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    Beth Alvarado

    writer & teacher

  • Novel Cover Art Jillian

    a cycle of rather dark tales

    Black Lawrence Press

    With the ecstatic knowledge of an ancient curandera and the playful, storytelling prowess of a child, Alvarado travels great distances, bears witness, presages problems, and intuits solutions. She isn’t just at the forefront of white writers writing about race, she’s at the forefront of people writing about what it means to be human and how we might survive our own dangerous shortcomings. Masterful and original, her voice has been here since the before-time; in a world that needs healing and vision more than ever, it would behoove us all to listen.

    ~Jennifer Tseng, Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness

    Novel Cover Art Anxious Attachments

    Autumn House Press

    Praise for Anxious Attachments, winner of the Oregon Book Award and long-listed for PEN/Diamonstein-Spievogel Award for the Art of the Essay

    Alvarado’s gorgeous essays evoke the fluidity and awe of an underwater journey. She offers us a tour of grief—its causes, its cultural conditions, its grasp. In delineating, with devotion, with humor, losses that are at once ordinary and extraordinary, material and supernatural, she offers the reader a chance to better see what’s right in front of them. This book is an act of generosity, of friendship, of remembrance. I felt my head turned by it, encouraged to see my everyday loves with wider eyes.

    ~Aisha Sabatini Sloan, The Fluency of Light and Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit.

    Novel Cover Art Anthrolpologies

    University of Iowa Press

    Praise for Anthropologies

     

    ‘Memory is a silent room, a home movie from an old Brownie camera,’ Beth Alvarado writes. Her memoir, Anthropologies, suggests otherwise: there is little silence here. Instead everything is sound and light: story stacked up on story, memory on dream, aperture after aperture opening and staying open, recording past the final page. Anthropologies offers us the eternal present tense of memory: all our lives and our families’ lives existing at once, like the voice of her father, preserved on her mother’s answering machine and now here with many others in this lovely echo chamber of a book.

    ~Ander Monson, Vanishing Point

    Novel Cover Art Not a Matter of Love

    New Rivers Press

    Praise for Not a Matter of Love winner of the Many Voices Project

    Alvarado’s is a formidable talent, wise and witty and unflinching. To read her fiction is to understand two terrible truths: that humans hardly ever understand each other, and that we will persist relentlessly in an attempt to do so. This is serious, beautiful work.

    ~Antonya Nelson, Bound

  • About Me

    I am the author of four books. Jillian in the Borderlands: A Cycle of Rather Dark Tales has launched! Anxious Attachments won the Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and was long listed for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spievogel Award for the Art of the Essay. My two earlier books are Anthropologies: A Family Memoir; and Not a Matter of Love and other stories, which won the Many Voices Prize. In 2020, I won an Oregon Literary Career Fellowship.

     

     

    For much of my life, I lived in Tucson, Arizona, with my late husband, Fernando, our two children, and our large extended family. I now live in Oregon and teach for OSU-Cascades' Low Residency MFA Program. My essays and stories have been published in many fine journals and three essays have been chosen as Notable in Best American Essays.

  • Announcements

    The first review of Jillian in the Borderlands is up at Masters Review. And it is so smart and wonderful! Thank you, Kathryn Ordiway.

     

    "Another Kind of Borderlands," an interview about Jillian in the Borderlands by Melanie Bishop is up at Fiction Writers Review.

     

    "In Conversation: Beth Alvarado and Frankie Rollins," wherein Frankie and I discuss grief and myth-making and our latest books is up at JMWW.

     

    "Q & A with Deborah Kalb" about Jillian in the Borderlands.

     

    Jillian in the Borderlands is the October Book of the Month for the Book Club at The Rumpus!

     

    Starting October 15, I will be giving away 15 copies of Jillian in the Borderlands through the Goodreads Giveaway Program.

     

    The Pre-Sale period for Jillian in the Borderlands Black Lawrence Press's Pre-Order Program has now ended. Please purchase from your local bookstore! I want to thank everyone who participated: I donated my commission from the Pre-Sale to the organization, No More Deaths.

     

    I am thrilled to announce that Anxious Attachments won the Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and was long listed for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spievogel Award for the Art of the Essay! The Oregon Book Awards called Anxious Attachments "a master class in the essay."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Readings & Events

     

    The Rumpus Bookclub, a conversation with the bookclub. November 1, 4:30 EST. Link to be provided later.

     

    "Tell It Slant," a reading for OSU-Cascades MFA Program with Jenna Goldsmith, Tiffany D. Cates, Yola Gomez, Brigitte Lewis, and Irene Cooper. October 29, 2020. Link to be provided later.

     

    Red Dragon Reading Series, SUNY Onenota. October 22, 7:30 p.m. EST.

