Courtney Denelle

Jan 12, 2024

It's Not Nothing

Santa Fe Writers Project 2022

Rosemary Candwell's past has exploded into her present. Down-and-out and deteriorating, she drifts from anonymous beds and bars in Providence, to a homeless shelter hidden among the hedge-rowed avenues of Newport, and through the revolving door of service jobs and quick-fix psychiatric care, always grasping for hope, for a solution. She's desperate to readjust back into a family and a world that has deemed her a crazy bitch living a choice they believe she could simply un-choose at any time. She endures flashbacks and panic attacks, migraines and nightmares. She can't sleep or she sleeps for days; she lashes out at anyone and everyone, especially herself. She abuses over-the-counter cold medicine and guzzles down anything caffeinated just to feel less alone. What if her family is right? What if she is truly broken beyond repair? Drawn from the author's experience of homelessness and trauma recovery, It's Not Nothing is a collage of small moments, biting jokes, intrusive memories, and quiet epiphanies meant to reveal a greater truth: Resilience never looks the way we expect it to look.

Courtney Denelle is the author of IT’S NOT NOTHING (Santa Fe Writers Project, 2022), a novel-in-fragments drawn from her experience of homelessness and recovery, and the forthcoming novel Real Piece of Work, an art world satire that explores image-craft and the unbidden toll of a life lived in persona. Her stories have appeared in the Alembic, Tahoma Literary Review, Southampton Review, and elsewhere. Courtney was also winner of the 2021 Poets & Writers Maureen Egen award, and she has been granted a Hawthornden Fellowship and a MacColl Johnson Fellowship, as well as residencies from Hedgebrook and the Jentel Foundation.

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Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.

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Chris Holmes

Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.

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