9 Fall Book Debuts By Women You're Going To Want To Read Immediately
The list of things I love about fall is practically endless: the changing weather, Pumpkin Spice Lattés, the leaves turning color up and down the east coast, the not-so-distant memories of a brand new school year, more Pumpkin Spice Lattés and, of course, all the exciting debut books that come out in the fall. (Oh, and did mention Pumpkin Spice Lattés? Because nothing pairs better with some great fall debut fiction and poetry than a Pumpkin Spice Latté. Or six.)
This fall’s list of literary debuts is packed with some powerfully-talented women writers. From 500-plus-page long reads (that you won’t be able to put down;) to brand new, must-read titles in translation; to breakout feminist fiction; to poetry collections that will challenge your thinking and blow your mind, this season’s line up of female fiction debuts will keep you in reading until Christmahannukwanzadan. (When you’ll have a whole new list of debuts to check out, alongside another festive — though not nearly as magical — latte flavor to indulge in.)
So grab yourself a Pumpkin Spice Latté (I did mention these, right?) and make some space in your TBR pile, because here are 9 of fall's female debut authors you’re going to want to read immediately.
'Stay with Me' by Ayobami Adebayo
After making it’s US debut on August 22, debut author Ayobami Adebayo’s Stay with Me became an instant must-read. Now shortlisted for the 2017 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, this novel takes readers into the marriage and fertility struggles of two characters: Yejide and Akin. Though the couple lives in Nigeria, where polygamy is traditional, Akin never invited other wives into their home — until now, when family members arrive at their door with a second, presumably more fertile wife. Filled with big-hearted feelings and all kinds of female strength, Stay with Me is a gorgeous and emotional debut.
'The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao' by Martha Batalha
Making its global appearance on October 10, Martha Batalha's debut novel The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao has already earned bestseller status in Brazil. Now, with translations available in over 10 languages, Batalha's novel makes its way to bookstore shelves in the U.S. — and you're going to love it. Batalha takes you through nearly 100 years of life in Rio de Janeiro, introducing readers to Euridice Gusmao, a spirited and ambitious woman who married only for her parents' sake and is now desperate to fulfill her own dreams in spite of her traditionally oppressive husband. Filled with intrigue, mystery, sadness, and a whole lot of strong female leads, The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao isn't a novel to miss this season.
'A Selfie as Big as the Ritz' by Lara Williams
Out at the end of October, Lara William's debut story collection, A Selfie As Big As the Ritz tells a series of coming-of-age tales for anyone who thought they already checked that box in their early 20s. Filled with humor and lots of heart, the stories in this collection explore that crazy, predictably unpredictable, angst-ridden time of life between a woman's early twenties and middle age: you know, those years when we figured we'd have things all together by now, but really, we're only just getting started.
'Electric Arches' by Eve L. Ewing
Blending poetry, visual art, and narrative prose, Eve L. Ewing’s Electric Arches is out September 12 from Haymarket Books, and transports readers from the streets of Chicago in the 1990s to an unspecified time and place in the future — all tinged with something a little unreal, a little magical. Filled with meditations on race, gender, identity, and all kinds of coming-of-age struggle and joy, Electric Arches explores black girlhood and womanhood, and you’ll definitely want it in your TBR pile this season.
'The Resurrection of Joan Ashby' by Cherise Wolas
Another book that landed on shelves at the end of August, Cherise Wolas’ hefty debut novel, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, introduces readers to fictional literary sensation Joan Ashby — a woman who is singularly focused on her career to the point of denouncing both romantic partnerships and children. But then she falls in love and gets married, later finding herself unexpectedly pregnant and raising two sons. After putting her creative masterpiece on hold for decades, Joan is primed to return to the spotlight — until something forces her to question every choice she’s made about life, love, and art.
'Her Body and Other Parties' by Carmen Maria Machado
Out on October 3 from Graywolf Press, Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado is another story collection you’ve got to pick up this fall. Machado has already been compared to writers like Karen Russell and Kelly Link, and each of the eight stories in this fierce, feminist debut collection blend magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism to take on the journey of a woman’s body in the world — the body’s capacity for grace, sex, desire; and the violence inflicted upon it. Check it out.
'The Closer' by Shaz Kahng
As a woman whose titles have included Global Women's Director at Nike and CEO/President of Lucy Activewear, Shaz Kahng knows what it's like to be a powerful businesswoman in a male-dominated field. She's taken that real-life inspiration to fiction with her debut title The Closer — the first of her Ceiling Smashers series, about a secret society of successful professional women dedicated to mentoring one another to success. In The Closer, readers meet Vivien Lee, a woman who has spent her entire career making other people's dreams come true, and who is now — possibly against all odds — about to achieve some of her own.
'Autonomous' by Annalee Newitz
This sci-fi debut is already receiving plenty of buzz, and it’s not even out until September 19. Autonomous by Annalee Newitz takes readers to the year 2144, where the future is run by corporations and a genetics engineer–turned–drug pirate Judith Chen has accidentally engineered a drug that makes people addicted to their jobs — literally, to the point of insanity. Filled with questions about property and ownership; free will; and power dynamics between men, women and economic classes in a dystopic future, Autonomous is an ambitious and cerebral fall read.
'The Misfortune of Marion Palm' by Emily Culliton
For lovers of Maria Semple and all of literature's unpredictable, scrappy women, The Misfortune of Marion Palm is author Emily Culliton's debut novel, just released at the end of summer. If you haven't had a chance to add it to your TBR pile yet, this novel introduces readers to Marion, a woman who marries for wealth but soon discovers she's been a little duped. (Or, her expectations were just exceedingly high.) So what does she do? Embezzles money from her daughters' private school and flees home with a backpack full of $40,000. Culliton's storytelling is witty and irresistible.