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softie cover

Megan Howell

November 2024
PB  978-1-959000-31-0
eBook 978-1-959000-32-7






In beautifully melancholy stories of magical realism, the women and girls in Softie transform their bodies and test their sanity, trying to find meaning in the loneliest of places. 

A former child star haunted by a past she can't remember. An Afro-French girl with an obsession for ear lobes. A loner whose only friend is hiding a terrible, otherworldly secret. Each of these stories shares situations that are sometimes fantastical, sometimes commonplace, but always strange. From a Corsican vacation town in its off-season to hospital rooms and a seedy hotel suite in Chicago, experience the every day come fully untethered from reality.


The Upstairs People
Vacuum Cleaner
Cherry Banana
Turtle Soup
Kitty & Tabby
Bluebeard’s First Wife
Devil’s Juice
Apples and Dresses
Melissa, Melissa, Melissa
Anita Garcia-Barnes
Age-Defying Bubble Bath with Tri-Shield Technology



Megan Howell is a DC-based writer. She earned her MFA in fiction from the University of Maryland in College Park, winning both the Jack Salamanca Thesis Award and the Kwiatek Fellowship. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Nashville Review, and The Establishment among other publications.


"The stories in Softie offer a bold and mesmerizing exploration of visceral grief and desire, of violence and survival, and of the body’s capacity for both decay and shimmering afterglow. Expertly blending the strangeness and terror of magic with the strangeness and terror of being alive, this collection introduces Megan Howell as an unforgettable new voice."
—Danielle Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

“Howell’s collection . . . carves a needed space for female characters of color that move beyond the stereotypical white, beautiful, rich characters who dominate the subgenre.” 
—Kristen Gentry, author of Mama Said: Stories

"Megan Howell's Softie is a tender, sometimes absurd, incredibly impressive collection of stories about girlhood and womanhood and otherhood. What she does with these stories, with the wondrous, wandering, and whimsical women they center, is absolutely sublime." 
—LaToya Watkins, author of Holler, Child: Stories

"Smart. Lonely. Rare. Weird. Otherworldly. In Softie, Megan Howell has done something few can: she's made something new. This collection had me heartbroken in the best ways. Softie is the freak anthem I've been waiting for."
—Halle Hill, author of Good Women: Stories