A Ring of Stories

Julie Hensley

The Journal Non/Fiction Collection Prize


FICTION / Short Stories (single author)
232 pp. 6x9

$19.95 paper 978-0-8142-5269-7
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$19.95 PDF eBook 978-0-8142-7569-6
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“In Landfall, Julie Hensley has created an Appalachian community populated with people I’ve come to know as neighbors, whose loves and losses feel like my own. It’s easy to forget that Conrad’s Fork is a fictional place and that, as vividly as their intertwined lives are rendered on the page, these are fictional characters. It’s hard to stop reading as Hensley unravels in masterful prose the ties that bind them to each other and home. Landfall is a beautiful book, and Julie Hensley is an immensely gifted writer to watch.” —Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot and Longman

Landfall signals the emergence of a masterful new writer. Each sentence is a gem, polished up so that each paragraph, each page, and each story shines, resulting in a book that is so lovely and lyrical that readers will feel as if they are luxuriating in a sea of words. Hensley’s wonderful fiction has been showing up in some of the best literary journals for years now, and I’m so glad that we finally have a book to savor—and to share with others. Landfall is a wonder. So is Julie Hensley.”—Silas House, author of Clay’s Quilt and Same Sun Here

In this ring of connected short stories, grounded in the fictional town of Conrad’s Fork, Kentucky, everyone is staging some sort of escape. A woman harboring the dark truth about her youngest daughter’s birth, a new teacher suddenly under suspicion after a student’s disappearance, a young girl witnessing her older sister’s sexual awakening: all the people in this Appalachian community suffer a paralyzed desire in response to the stagnancy and exposure they experience in their small town. Landfall: A Ring of Stories weaves together the voices of two generations of mountain families in which secrets are carefully guarded—even from closest kin. One by one, those who leave confront the pull of the land and the people they’ve left behind. Perhaps Conrad’s Fork will save them, or, perhaps, in the wake of urban encroachment and shifting family systems, they will save it.

Julie Hensley is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University and the author of The Language of Horses, a poetry chapbook.