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Morgan Thomas

February 8, 2022 @ 7:00 pm


Morgan Thomas’s Manywhere features lush and uncompromising stories about characters crossing geographical borders and gender binaries

The nine stories in Morgan Thomas’s shimmering debut collection, Manywhere, witness Southern queer and genderqueer characters determined to find themselves reflected in the annals of history, at whatever cost. As each character traces deceit and violence through Southern tall tales and their own pasts, their journeys reveal the porous boundaries of body, land, and history, and the sometimes ruthless awakenings of self-discovery.

A trans woman finds her independence through the purchase of a pregnancy bump. A young Virginian flees their relationship, choosing instead to immerse themselves in the life of an intersex person from Colonial-era Jamestown. A young writer tries to evade the murky and violent legacy of an ancestor who supposedly disappeared into a midwifery bag. And in the uncanny title story, a young trans person brings home a replacement daughter for their elderly father.

Winding between reinvention and remembrance, transition and transcendence, these origin stories rebound across centuries. With warm, meticulous emotional intelligence, Thomas uncovers how the stories we borrow to understand ourselves in turn shape the people we become. Ushering in a new form of queer mythmaking, Manywhere introduces a storyteller of uncommon range and talent.

Morgan Thomas’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, VICE, Electric Literature, Ploughshares, them., and StoryQuarterly, where their story won the 2019 Fiction Prize. They are the recipient of a Bread Loaf Work-Study Grant, a Fullbright Grant, the Penny Wilkes Scholarship in Writing and the Environment, and the winner of the inaugural Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters. They have also received fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Arctic Circle. A graduate of the University of Oregon MFA program, they live in Portland.

K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice novel BESTIARY (One World/Random House, 2020), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her short story collection, GODS OF WANT, is forthcoming from One World, as well as a novel titled ORGAN MEATS. She lives with her birds in California.

critical praise for Manywhere:

“Very queer, very well-written, and very goddamn good.” —Kristen Arnett.

“Wonderful stories. Impressive range. Delightfully, compellingly queer.” —Roxane Gay.

“Sparkling, imaginative, and inventive.” –Karen Thompson Walker. “The vision of a singular and exciting artist.” —Torrey Peters.

“Morgan Thomas is an artist of landscape, from the humid peculiarities of the American South, to the bodies and imaginations of these urgent, searching characters. I was awed by the kinetic, alive, innovative, and spell-casting stories in Manywhere, a debut collection that reads like an opus.” —Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf by the Ears

“Each story here is a gem, glimmering and precious to behold, but gathered together, Manywhere is a profusion of diamonds. The book is very queer, very well-written, and very goddamn good. Morgan Thomas is a wildly talented writer and Manywhere is a knockout.” —Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth

Manywhere is a kaleidoscopic collection that imagines queer pasts, presents, and futures with empathy, transformative language, and brilliant craft. Each story contains an expansive sense of history, place, and possibility. Morgan Thomas’ innovative storytelling creates queer lineages and a stunning plurality of voices, showing us that a collection can also be a community.” —K-Ming Chang, author of Bestiary

Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation