Work samples

  • The Performers Baker_0.pdf

    The Performers is a novel that explores the calling of the creative life and the cost of success. It follows Juli, a young singer growing up in the Midwest in the early 2000s, whose ambitions put in her conflict with her father, a once prominent trumpet player. Juli finds support from her best friend, her voice teachers, and a troupe of fellow performers. When Juli discovers a family secret, she must decide if she has the strength and dedication to pursue music and leave behind the comfort and love of what she knows. 

    This semi-autobiographical novel is set during Juli's four years of high school, a crucial time for young musicians who must strive for continual excellence in their art while making decisions that could impact their lives and careers. The early 2000s is a particularly relevant time for this book as 9/11 brought a halt to an era of abundance and forced a generation to re-think what the future would hold. 

  • Little Feet

    I wrote "Little Feet" when I was processing my mother's death. I found that no matter what prompt I gave myself, I couldn't seem to write about her death after a decade-long battle with cancer. I wanted to be truthful, I thought, and give the mystical details of her death exactly like they happened. But as I was reminded, sometimes the truest expression of our experiences is fictional.

    I remembered how much my mom loved pedicures and this story popped out. So much of it is true—the priest giving the mother last rites, the aunt's with the casserole—but since it is speculative, much is not as well. This piece has led me farther into the realm of hybrid work, mixing fiction and non-fiction more deliberately to arrive at what I find is the most truthful expression of experience. Frequently, I am able to express the emotion more fully when in a fictional, fantastical context.  

About Gabriella

Baltimore City

Gabriella Souza is a Portuguese-American writer whose work has appeared in North American Review, The Adroit Journal, The Rumpus, New South, and the Best Small Fictions 2022 anthology, and elsewhere.

She has received fellowships and scholarships from Disquiet International, The Community of Writers, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and won the 2020 San Miguel Writers’ Conference Writing Contest.

Gabriella began her writing career as a journalist and won local and… more

Fast Girls and Other Stories

I have always been drawn to the short story form, and some of my early influences were Alice Munro, Flannery O'Connor, and Stuart Dybek. In this collection of stories, I focus mostly on young, female protagonists who long for connection and are trying desperately to define who they are and what they stand for. These stories draw from my own experiences and were my first explorations of the line between fact and fiction that has defined my work. 

  • To You I Come, Before You I Stand

    This story came in second in New South Journal's Short Prose Contest and appeared in the journal's Spring 2021 edition. 

  • A Conversation about "To You I Come, Before You I Stand"

    As a Visiting Artist with the Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Programs MA Program in Creative Writing, I participated in this conversation with fellow author Kathy Flann in 2022.

  • Free Bus Confessional 2:16.pdf

    This short story won the 2020 San Miguel Writers' Conference Writing Contest. 

  • Reading of "Free Bus Confessional"

    This reading took place at Antioch University Los Angeles in June 2019.

  • Fast Girls

    This short story appeared in Potamac Review's Summer 2022 issue. 

A Collection of Flash Essays

I have a unique relationship with non-fiction since I worked as a journalist for a decade. In the creative non-fiction realm, I find that my work doesn't resemble the articles I wrote in the past. Frequently, they are snatches of thoughts and descriptions that I weave together to answer questions about a moment in time. I've found that I favor the shorter form for these explorations and I like challenging myself to fit depth and meaning into condensed spaces. 

  • Cat Love

    This essay appeared in Emerge Literary Journal's Issue 21 in 2022.

  • Coronavirus Lament

    This essay appeared in Litro magazine on May 12, 2020.

  • Connection.pdf

    "Connection" traces my encounter with a fellow passenger of a tumultuous flight from Mexico City back to the United States. I was so struck that I wrote the first draft of this piece on the plane. 

    "Connection" appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of North American Review. It also appeared in the Elements of Creative Writing textbook, published by the University of Northern Iowa. 

Author Interviews

For the past few years, I have contributed author interviews to The Rumpus literary magazine. These conversations have allowed me to build community in the literary world and aso inspire my creative work. 

  • The Rumpus_Ananda Lima_0.pdf

    During our conversation, which appeared in The Rumpus in April 2022, Ananda Lima and I discussed her poetry collection Mother/land, the magic that occurs when trusting the writing process, why Lima finds it difficult to write nonfiction, and what knowledge motherhood has brought her.

  • The Rumpus_Evette Dionne.pdf

    During our conversation, which appeared in The Rumpus in December 2022, Evette Dionne and I discussed her memoir in essays Weightless, the importance of context in history and writing, problematic TV shows that manage to captivate our interest, and what to do with the difficult emotions that arise when writing memoir.

  • The Rumpus_Edgar Kunz.pdf

    During our conversation, which appeared in The Rumpus in August 2023, Edgar Kunz and I discussed his poetry collection Fixer, the beauty of couplets, the brilliance of Natasha Trethewey, and why his whole collection builds to a poem about an ugly bird in Oakland.