Virgin | Granta
  • Published: 04/01/2018
  • ISBN: 9781847085610
  • 129x30mm
  • 192 pages

Virgin

April Ayers Lawson

Set mostly in the American South, at the crossroads of a world both secular and devoutly Christian, April Ayers Lawson’s stories evoke the inner lives of young women and men navigating sexual, emotional, and spiritual awakenings.

In ‘The Negative Effects of Homeschooling’, Conner, sixteen, accompanies his grieving mother to the funeral of her best friend Charlene, a woman who was once a man. In ‘The Way You Must Play Always’, Gretchen, a thirteen year old who looks even younger, heads into her weekly piano lesson in nervous anticipation of her next illicit meeting with her teacher’s brother, Wesley. ‘Vulnerability’ charts the edgy attraction a promising young artist begins to feel for her art dealer. And in the title story, ‘Virgin’, Jake grapples with the growing chasm between him and his wife, Sheila, a woman who was still a virgin when they wed. At a cocktail party thrown by a wealthy donor to his hospital, he ponders the intertwining imperatives of marriage – sex and love, violation and trust, spirituality and desire – even as he finds himself succumbing to the temptations of his host.

Self-assured and sensual, this collection introduces the work of a young writer of unusual mastery.

A tremendous intelligence paradoxically amplified by being constrained by intense emotion; Lawson is a distinctive, and extraordinary, writer

Rivka Galchen

[A] finely observed debut... There is a touch of dark Southern gothic in Lawson's world, but it is lit by the sheer intelligence of her writing and her x-ray eye for the inner dynamics of relationships

Phil Baker, Sunday Times Culture

April Ayers Lawson renders complete portraits of sexual relationships, from start to finish, in a way that is fully honest and brave and even occasionally shameless, in the highest sense. Fearless, bold, these stories are entertaining contemporary classics

Amie Barrodale

The Author

April Ayers Lawson is the recipient of the 2011 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, as well as a 2015 writing fellowship from The Corporation of Yaddo. ‘Virgin’ was also named a 2011 favourite short story of the year by Flavorwire Magazine and anthologized in The Unprofessionals: New American Writing from the Paris Review (Penguin 2016). Her fiction has appeared in the Norwegian version of Granta, Oxford American, Vice, ZYZZYVA Crazyhorse, and Five Chapters, among others. She has lectured in the Creative Writing Department at Emory University, and is the 2016-2017 Kenan Visiting Writer at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Virgin and Other Stories is her first book.

More about the author →

April Ayers Lawson on Granta.com

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

The Trouble With Rape

April Ayers Lawson

April Ayers Lawson on rape, trauma, and the difficulty of speaking out about sexual abuse.

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

After

April Ayers Lawson

‘I again told him I wasn’t ready to have sex, and his only response was to lean in and kiss me. The hallway in which we walked seemed to be shrinking, closing in on us.’ – April Ayers Lawson on intimacy after sexual abuse.

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Abuse, Silence, and the Light That Virginia Woolf Switched On

April Ayers Lawson

When Virginia Woolf was thirteen, she was abused by her half-brother George Duckworth. No one believed her - not even her biographers. April Ayers Lawson on Woolf's abuse, and her own.