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Kirstin Valdez Quade Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Five Wounds (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Night at the Fiestas (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Tales of Two Americas(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
I Know What’s Best for You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Kirstin Valdez Quade
Kirstin Valdez Quade is originally from New Mexico, and is an assistant professor at Princeton University.

Kirstin left New Mexico when she was a child, after her mom married her dad, who is a geologist that studies deserts. They spent a lot of her childhood moving around. They lived in trailers and out of their van and in tents, all around the Southwest. Kirstin attended something like thirteen schools before she got to high school.

That said, she still feels that New Mexico is really her home. It is where her grandparents lived, where her family went back to, and where her early childhood was, and it’s where she felt a sense of belonging. Kirstin spent summers there during high school, college, and graduate school, and she visits the state many times in a year but she just has not lived their since she was kid.

She says that the freshman seminar taught by John L’Heureux on the American short story was the first class she went to while at Stanford. She was one of about twelve students, and she was terrified of him, as he could be an intimidating teacher. This class helped her writing improve a lot in this class. Her thinking and reading got a lot more rigorous as a result of his rigor.

Each week he would give them a sheet of sentences that was taken from their papers, and then they’d correct them as a group, which has been an incredibly useful exercise for her. As she can tell when a sentence doesn’t sound right, and a lot of that comes from this exercise. She did look through the sentences to make sure one of them was not one of the ones that she had written at one point.

Kirstin finds that a lot of her work happens during the revision process, a process that she loves. She will hang onto stories for quite a long time and go over them again and again. She often leaves a bunch of time between revisions to allow her to see the story with a fresh set of eyes, as she is a totally different person when she returns to it.

She views the central job of revision is to get a deeper comprehension of her characters, and just allow them to be more themselves. That typically means clearing out quite a bit of the junk that she has built up all around them.

She went to Phillips Exeter Academy and got her BA from Stanford University and her MFA from the University of Oregon. From the year 2009 until 2011 she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University, where she also taught as a Jones Lecturer. From 2014 to 2015, she was the Delbanco Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.

Her work has appeared in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, the New York Times, Narrative Magazine, and the New Yorker, as well as other places. Kirstin’s writing weaves together themes of coming-of-age, family, class, and race, and they unfold in New Mexico which are inspired by her own upbringing.

Kirstin won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, and she has received the Rome Prize, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. For “Nemecia”, she won a Narrative Prize.

Kirstin’s debut novel, called “The Five Wounds”, was released in the year 2021, having been published by W. W. Norton. Her work is from the literary fiction genre.

“Night At the Fiestas” is the first short story collection and was released in the year 2015. Kirstin’s unforgettable stories dump us into the troubled and fierce hearts of characters that are defined by their desire to escape from the past or else try to plumb its depths.

A young man learns that his estranged dad and a boa constrictor have been squatting in the empty house of his grandma. One lonely retiree that is new to Santa Fe gets obsessed with her housekeeper. The deadbeat dad of a pregnant teen attempts to transform his life by playing the part of Jesus in a bloody penitential Passion. A girl tries to uncover the mystery surrounding her cousin’s violent past, as another young woman finds that she is at an impasse when she gets asked to hear a confession from her priest.

Always remaining hopeful, these stories chart the obligations and passions of family life, and explore themes of class, race, and coming of age, while Quade’s characters betray, undermine, bolster, protect, define, wound, and ultimately save one another.

“The Five Wounds” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2021. A novel about a New Mexican family’s extraordinary year of sacrifice and love.

It is Holy Week in the tiny town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and Amadeo Padilla (an unemployed thirty-three year old) has been given the role of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for his part when Angel, his fifteen year old daughter, arrives on his doorstep pregnant and disrupts his plans for personal redemption. With just weeks until her due date comes, ebullient and tough Angel has fled from her mom’s house and putting her life on a brand new path.

This novel spans the baby’s first year while five generations of the Padilla family converge. There is Marissa (Angel’s mom whom Angel has not been speaking to), Yolanda (Amadeo’s mom who is reeling from a recent discovery), and disapproving Tive (Yolanda’s uncle and the keeper of family history). Each one of them brings some expectations that Amadeo, who usually solves problems with a beer in hand, does not believe he will be able to live up to.

This is a miraculous debut novel and Kirstin conjures up characters that are going to linger well after the final page has been turned, and bringing to life their struggles to parent kids they may be ill equipped to even save.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Kirstin Valdez Quade

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