Barrett Bowlin’s Most Anticipated Books of 2016


Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky (Tor Books, January 26)
Starting the year off with one hell of a swing, heavy-hitter Anders is probably best known for her work as the editor-in-chief of, but she’s also a genre-bending literary & sci-fi author, with stories appearing in such diverse places as Tin HouseZYZZYVAAsimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and Strange Horizons. (Oh, and she also won a Hugo Award for her novelette, “Six Months, Three Days.”) The premise of her new novel, concerning the reconnection of two childhood friends in their newly respective circles of engineering and magic, sounds as intriguing and faceted as she is.


Jonathan Lee, High Dive (Knopf, March 8)
Built around the events of the 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel, in Brighton, England, Lee’s third novel tracks the events that led up to the death of five people and the almost-assassination of Margaret Thatcher and members of her cabinet. While mapping the horrors of The Troubles during this period is a complex and difficult task, Jonathan Lee, editor of A Public Space and a contributing editor to Guernica, is a wholly gifted writer and is more than capable of meeting the challenge.


Jack Pendarvis, Movie Stars: Stories (Dzanc, April 12)
His credits include writing for Adventure Time, publishing three books of fiction thus far, along with a book of creative non-fiction, winning a Pushcart, and contributing heavily to The Believer and Oxford American, but the top gem in the pile of jewels that is Jack Pendarvis is his short-story writing. His forthcoming collection showcases the relationship his down-and-out characters have with the Hollywood pantheon, and if Movie Stars is anywhere near as good as his previous collection, Your Body Is Changing, the wait will be more than worth it.


Patricia Engel, The Veins of the Ocean: a Novel (Grove, May 3) 
Five years ago, amid stunning reviews and praise from the likes of Michiko Kakutani and Junot Diaz, Patricia Engel’s Vida reinvigorated the literary world’s perceptions of the linked story collection, and she’s been writing and publishing just as intensely as when she debuted. Her second novel (after It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, also from Grove), The Veins of the Ocean, returns Engel to the forefront of our attention, deservedly so.


Chelsea Martin, Mickey (Curbside Splendor, July 12)
Visual artist and short story writer, Chelsea Martin is a longtime artist and collaborator with The Rumpus, care of her cartoon strip, Heavy-Handed. In addition to her work with the journal, Martin has also released several indie publishing house titles, including the outstanding Even Though I Don’t Miss You (from Short Flight/Long Drive), and her follow-up novella looks just as amazing.


Odie Lindsey, We Come to Our Senses: Stories (Norton, July 26)
Looking back at the previous years’ Most Anticipated lists I’ve collated, I notice now that I look very much forward to the fiction coming out of the years we’ve spent in the wars of the new millennium. This trend continues in 2016 with Odie Lindsey’s forthcoming collection, and with his unnamed novel due out shortly thereafter. A contributor to such places as The Iowa Review, Forty Stories, and 2014’s Best American Short Storiesanthology (for the brilliant “Evie M.”), Lindsey and his veteran fiction add to the unsettling and essential voices from war.

Barrett Bowlin teaches creative writing at Binghamton University. His fiction and essays have appeared (or are forthcoming) in places like Ninth Letter, Hobart, The Rumpus, Salt Hill, Meridian, Mid-American Review, and War, Literature, & the Arts, among others. He lives in upstate New York and writes inappropriate things sometimes on Twitter (@barrettbowlin).

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