Charis welcomes Morgan Thomas in conversation with Meredith Talusan for a celebration of MANYWHERE: Stories. Morgan Thomas's Manywhere features lush and uncompromising stories about characters crossing geographical borders and gender binaries.
The nine stories in Morgan Thomas’s shimmering debut collection witness Southern queer and genderqueer characters determined to find themselves reflected in the annals of history, whatever the cost. As Thomas’s subjects trace deceit and violence through Southern tall tales and their own pasts, their journeys reveal the porous boundaries of body, land, and history, and the sometimes ruthless awakenings of self-discovery.
A trans woman finds her independence with the purchase of a pregnancy bump; a young Virginian flees their relationship, choosing instead to immerse themself in the life of an intersex person from Colonial-era Jamestown. A writer tries to evade the murky and violent legacy of an ancestor who supposedly disappeared into a midwifery bag, and in the uncanny title story, a young trans person brings home a replacement daughter for their elderly father.
Winding between reinvention and remembrance, transition and transcendence, these origin stories resound across centuries. With warm, meticulous emotional intelligence, Morgan Thomas uncovers how the stories we borrow to understand ourselves in turn shape the people we become. Ushering in a new form of queer mythmaking, Manywhere introduces a storyteller of uncommon range and talent.
Morgan Thomas’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, VICE, Electric Literature, Ploughshares, them., and StoryQuarterly, where their story won the 2019 Fiction Prize. They are the recipient of a Bread Loaf Work-Study Grant, a Fullbright Grant, the Penny Wilkes Scholarship in Writing and the Environment, and the winner of the inaugural Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters. They have also received fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Arctic Circle. A graduate of the University of Oregon MFA program, they live in Portland.
Meredith Talusan (she/they) is the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir Fairest and has contributed to many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, WIRED, and Condé Nast Traveler. She is also founding executive editor and current contributing editor for them., Condé Nast's LGBTQ+ digital platform. They are currently working on a novel.
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"These breathlessly imaginative stories are all the more remarkable for the elegant, organic ways in which the author unhooks language from its entrenched assumptions about men and women." —The New York Times Book Review
"Wonderful stories. Impressive range. Delightfully, compellingly queer."—Roxane Gay
Finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction
"Talusan sails past the conventions of trans and immigrant memoirs." --The New York Times Book Review
"A ball of light hurled into the dark undertow of migration and survival." --Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous