Every year thousands of our readers vote for their favorite books of the year in the She Reads Awards. Find out more about the books that were nominated and see which book was voted the Best Poetry / Short Story Collection of 2022.
The winner of the Best Poetry / Short Story Collection of 2022 is . . .
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
Morgan Tally’s short stories in Night of the Living Rez take place in a Penobscot Native community in present-day Maine. Her stories portray what it means to belong to the Penobscot community today and explore the ways in which the community’s past continues to echo into the present day. These stories are a memorable portrait of survival, love and perseverance.
The nominees for Best Poetry & Short Story Collections of 2022 are:
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire
Most well known for her work and collaboration with Beyonce’s Lemonade and Black Is King, Warsan Shire has gifted us with a collection of poems that sound just as brilliant as her previous work. Roxane Gay says, “The beautifully crafted poems in this collection are fiercely tender gifts.”
Bliss Montage by Ling Ma
This collection of eight short stories blends the weird and the ordinary together to show how alike they really are. Through surreal and outlandish scenarios, like a woman living with all of her ex-boyfriends or an ancient healing ritual that requires being buried alive, Ling Ma explores a variety of themes and topics.
Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho
Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore life in Los Angeles throughout their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was destined to leave, her beauty only coming second to her ambition—qualities that Jane both admired, and feared. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, alienating an overzealous girlfriend in the process. As the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their connection is threatened by distance and unintended betrayals—and their friendship will either have to become a beacon of home, or of insecurities and shame that holds each of them back.
Liberation Day by George Saunders
These nine exquisitely written short stories by renowned author George Saunders encompass joy, hopelessness, oppression, revolution, fantasy, and reality. “Love Letter” is a message from grandfather to grandson in a dystopian setting; “Ghoul” follows an emotionally complex character named Brian within a Hell-themed section of a Colorado amusement park; “Mother’s Day” portrays the existential reckoning of two women who loved the same man. These stories, amongst the others in this collection, are profound, important, and prompt readers to experience the world through a unique perspective.
Marple: Twelve New Mysteries by Agatha Christie, et al.
Agatha Christie’s beloved Jane Marple is back for the first time in 45 years with new stories of her mystery-solving travels. A Christmas dinner in St Mary Mead turns into an ominous occasion after the arrival of unexpected guests. Dangerous improvisation takes place on a Broadway stage in New York City. A mysterious death is investigated aboard a cruise ship to Hong Kong. The life of a famous writer vacationing in Italy is threatened. Written by twelve acclaimed authors, Marple is a celebration of Agatha Christie’s work and a tribute to one of literature’s most famous and beloved detectives.
Nobody Gets Out Alive by Leigh Newman
In Alaska, women are struggling to survive more than just grizzly bears and charging moose; they also have to face the exhausting legacies of their marriages and families. Each story is as strong and varying as the women who lead it. “Howl Palace” portrays an aging widow who struggles with a rogue hunting dog and the memories of her five ex-husbands, while selling her house after bankruptcy. In the title story “Nobody Gets Out Alive” newly married Katrina visits her hometown of Anchorage and blows up her own wedding reception by flirting with the host and running off with an enormous mastodon tusk. Alongside stories set in today’s Last Frontier, rife with suburban sprawl, global warming, and opioid addiction, Newman delves into remote wilderness of the 1970s and 80s, bringing to life young girls and single moms in search of a wilder, freer, more adventurous America.
Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby
This unforgettable collection shares the stories of women who refuse to be secondary characters. Virgins escape sacrifices, witches defy burning, whores are unabashed and unashamed. Kirby experiments with different structures (like Yelp reviews and WikiHow articles), using her fierce, defiant narrators to prove that creativity cannot be contained. The stories of these women and their triumphs are bold, unique, chaotic, and endlessly entertaining.
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana
The lives of Banneker Terrace’s tenants seamlessly interweave in this collection of eight short stories. These narratives focus on a cast of characters all facing their own personal struggles while the forces of gentrification loom closer. Swan in apartment 6B jeopardizes the life he’s building when his friend is released from prison. Mimi in 14D works tirelessly to raise her child while waitressing and hairdressing on the side. Quanneisha B. Miles in 21J dreams of leaving Banneker behind, but can’t seem to let it go. Elegantly capturing the beauty and pain of the human experience, Stories from the Tenants Downstairs is captivating, inspiring, and vivid.
The Last Suspicious Holdout by Ladee Hubbard
The stories in The Last Suspicious Holdout take place within a Black neighborhood over the span of fifteen years. Thirteen in all, the stories weave together the lives of friends and strangers as they navigate Black middle-class suburbia during an era when the media is replete with stereotypes of Black “super predators” and “welfare Queens.” As characters appear and reappear in and out of each other’s lives, what emerges is an unforgettable portrait of resilience and hope.
Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong
Award-winning Ocean Vuong gives a deeply intimate second poetry collection, as he searches for life among the aftershocks of his mother’s death. Shifting through memory, and in concert with the themes of his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Vuong contends with personal loss, the meaning of family, and the cost of being the product of an American war in America. At once vivid, brave, and propulsive, Vuong’s poems circle fragmented lives to find both restoration as well as the epicenter of the break.
What We Fed to the Manticore by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri
Each of the nine stories in this collection are narrated from animal perspectives and dive into themes of environmentalism, conservation, identity, belonging, loss and family. With vivid emotion and scenery, the tender and heartfelt voices show the world from different points of view that speak to the interconnectedness of people, animals, and nature.