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Chelsea Bieker Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Godshot (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Chelsea Bieker is a literary fiction author from Central Valley California best known for her debut novel “Godshot” published in 2020. She is famously the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award and is also the author of “Cowboys and Angels” that she published in 2021. When she won the Jaffe Award, she got a two-book deal with Catapult books and that marked the moment her career as a professional author took off. Bieker’s writing has been published in a variety of publications including “Cosmonauts Avenue,” “Granta,” “No Tokens,” “McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern,” “The Normal School,” “Catapult,” “The Cincinnati Review,” “Electric Literature” and “Joyland” among others. The author has a bachelor’s in journalism degree from Cal Poly State University and a creative writing MFA from Portland State University. Chelsea Bieker has accomplished a lot given that she had won several prizes for her fiction aged only 31. Apart from the Jaffe Award, she has also been a nominee for the prestigious Pushcart Prize and won a fellowship to the writing fellowship known as the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. Her timely and wrenching essay “Why We Must Believe Women” made the What We’re Reading List by the New York Times and was published by Catapult. Apart from her writing, she is also a parent and professor at Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg Area Community College where she teaches composition. Chelsea is also one of the tutors at the Gotham and Catapult Writers Workshop. She currently lives with her husband and children in Portland Oregon.

Chelsea Bieker covers much ground in her work but similar to what she writes in her nonfiction works, she tends to stick to core themes and settings. Similar to the likes of authors such as Claire Vaye Watkins, and Flannery O’Connor, place seems to be central in her novels and short fiction. Bieker was born in Fresno California but moved to Portland in 2010 as she wanted to attend Portland State’s prestigious MFA program. While she has lived in Portland for much of her life the Central Valley landscape in California is a common setting in her novels that are an exploration of longing, abandonment, hope, family, motherhood, family and faith. Unlike many works of fiction, they are not works that can easily be classified as they are literarily complex yet accessible with some having a comedic slant. Chelsea prefers to write in the first-person perspective and has a penchant and knack for telling the truths of life that people find uncomfortable.

Chelsea Bieker has described “Godshot,” her debut novel as a story that she had to write. It is a novel about having a mother leave you, becoming a mother, and also about motherhood. It is something of an autobiography since she talks a lot about issues she has struggled with as a woman and mother. The novel’s premise involves a 14-year-old child who tells the story from a first-person perspective. It is set in a fictional town in Central Valley in California with its raisin vineyards and beautiful farms. Much of Bieker’s work is about blue-collar characters that find themselves stuck in hopeless circumstances, though they dare to dream of a moment that might get them unstuck. The characters grapple with their difficult situations and take actions that may hurt themselves or other people.

Chelsea Bieker’s “Godshsot” is set in Peaches, California, where the land is gripped by an unprecedented drought. The town is smack in the middle of California’s Central Valley, which was once an agricultural Eden but is now a barren and cracked land that is best described as an environmental disaster. Lacey May a fourteen-year-old girl lives in Peaches with her alcoholic mother. The residents of the town have become desperate and looking to change their fortunes, turn to Pastor Vern, a cult leader that promises to bring rain. Lacey has full faith in the pastor. But then things go haywire as her mother abandons her and runs off with a stranger leaving her daughter distraught. She has no choice but to move in with Cherry, her widowed grandmother who is obsessed with her taxidermy mice collection and hardly has time for Lacey May. As she deals with the appalling acts of men who want to control everything and everyone, and learns that Pastor Vern has an almost insane plan to restore the land’s fertility, she decides that she has to find her mother. She gets help for her quest from some of the women that knew her mother and the romance novels she has read since she was a young teen. It is a novel of motherhood, resilience, female friendship and seeking and finding help in the most unexpected of places.

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