Julia Elliott

PRESENTING
But Not Always Sweet: Short Stories | Saturday, May 16, 11:50 - 12:40, Lexington Meeting Room B
Genre(s) Fiction Gothic Southern

Julia Elliott’s fiction has appeared in Tin House, the Georgia Review, Conjunctions, Fence, Best American Fantasy, and other publications. She has won a Pushcart Prize and a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award. Her debut story collec­tion, The Wilds, was chosen by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, and Book Riot as one of the Best Books of 2014 and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. She is currently working on a novel about Hamadryas ba­boons, a species she has studied as an amateur primatolo­gist. She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she lives with her daughter and husband. She and her spouse, John Dennis, are founding members of the music collective Grey Egg.

Book Title: The Wilds

At an obscure South Carolina nursing home, a lost world reemerges as a disabled elderly woman undergoes newfangled brain-restoration procedures and begins to explore her environment with the assistance of strap-on robot legs. At a deluxe medical spa on a nameless Carib­bean island, a middle-aged woman hopes to revitalize her fading youth with grotesque rejuvenating therapies that combine cutting-edge medical technologies with holistic approaches and the pseudo-religious dogma of Zen-infused self-help. And in a rinky-dink mill town, an adolescent girl is unexpectedly inspired by the ravings and miraculous levitation of her fundamentalist friend’s weird grandmother. These are only a few of the scenarios readers encounter in Julia Elliott’s debut collection, The Wilds. In her genre-bending stories, Elliott blends southern gothic strangeness with dystopian absurdities, sci-fi speculations with fairy-tale transformations. Tee­tering between the ridiculous and the sublime, Elliott’s language-driven fiction uses outlandish tropes to capture poignant moments in her humble characters’ lives. With­out abandoning the tenets of classic storytelling, Elliott revels in lush lyricism, dark humor, and experimental play.