Why’d You Have to Go and Make Things So Complicated: Untangling the Secrets of Our Lives

Sat, May 18, 2024
Room 203
Greensboro Cultural Center

Three novelists explore how lives can become intertwined, connected, and disconnected by catastrophe, betrayal, and secrets. In MARIA HUMMEL’s Goldenseal, once-best friends who haven’t spoken in forty years reunite in downtown Los Angeles where, in one sweeping conversation, they unravel the betrayal, secrets, mysteries, and regrets that tore them apart. DAVID JOY’s Those We Thought We Knew asks what happens when the people you’ve always known turn out to be monsters, and the dark underbelly of a community is revealed as a young Black artist returns to her ancestral home to trace her family history—and finds much more. In CHIN-SUN LEE’s Upcountry, three women with very different life stories are thrust together in a psychological thriller set in a small Catskills town.


MARIA HUMMELL is a novelist and poet. Her books include Goldenseal, Lesson in Red, a follow-up to Still Lives, a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine pick, a Book of the Month Club pick, and BBC Culture Best Book of 2018; Motherland, a San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year; and House and Fire, winner of the APR/Honickman Poetry Prize. She is a graduate of the UNCG MFA program and a professor at the University of Vermont. LEARN MORE

DAVID JOY is the author of Those We Thought We Knew, winner of the 2023 Willie Morris Award; When These Mountains Burn, winner of the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award; The Line That Held Us, winner of the 2018 Southern Book Prize; The Weight of This World; and Where All Light Tends to Go, Edgar finalist for Best First Novel. His stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in a number of publications, most recently Garden & Gun, The New York Times Magazine, and TIME. Joy lives in Tuckasegee, North Carolina.

CHIN-SUN LEE is the author of the debut novel Upcountry, listed among Publishers Weekly’s Big Indie Books of Fall 2023 and Debutiful’s Most Anticipated Debut Books of 2023. She’s one of Poets & Writers’ 5 Over 50 Debut Authors of 2023 and is also a contributor to Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology, and the New York Times bestselling anthology Women in Clothes. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, Literary Hub, The Georgia Review, The Rumpus, Joyland, and The Believer Logger, among other publications. LEARN MORE


STEVE MITCHELL has published in the Iron Horse Review, CRAFT Literary, Harpur Palate, entropy, december magazine, Southeast Review, and the North Carolina Literary Review, among others. His new short story collection, The Reason the Dress is Yellow, will be published in September by Press 53, and his new novel, Body of Trust, with art by Christine Kirouac, will be published in late 2024 by The Daily Fish. Cloud Diary (a novel) was published in 2018 by C&R Press and The Naming of Ghosts (a short story collection) was published in 2013 by Press 53. He’s co-owner of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, NC and Editor at Scuppernong Editions.