Mesha Maren

Cindy Seip

Mesha Maren’s short stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, the Oxford American, the Southern Review, TriQuarterly, Ecotone, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing Fellow at the Federal Prison Camp Alderson and is Assistant Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Duke University. Lauren Groff calls her latest book, Sugar Run (Algonquin Books), “A heady admixture of explosive plot and taut, burnished prose . . .” In 1989, Jodi McCarty is seventeen years old when she’s sentenced to life in prison. When she’s released eighteen years later, she finds herself at a Greyhound bus stop, reeling from the shock of unexpected freedom but determined to chart a better course for herself. Not yet able to return to her lost home in the Appalachian Mountains, she heads south in search of someone she left behind, as a way of finally making amends. There, she meets and falls in love with Miranda, a troubled young mother living in a motel room with her children. Set within the charged insularity of rural West Virginia, Mesha Maren’s Sugar Run is a searing and gritty debut about making a break for another life, the use and treachery of makeshift families, and how, no matter the distance we think we’ve traveled from the mistakes we’ve made, too often we find ourselves standing in precisely the place we began.