     

    Reading and conversation with Ilana Masad, The Other Stories Podcast, October 21.

     

    Reading with Luis Urrea and Pamela Uschuk: Experiencing Culture Across Genres: Pathways to Writing for Change. Colorado Mountain College, October 20, 2020, 6 p.m. MST. Link to register is here.

     

    "Twice Baked Tales," a reading and conversation about fabulism & food with Irene Cooper and Brigitte Lewis. Roundabout Books, September 18, 2020.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Press & Reviews

    The first review of Jillian in the Borderlands is up at Masters Review. And it is so smart and wonderful! Thank you, Kathryn Ordiway.

     

    Advance praise for Jillian in the Borderlands:

     

    Relentlessly musical, heart-twisting, and haunted by the supernatural, Jillian in the Borderlands is a masterpiece of contemporary fabulist fiction. Told in a kaleidoscopic set of shifting points of view, these stories take readers to boundaries both geographic and metaphorical: between sickness and health, wonder and horror, the past and the present. “Women are always searching among the dead and the wounded,” observes the collection’s titular character. As the lives of constellating characters make clear, however, what women find is so much more complicated.

    ~Allegra Hyde, Of This New World

     

    In this lush and imaginative exploration of what makes us human, Alvarado conjures the twin energies of spirit and body, finding, in the face of political violence and its foul counterparts, our most urgent reasons for action and hope. While these are called dark tales, I find them genuinely uplifting, as Alvarado’s storytelling allows us access to the nexus for joy, in opposition.

    ~Aurelie Sheehan, Once into the Night

     

    With stunning buoyancy, these linked stories build a world of hope and magic, while challenging the hardships humans so often create for themselves. Alvarado has crafted a world one wants to sink into, full of empathy, sly humor, beauty and charm, while also looking directly at the question of what it means to be humans roaming the margins together.

    ~Monica Drake, The Stud Book

     

    Reviews of Anxious Attachments:

    Reviews of Anthropologies:
    • Megan Kimble’s review in Sonora Review
    • From Kirkus Reviews: "[Alvarado] lays bare in these pages the many stories and details of her life and identity. Devoid of self-pity or nostalgia, Alvarado’s voice is bell-clear."
    • From Publishers Weekly: "Sparked by her mother’s deterioration into old age, Alvarado (Not a Matter of Love) has written a three-part memoir about her family life that approaches prose poetry."
     

    Essays & Stories

    recent, selected

    "Sex after Death" -- essay -- in The Sun, July 2020.

     

    From Jillian in the Borderlands:

    "Jillian Speaks," Terrain.org, July 2020

    “La Linea," Cleaver Magazine, Spring 2020.

     

    From Anxious Attachments:

     “Water in the Desert,” Guernica, 2015.

    “Stars and Moons and Comets,” in The Sun, named a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2015.

    “The Motherhood Poems,” which first appeared in Necessary Fiction & later was reprinted in New California Writing, 2011, Heydey Press, & in

    Notes from the Motherfield, Kore Press

     

    “Playlist for Anxious Attachments,” Largehearted Boy, Spring 2019.

     

    “When Your Daughter Refuses to Be in Your Essay,” LitHub, Spring 2019.

     

     

    Interviews

     

    "Another Kind of Borderlands," an interview about Jillian in the Borderlands. By Melanie Bishop in Fiction Writers Review.

     

    "In Conversation: Beth Alvarado and Frankie Rollins," wherein Frankie and I discuss grief and myth-making and our latest books: JMWW.

     

    "Q & A with Deborah Kalb" about Jillian in the Borderlands.

     

    "Grieving in Dreams:" Two writers discuss "the apocalyptic imagination" grief, and the liminality of the borderlands. By Kimi Eisele in Guernica: A Magazine of Politics and Art. 2020.

     

    An interview about Anxious Attachments, mothering, and auto-theory by Irene Cooper for The Rumpus. 2019.

     

    "Interview with Beth Alvarado" about Anthropologies by Megan Kimble in Sonora Review. 2011.

     

    "An Interview with Beth Alvarado" about "Emily's Exit" from Not a Matter of Love. University of Arizona Poetry Center. 2006.

     

    Audio & Video

    "A Novel Idea" wherein Ellen Santasiero and I talk about writing memoir for Deschutes Public Library. 2020.

     

    "Water in the Desert," YouTube, Narrow Chimney Reading Series, Flagstaff, Arizona. 2016.

     

    "In Conversation with Beth Alvarado” an interview with Sheila Bender on writing memoir for political action. WritingItReal. 2015.

     

    From Anthropologies, a reading for University of Arizona Poetry Center. 2011.

     

    From Not a Matter of Love , a reading for University of Arizona Poetry Center. 2006.