Shelly Oria & Mary Jo Bang - I Know What's Best for You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 7:00pm

Tuesday, June 28, 7pm CT
Left Bank Books' Facebook Live Page or YouTube Page

Left Bank Books welcomes collection editor
Shelly Oria,
who will discuss "a resonant collection that champions reproductive freedoms in the face of widespread opposition"
I Know What's Best for You : Stories on Reproductive Freedom,
on our Facebook Live Page at 7pm CT on June 28th.
St. Louis author and contributor
Mary Jo Bang
will be joining for the discussion.
Contributors Khadijah Queen and Deb Olin Unferth
will also be joining for the discussion.
Join us on our YouTube & Facebook Live Page and order a copy of
from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores!

Shelly Oria is the author of New York 1, Tel Aviv 0 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014) and the editor of Indelible in the Hippocampus, Writings from the MeToo Movement (McSweeney's 2019), as well as the forthcoming I Know What's Best for You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom (McSweeney's 2022). Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review and on Selected Shorts at Symphony Space, received a number of awards, and been translated to several languages. 

Mary Jo Bang is the author of eight books of poems—including A Doll for Throwing and Elegy, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award—a translation of Dante’s Inferno, illustrated by Henrik Drescher, and a translation of Purgatorio. She has received a Hodder Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship. She’s a Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis where she teaches creative writing. Colonies of Paradise, translations of poems by the German poet and novelist Matthias Göritz, is forthcoming from TriQuarterly Books in October.

Khadijah Queen is the author of six books of poetry and hybrid prose, most recently Anodyne (Tin House 2020), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Individual works appear in Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, The Offing, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, The Poetry Review (UK), and widely elsewhere. She holds a PhD in English from University of Denver.



Deb Olin Unferth is the author of six books, including the novel Barn 8. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, Granta, NOON, Conjunctions, and McSweeney’s. She was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, and has received a Guggenheim fellowship, three Pushcart Prizes, and a Creative Capital Fellowship for Innovative Literature. She is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.







Edited by Shelly Oria--author and editor of Indelible in the Hippocampus--this explosive, intersectional collection of essays, fiction, poems, plays, and more, explores the universality of human reproductive experiences, as well as their distinct individuality.

An enlisted sailor must choose between her military career and keeping an unexpected pregnancy. A mother of three decides to become a surrogate, but is unprepared for everything that happens next. A trans man's pregnancy forces them to approach their key relationships in a new way. A woman's choice to live a child-free life is put to the test when her husband's dying wish is for them to become parents. Forced sterilization camps line the borders of America in a dystopian future that may not be far off.

In their own unique and unforgettable way, each storyteller examines our crisis of access to care in ways that are at turns haunting, heartbreaking, and outright funny.

This collection is a collaboration with the Brigid Alliance, a nationwide service that arranges and funds confidential and personal travel support to those seeking abortion care.


"An urgent, vital collection of essays and fiction, by turns frank and fierce, beautiful and brave. Such voices, and stories are too often silenced or unspoken; it's a gift to hear them now, and a duty to listen." -- Peter Ho Davies, author of A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself

Kirkus Reviews (01/15/2022):
A resonant collection that champions reproductive freedoms in the face of widespread opposition. Editor Oria, whose previous collection, Indelible in the Hippocampus, gathered writings on the #MeToo movement, compiles another mixed-media powerhouse. Fiction, memoir, poetry, plays, and art elevate this collection into a technical triumph, finely pairing a range of forms with its contributors' intersectional experiences. Effortlessly diverse, the book reminds readers that reproductive rights are more than a stance on abortion; many pieces explore the choice of childlessness, while others recount the horrors of nonconsensual sterilization. These brave stories are devastating to read and will inspire action (the book is produced in collaboration with the Brigid Alliance, a pro-choice fund that offers travel support for women in need). The fiction leans toward realism--e.g., the expecting lesbians in Kristen Arnett's "The Babies" or the baby-crazy and terminally ill husband in Alison Espach's "Let's Just Be Normal and Have a Baby." The nonfiction unfolds similarly but lands with a haunting, real-life gravity. Riva Lehrer's "Curse of the Spider Woman," which details her struggles with spina bifida and the nonconsensual sterilization she endured after a medical emergency, is one of the most affecting contributions. Beautiful, accessible poems are woven throughout, but the plays often feel trite by comparison, and a comic about White privilege is consumed by its own aggressive wokeness and lacks the heart that makes the other contributions so successful. Central to the collection is an exchange between Oria and her friend, where their discussion was overshadowed by the pandemic and the current toxic political climate. "As we continue our cultural conversation on reproductive health," Oria writes in her introduction, " hope is that we fight the terrible symptom while keeping in mind the larger illness that produces it, a system in which certain bodies hold inherent power over other bodies." Other contributors include Deb Olin Unferth, Tommy Orange, Tiphanie Yanique, and Kirstin Valdez Quade. A clarion call for reproductive rights. COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Event address: 
Virtual Event
I Know What's Best for You By Shelly Oria (Editor), Tommy Orange (Contribution by), R. O. Kwon (Contribution by) Cover Image
By Shelly Oria (Editor), Tommy Orange (Contribution by), R. O. Kwon (Contribution by)
ISBN: 9781952119217
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: McSweeney's - June 7th, 2022


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