“A masterpiece. Lean and authentic, this twenty-first century western captures what so many rural Americans on the margins are feeling; righteous anger and bitter disconnection, powerlessness and rugged pride. And yet, Wilkins has endowed his unforgettable cast of characters with humanity, gentleness, grace, and hard-won poetry. In prose as rugged and beautiful as the story’s Montana setting, Joe Wilkins has written one of the better novels I’ve read in years. An absolutely stunning book in every way.” – Nickolas Butler, internationally best-selling author of Shotgun Lovesongs and The Hearts of Men.
…but getting closer to the day my debut novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, lands! It’s now up for pre-order at Amazon!
A great joy to talk with Tayo Basquiat of Wyoming Public Media for the public radio program Spoken Words.
I’m headed to Alaska (for the first time!) this summer to teach at the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, where none other than Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthony Doerr will be the keynote speaker! It sure sounds like an amazing conference in a stunning place–love to see you there!
Ten years ago Stephen Corey, then the new head editor at The Georgia Review, took my essay “Eight Fragments from My Grandfather’s Body.” It was my first real prose publication, and, in many ways, that publication sort of made what I guess I’m calling my career. So I’m pleased as can be to have another piece appearing in the current issue of the always-asontishing The Georgia Review, my second short story, a strange, needy piece I’ve dubbed “Creekboy.” And, of course, it’s in good company, rubbing shoulders with work by Reg Saner, Gary Gildner, Robert Cording, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Andrea Hollander, and many others.
When We Were Birds has landed on The Oregonian’s Summer Reads List, alongside heavy hitters like Tyehimba Jess, Tracy Daugherty, Sue Monk Kidd, Alexandra Fuller, and others! Here’s a bit from the write up: “Joe Wilkins’ laconic poems run deep, producing spine-tingling evocations of the land and home and family that you’ll want to return to again and again.”
So pleased to be able to say that last night When We Were Birds won the Stafford/Hall Prize in Poetry from the Oregon Book Awards. It was a lovely evening, full of wit and literature and friends, and I’m proud of the book and so thankful to the Oregon literary community, especially the great folks at Literary Arts. And a big, huge thanks to Major Jackson, a poet I so admire, for judging the award and offering such kind words about When We Were Birds.
The link is behind a paywall at Publishers Marketplace, but here are the important details: Little, Brown just bought my novel! And the next one after that!
“National Magazine Award finalist and Pushcart Prize winner Joe Wilkins’s debut AND EVER THESE BULL MOUNTAINS, a story set in the rugged and unforgiving landscape of eastern Montana, about the unbreakable bond between a young ranch hand named Wendell and an abandoned boy named Rowdy who is delivered into his care, a love that is tested when they find themselves on the wrong side of a militant fringe group and Wendell must protect the boy while trying to avoid the violent fate that claimed his father, in addition to a second untitled novel chronicling a murder that tears apart a boom-and-bust town in 1920s Montana, to Ben George at Little, Brown, by Sally Wofford-Girand at Union Literary (World).”