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Fiona Helmsley‘s Girls Gone Old (We Heard You Like Books, 2017) is wildly honest, intense in its personal and cultural inquiry, and often brilliantly...

Fiona Helmsley‘s Girls Gone Old (We Heard You Like Books, 2017) is wildly honest, intense in its personal and cultural inquiry, and often brilliantly hilarious. Helmsley uses her keen eye, rich life experience, and incredible humor to get readers to consider and swallow hard truths, while also considering the wider cultural implications. A friend’s questions regarding the subject matter of her work (often continued reflection upon the complexity of her youth), posed on the night before her 40th birthday, acted as a springboard for this collection, and the 2016 presidential election results of cemented the deal. Helmsley has crafted sophisticated essays about the confluence of the late 20th-century television, art, and sexual fantasy; addiction and illness; school shootings and serial killers; family; Andy Warhol; ‘Mork and Mindy’; and the sleazy (yet sexy) misogyny of Axl Rose…” She stares down what many would avert our eyes from, and probes, with curiosity and openness the many contours of shame, until it becomes a terrain of connection for her readers.

Fiona Helmsley’s writing can be found online at websites like The Rumpus, Jezebel, The Weeklings, The Hairpin, PANK and in various anthologies like Ladyland and The Best Sex Writing of the Year. A multiple Pushcart nominee, her book of essays and stories, My Body Would be the Kindest of Strangers was released in 2015.


Barbara Lawhorn is an Assistant Professor at Western Illinois University. She’s into literacy activism, walking Banjo (the best dog in the history of the universe), running, baking and eating bread, and finding the wild places, within and in the world. Her most recent work can be found at The Longleaf Pine, BLYNKT, Nebo: A Literary Magazine, and Naugatuck River Review. Her favorite creative endeavors are her kids, Annaleigh and Jack.