We are pleased to welcome Pittsburgh author Jolene McIlwain to the Penguin for an in-person event celebrating the release of Sidle Creek, a collection of short stories. Jolene will be joined by local author Meredith Mileti to discuss her experiences in writing the book. The conversation will be followed by a Q&A with the audience. Guests will also have the opportunity to have copies of Sidle Creek signed by Jolene following the conversation. We hope you'll join us!
Jolene McIlwain’s fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in West Branch, Florida Review, Cincinnati Review, New Orleans Review, Northern Appalachia Review, and 2019's Best Small Fictions Anthology. Her work was a finalist for 2018’s Best of the Net, and a semifinalist in Nimrod’s Katherine Anne Porter Prize. She was born, raised, and currently lives in a small town in the Appalachian plateau of Western Pennsylvania.
Meredith Mileti is the author of Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses, published by Kensington Books. The New York Journal of Books called Aftertaste "a keenly observed novel that is... as thoughtful and poignant as it is wickedly funny..."
Meredith resides in Pittsburgh, where she is an active participant in the arts and literary community. She has been the recipient of artistic fellowships at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia and the VCCA Le Moulin à Nef residency in Auvillar, France. She is currently at work on another novel.
"Sidle Creek is one of the best story collections I’ve read in a long time." - Ron Rash, New York Timesbestselling author of Serena
Set in the bruised, mined, and timbered hills of Appalachia in western Pennsylvania, Sidle Creek is a tender, truthful exploration of a small town and the people who live there, told by a brilliant new voice in fiction.
In Sidle Creek, McIlwain skillfully interrogates the myths and stereotypes of the mining, mill, and farming towns where she grew up. With stories that take place in diners and dive bars, town halls and bait shops, McIlwain’s writing explores themes of class, work, health, and trauma, and the unexpected human connections of small, close-knit communities. All the while, the wild beauty of the natural world weaves its way in, a source of the town’s livelihood – and vulnerable to natural resource exploitation.
With an alchemic blend of taut prose, gorgeous imagery, and deep sensitivity for all of the living beings within its pages, Sidle Creek will sit snugly on bookshelves between Annie Proulx, Joy Williams, and Louise Erdrich.