2017 National Book Award Finalist, Fiction

Carmen Maria Machado

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado Carmen Maria Machado
Her Body and Other Parties
(Graywolf Press)

ISBN: 9781555977887

National Book Foundation: Why did you write this book?
Carmen Maria Machado: I always tell my students that you need to write the stories you want to see in the world, but don’t. I didn’t see the book I wanted. So, I wrote it. 
Foundation: What’s your favorite bookstore or library?
Machado: The Parkland Community Library in South Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania was my childhood library. I spent an unfathomable amount of time there working as a teen volunteer, staffing the summer programs, eating candy and reading V.C. Andrews books, befriending the librarians, and creating scavenger hunts in the stacks.
When I lived in Iowa City, I spent a lot of time and money at Prairie Lights. And here in Philadelphia, I can’t get enough of House of Our Own (when I want used books), the Penn Book Center (when I want new books in my neighborhood), and Head House Books (when I don’t mind going afield).

judges' citation

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut story collection is a thunderclap. Blending the intimate and the fantastical, the most personal revelations with the most speculative of fictions, Machado expands what short fiction can do. Her characters explore sexual desires while fleeing deadly viruses that promise human extinction. They try to control the shapes of their bodies but cannot control the phantom children living in their basements. With gorgeous, muscular language and mordant wit, Machado pulls us into her world—one of corporeal longing and spiritual hunger, a sensual and gothic-tinged alternate reality both dangerous and addictive.


Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

About the Author

Carmen Maria Machado’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New YorkerGranta, NPR, GuernicaElectric LiteratureGulf CoastTin House, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Best Horror of the Year, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and Best Women’s Erotica. Her short story “The Husband Stitch” was nominated for the Shirley Jackson and Nebula Awards, awarded a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and longlisted for the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Copernicus Society of America, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the CINTAS Foundation, the Speculative Literature Foundation, the University of Iowa, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is the artist in residence at the University of Pennsylvania, and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.


- WEBSITE: carmenmariamachado.com

- TWITTER: @carmenmmachado

(Photo credit: Tom Storm Photography)


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