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Episode 76 - Jennifer Maritza McCauley

 Jennifer Martiza McCauley's short story collection, When Trying to Return Home, begins with a gut-punch of a story called "Torsion." It's about a mom who forces her oldest child to accompany her while she attempts to kidnap her youngest from foster care. It sets the tone perfectly for this critically acclaimed collection that grabs you by the throat and doesn't let you go until the last page. Jennifer's book was on several best-of lists for 2023.

All of Jennifer's characters are longing for home or trying to figure out just where they belong. Some of her characters appear in more than one story, giving you a chance to see them grow and evolve. The nine stories in the collection feature Black American and Afro Puerto Rican characters. Jennifer is the daughter of a Black American father and a Puerto Rican mother.

While the stories in this collection are very intense, the writer behind them was extremely laid back when I caught up with her in November before her appearance at the Miami Book Fair. During our conversation, Jennifer revealed...

  • The original focus of her collection and why she went in a different direction

  • How her brother and his friends inspired one of the stories in the collection

  • The writer who changed everything for her

During the show, Jennifer mentioned a book by James Baldwin that she returns to again and again. The first listener to tell us the the name of the book either on Facebook, Twitter, or through email at readmorepodcast @ gmail will receive a free copy of the book.

If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible. If you and I ever pedaled side by side in a charity bike ride, you're probably ineligible. But we'll always have those sweet memories of being rescued by the what-was-I-thinking van.


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