Lansburgh wins Iowa Prize

I’m thrilled to announce that The Stuart Agency client Matthew Lansburgh has won the University of Iowa Press Short Fiction Prize for his collection Outside is the Ocean. 

A debut novel from Matthew isn’t too far away!


World, Chase Me Down – I Still Remember the Query Letter

World, Chase Me Down by Andrew Hilleman

wcmdcoverAndrew Hilleman’s debut novel World, Chase Me Down will be released by Penguin Books on January 24 and y’all better get ready!

World, Chase Me Down is a rousing, suspenseful book based on the forgotten true story of Pat Crowe, a Robin Hood of the American frontier who pulls off the first successful kidnapping for ransom in U.S. history.

Michael Punke, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Revenant said this about it:

“A rollicking great read that careens between funny and poignant, intimate and epic, action-packed and romantic. And like the best historical fiction, its themes are as contemporary as breaking news.”

I’m beyond excited about this book and for the accolades Andrew has already received.

Andrew queried me with World, Chase Me Down on January 15, 2015, captivating me with his his pitch for this truly Nebraskan story. The book had a different title then (and a lot more words) but Pat Crowe is still Pat Crowe and I can’t wait for the world to meet him!

A specific line from Andrew’s query letter was particularly moving two years ago and, proving a good author’s prophetic vision, it’s even more relevant today.

About his manuscript, Andrew said this:

“It’s a story that’s necessary today, reflective of our times. This is history that matters to us now in a very urgent way. I would be honored if you took a close look.”

I’m glad I took a close look, Andy. I’m very glad.

Cover Art for James Han Mattson’s debut novel

mattson-thelostprayersofrickygraves-23576-cv-ft-v1We’ve been waiting a couple of months to show off the stunning art work for James Han Mattson’s debut novel The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves which will be published by Little A this fall.

Here it finally is!

Thank you to genius designer Joan Wong for her heartbreaking imagining of how a stranger might have seen Ricky Graves and the world he inhabited, and for reminding us how little we know about someone by keeping them at arm’s length.

We are floored by this jacket.

About the book:

In raw, poignant alternating first-person narratives, interspersed with e-mails, gay chat-room exchanges, and other fragments of a youth laid bare in the age of social media, The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves unravels the mystery of a life in all its glory: despair and regret, humor and wonder, courage and connection.

A heartbroken and humiliated Ricky Graves took the life of a classmate and himself. Five months later, the sleepy community is still in shock and mourning. Ricky’s sister, Alyssa, returns to confront her shattered, withdrawn mother and her guilt over the brother she left adrift. Mark McVitry, the lone survivor of the deadly outburst sparked by his own cruelty, is tormented by visions of Ricky’s vengeful spirit. Ricky’s surrogate older brother, Corky Meeks, grapples with doubts about the fragile boy he tried to protect but may have doomed instead. And Jeremy Little, who inadvertently became Ricky’s long-distance Internet crush despite never having met, seeks to atone for failing to hear his friend’s cries for help.

For those closest to the tormented killer, shock and grief have given way to soul searching, as they’re forced to confront their broken dreams, buried desires, and missed opportunities. And in their shared search for meaning and redemption, Ricky’s loved ones find a common purpose: learning to trust their feelings, fighting for real intimacy in a world grown selfish and insincere, and fearlessly embracing all that matters most…before it’s gone from their lives.

Fallen Land in Paperback

Taylor Brown’s exquisite debut novel Fallen Land comes out in paperback today. Book clubs across the nation have reason to rejoice!

fallAlthough Taylor has definitely been known to pop in to cozy discussions of his book, this new edition of his Civil War era chase story comes with an in depth Reader’s Guide written by the author himself, just in case he can’t make it to your house that night.

Fallen Land is set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward.

Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Ava and Callum have only each other in the world and their remarkable horse, Reiver, who carries them through the destruction that is the South.

Praised by fans and critics alike, Fallen Land received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus who said of the novel:

“Like McCarthy’s Border Trilogy or Frazier’s Cold Mountain, this is American literature at its best, full of art and beauty and the exploration of all that is good and bad in the human spirit.”

