picture of how we got here, where we’re going, and the complex issues at play heading into the 2020 election.”—John Priest, publicist, Prometheus

Opening: “The political earthquake of 2016 resulted from a convergence of political forces and trends that evolved over many years.”
Lunchtime author reception

Margaret Kimberley

Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents (Truth to Power, Feb.; $14.95 trade paper; 50,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “This is a concise, compelling exploration of the attitudes of each president in our country’s history towards so many often-underrepresented people. It should be a necessary resource, both academically and practically, and it serves as a wonderful corrective for the misrepresentations we see time and again in our readings of history. With the ubiquity of misinformation on the internet, we need such an authoritative and accurate response to the stories we’ve been taught.”—Devin Wilkie, editor, Truth to Power

Opening: “Once upon a time there were millions of people living on a continent. They were invaded by people from a distant part of the world. These newcomers killed the inhabitants via military attacks, infectious diseases, and outright theft of their lands.”
Evening author reception

Wayne Koestenbaum

Figure It Out: Essays (Soft Skull, May; $16.95 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “Koestenbaum’s Figure It Out is a new collection of essays that range from personal—about buying new eyeglasses and doing corpse pose in yoga—to critical—about Marguerite Duras’s sentences, Elizabeth Taylor’s Twitter page, Robert Rauschenberg’s squeegee. But really it’s an outlandish and exhilarating guidebook for artists, writers, and people—about how to pay attention and cultivate curiosity and playfulness in your life. It never fails to cure me of malaise, self-doubt, narrow-mindedness, and boredom.”—Yuka Igarashi, editor-in-chief, Soft Skull

Opening: ”On the New York subway, a fellow passenger’s leather bracelet caught my eye.”
Lunchtime author reception

Joe Meno

Between Everything and Nothing: The Journey of Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal and the Quest for Asylum (Counterpoint, June; $26)

Why the buzz: “The fortitude and bravery of Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal is a story that must be heard, one that has already received international attention. Author Meno brings a novelist’s eye to the real-life journey of two asylum seekers through the chaos of an unjust immigration system, here and abroad. Meno’s debut nonfiction shines a much-needed spotlight on the experiences of asylum-seekers and the exodus of peoples from their unsafe homelands.”—Dan Smetanka, editor-in-chief, Counterpoint

Opening: ”Begin with sound. Begin with light. Seidu Mohammed stands on the side of the road, unsure whether he is alive or dead.”
Lunchtime author reception

Marie Mutsuki Mockett

American Harvest: God, Country, and Farming in the Heartland (Graywolf, Apr.; $28)

Why the buzz: “American Harvest, Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s memoir of wheat farming in the American heartland, challenges us to consider our ingrained beliefs and works to reconcile the competing versions of our national story. Measured, thought-provoking, and beautifully human, this is the book we all need to read in 2020.”—Caroline Nitz, senior publicity manager, Graywolf

Opening: “This is the land of primary colors: red combine, blue sky, yellow wheat.”
Evening author reception

Wayétu Moore

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir (Graywolf, June; $26)

Why the buzz: “In her astounding memoir, Wayétu Moore chronicles her family’s harrowing escape from the Liberian Civil War in lush, lyrical prose. A testament to the power of love and family, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women took my breath away.”—Caroline Nitz, senior publicity manager, Graywolf

Opening: “Mam. I heard it again from another room, as I always did when the adults were careful not to mention her name around me, as if it was both a sacred thing and cause for punishment, and I ran toward it.”
Evening author reception

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

World of Wonder: Essays, illus. by Fumi Nakamura (Milkweed, Aug.; $24)

Why the buzz: ”Some of my favorite works of nonfiction are written by poets. Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s debut collection of essays World of Wonders is lush, lyrical, and generous. Twenty-eight essays alight with the little worlds of some of our most whimsical creatures and plants—narwhals, vampire squid, ribbon eels, and the corpse flower—as well as Nezhukumatathil’s coming-of-age experiences growing up a brown girl in the Midwest. Illustrations by Fumi Nakamura brighten Nezhukumtathil’s already radiant prose.”—Joanna R. Demkiewicz, marketing director, Milkweed

