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Elwin Cotman

April 16 @ 7:00 pm

Elwin Cotman

reads from

Weird Black Girls: Stories

published by Scribner

From Philip K. Dick Award finalist Elwin Cotman, an irresistibly unnerving collection of stories that explore the anxieties of living while Black—a high-wire act of literary-fantastical hybrid fiction.

A rural town finds itself under the authoritarian sway of a tree that punishes children. A pair of old friends navigate their fraught history as strange happenings escalate in a Mexican restaurant. A pair of narcissistic friends wreak havoc on an activist community. An aloof young man finds himself living through his lover’s memories. And a day of LARPing takes a cosmic turn.

In each of the seven stories in this collection, characters pursue their obsessions on paths to glory and destruction while around them their worlds twist and warp, oscillating between reality and impossibility. On display throughout is Cotman’s ability to reveal truths about the human experience—about friendship, love, betrayal, bitterness—through whimsy, horror, and fantasy. Elegiac in tone, imaginative and humorous in their execution, the character-driven stories in Weird Black Girls challenge, incite, and entertain.

What has been said about Weird Black Girls

“Homeboy can write. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. And not afraid to nerd out either. With Weird Black Girls, Cotman stellarly bursts open the thread of Black space in fiction. A landmark collection!” —Sidik Fofana, author of Stories From the Tenants Downstairs

“Elwin Cotman is a brilliant writer, full stop, and Weird Black Girls is his best book yet. Essential reading.” —Elizabeth Hand, author of A Haunting on the Hill and Generation Loss

Elwin Cotman is a storyteller from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author of three collections of speculative short stories, The Jack Daniels Sessions EP, Hard Times Blues, and Dance on Saturday. His debut novel The Age of Ignorance will be published by Scribner in 2025. Cotman’s work has appeared in Grist, Electric Lit, Buzzfeed, The Southwestern Review, and The Offing, among others (see publications). He holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and a MFA from Mills College in Oakland California. He writes this and that on his Substack.

This event is made possible by the support of the City Lights Foundation


April 16
7:00 pm


City Lights Bookstore
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City Lights
261 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133 United States
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