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About Jen

Baltimore City

Jen Grow's picture
Jen Grow’s debut collection, MY LIFE AS A MERMAID, was winner of the 2012 Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Competition. Her work also earned the 2016 Mary Sawyers Baker Award. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle, Other Voices, The Sun Magazine, The GSU Review, Hunger Mountain, Indiana Review and many others including the anthology City Sages: Baltimore (City Lit Press, 2010). She co-authored the book Seeking the Spirit (Morehouse Publishing, 2006) with Harry... more

My Life as a Mermaid

"Like the watery bodies it evokes, the prose in these stories is translucent and sparkling... Each story is an exploration of motherhood, wifehood, daughterhood, or neighborhood: the relationships that make up and strangle the characters, who are all, in their own ways, drowning... One story in particular rises above the others: "What Girls Leave Behind," in which an alcoholic mother loses her young girls...Its raw immediacy is equal parts story and slice of pain and will leave you gasping." -Kirkus Reviews

"Winner of the Dzanc Books Short Story Competition, this stunning collection introduces an important new voice in American fiction. The characters—among them a suburban wife, an alcoholic mother, two homeless men, and an injured veteran—grapple with being voiceless and feeling trapped." -Amazon

"Jen Grow's stories are subtle, sophisticated, closely observed, and full of deep perception and real heart." -- Madison Smartt Bell

"Jen Grow’s astonishing collection explores what we think we want, what we think we need--and what we end up with, in language as burnished and gorgeous as a ruby. Filled with a myriad cast of dreamers, housewives and lost souls, all desperate to renovate their lives--or at least understand them-- these stories are both a meditation on escape and a testament to that fragile miracle--hope.” -- Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You

“These sharp, beautiful stories are gem-like explorations of loneliness and longing, cast in prose that is rich with dark humor, danger, and sadness. My Life as a Mermaid is an enchanting collection, and Jen Grow is a thrilling new talent.” – Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth and Find Me

"Jen Grow writes with tremendous range and a gorgeous depth of feeling, elevating the story form to where it belongs. There is nothing slight in these stories and each is a world expertly, painfully rendered, leaving me feeling at once less alone in the world while opening me up to the myriad lives of others. An absolute gift of a book.” -- Paula Bomer, author of Inside Madeleine

"In My Life as a Mermaid, Jen Grow tenderly illuminates the world of frozen fish sticks, cheap liquor, truck-cab homes, game show television, and post-war traumas. There is grace in each one of these unforgettable and moving stories."
-- Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Wonder Bread Summer

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