Opening: ”A catalpa can give two brown girls in western Kansas a green umbrella from the sun.”
Lunchtime author reception

Chuck Palahniuk

Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different (Grand Central, Jan.; $27; 50,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “Chuck Palahniuk is a legendary talent, and we’re thrilled to have him joining Grand Central Publishing with a magnificent one-two punch: Consider This, which combines memoir and insight in the best book on writing I’ve read since Stephen King’s On Writing, and this fall’s The Invention of Sound, which explores the hugely compelling enigma of a recording with the power to make the whole world scream at the exact same time.”— Wes Miller, senior editor, Grand Central

Opening: “For most of my life I haven’t balanced my checkbook.”
Evening author reception

Michelle Parise

Alone: A Love Story (Dundurn, May; $18.99 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “When I dove into Michelle Parise’s memoir, I fell so deeply into Parise’s prose that I found myself mouthing ‘exactly’ and ‘don’t answer’ and muttering, ‘Don’t be the cake,’ at the pages. Parise took me through the emotional fallout from infidelity and kept me engrossed, even obsessed.”—Kathryn Lane, associate publisher, Dundurn

Opening: “So, here I am on the edge of 39. Petulant, and drunk and obsessed with a charming but frustrating man in a white shirt and perfect jeans.”
Lunchtime author reception

Layla F. Saad

Me and White Supremacy (Sourcebooks, Feb.; $25.99; 50,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “I’ve never read a book quite like Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy—one that simultaneously shakes me to my core and renews my hope for humanity, that intimidates me with the depth of its perception and inspires me to live up to its message. The work Layla asks us to do in this book will change the world.”—Anna Michels, editorial director, Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press

Opening: “Dear Reader, How did you feel the first time you saw the title of this book?”
Evening author reception

Jaime Schmidt

Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms (Chronicle Prism, Apr.; $24.95)

Why the buzz: ”Jaime went from scooping Schmidt’s Naturals deodorant into mason jars in her kitchen to outselling Dove and Secret two to one. She gets real about what it takes to start a business that lasts, seizing opportunity, staying true to your path, and paying it forward. This is How to Succeed in Business for emerging entrepreneurs.”—Cara Bedick, executive editor, Chronicle

Opening: “Every entrepreneur has a story. Each is passionate, driven, and committed to creating the best version of their product.”
Evening author reception

Patrice Vecchione

My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice: A Guide to Writing Poetry and Speaking Your Truth (Seven Stories, Mar.; $16.95 trade paper)

Why the buzz: “I wish My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice had been around when I was a teenager. Vecchione writes with warmth and empathy about the struggles of being a young person and finding your voice, and stories drawn from her own life beautifully illustrate how poetry can be a raft to cling to during hard times. Filled with unusual writing prompts inspired by some of the poems closest to her heart, this book is sure to inspire young hearts and minds.”—Ruth Weiner, director of marketing and publicity, Seven Stories

Opening: “Once upon a time a girl lost her voice.”
Lunchtime author reception

Lindy West

The Witches Are Coming (Hachette, out now; $28)

Why the buzz: “Lindy has quickly become a unique, smart, funny, and poignant voice of our generation. She has a special ability to write about urgent cultural and political topics in a searing but also humane fashion, and we see this illuminated in The Witches Are Coming. We have been absolutely thrilled by how enthusiastically she has been embraced by readers and the bookselling community at large.”—Michelle Aielli, v-p, associate publisher, Hachette

Opening: “Not long ago, my husband was at a bar in Chicago.”
Evening author reception

Molly Wizenberg

The Fixed Stars (Abrams, May; $25)

Why the buzz: “Molly Wizenberg’s The Fixed Stars is one of the most breathtakingly honest and brave memoirs I’ve ever read, and I’m so honored to be helping Molly tell her story. This is a gorgeous and moving grappling with identity, and family, and sex, and the messiness of life, and remaining true to yourself, and I think it is going to touch so many hearts and change lives.”—Jamison Stoltz, executive editor, Abrams

Opening: “The jury summons came in late spring. There’s an optimism to bringing it in the mail—a small, dinky optimism, but I like it.”
Evening author reception

WI15: Children’s Authors and Illustrators to Meet