Buy your copy of Fallen Land today and pre-order Taylor’s upcoming novel The River of Kings as well.

Taylor Brown’s Fallen Land #1 Best Book by southern writer in 2016, says Southern Living

It’s good news twice in one day for Taylor Brown as Southern Living Magazine names Fallen Land one of the best books of 2016 written by a southern writer.

“Here in the South, we love our stories. We love to sit on the porch and trade tall tales, to rehash family lore over the dinner table until it becomes legend, to curl up with books about our history, our land and our future. The heroes and heroines of our fiction inspire us to live life more legendary, and the true stories make us proud and ready to take on the difficulties in our own lives. As we look back on 2016, we’re proud to report that storytelling in the South is alive and well—from novels to non-fiction, from art books to children’s picture books, from long, dramatic epics to hilarious short stories, here are our favorite Southern books published in 2016.” (from Southern Living)

The paperback edition of Fallen Land is on sale Tuesday, January 9th!

Taylor Brown’s The River of Kings chosen as SIBA 2017 Okra Pick

A big congratulations to Taylor Brown whose sophomore novel The River of Kings has been selected as a 2017 Winter Okra Pick by SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association)

brownrok“The 2017 Winter Okra Picks have been selected: a flavor-filled collection of new Southern books hand-picked by Southern indie booksellers–people with impeccable taste in books… All Winter Okra picks have a strong Southern focus and publish between January and March, and all have fans among Southern indie booksellers: the people who are always looking out for the next great writer to fill your reading plate. So the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore and someone says, “You’ve got to read this!” and hands you one of these tasty titles, dig in and ask for a second helping. Great books are always good for you! ” From the SIBA website.

The River of Kings will be published by St. Martin’s Press in March 2017. Bobbie Anne Mason says of the book:

“I read Taylor Brown’s new novel in a state of astonishment–at the bold undertaking, the exhilarating narrative, and the vivid language. I was mesmerized by the way he weaves three separate stories together over time to create a startling portrait of America’s soul.”

TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann #booksweRreading

Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic

51x8r74wyll-_sx331_bo1204203200_Newfoundland, 1919. Two aviators—Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown—set course for Ireland as they attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, placing their trust in a modified bomber to heal the wounds of the Great War.

Dublin, 1845 and ’46. On an international lecture tour in support of his subversive autobiography, Frederick Douglass finds the Irish people sympathetic to the abolitionist cause—despite the fact that, as famine ravages the countryside, the poor suffer from hardships that are astonishing even to an American slave.

New York, 1998. Leaving behind a young wife and newborn child, Senator George Mitchell departs for Belfast, where it has fallen to him, the son of an Irish-American father and a Lebanese mother, to shepherd Northern Ireland’s notoriously bitter and volatile peace talks to an uncertain conclusion.

These three iconic crossings are connected by a series of remarkable women whose personal stories are caught up in the swells of history. Beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, who crosses paths with Frederick Douglass, the novel follows her daughter and granddaughter, Emily and Lottie, and culminates in the present-day story of Hannah Carson, in whom all the hopes and failures of previous generations live on. From the loughs of Ireland to the flatlands of Missouri and the windswept coast of Newfoundland, their journeys mirror the progress and shape of history. They each learn that even the most unassuming moments of grace have a way of rippling through time, space, and memory.

The most mature work yet from an incomparable storyteller, TransAtlantic is a profound meditation on identity and history in a wide world that grows somehow smaller and more wondrous with each passing year. (from the publisher)

Why we are reading McCann’s TransAtlantic

Honestly? Because I only get one true vacation a year, the week between Christmas and New Years, and I didn’t want to risk reading a book that wasn’t going to astound me. Colum McCann has never disappointed me. I made the right the choice.

Critical Praise for Collum McCann’s TransAtlantic

“One of the greatest pleasures of TransAtlantic is how provisional it makes history feel, how intimate, and intensely real. . . . Here is the uncanny thing McCann finds again and again about the miraculous: that it is inseparable from the everyday.”—The Boston Globe

“Ingenious . . . The intricate connections [McCann] has crafted between the stories of his women and our men [seem] written in air, in water, and—given that his subject is the confluence of Irish and American history—in blood.”—Esquire