Valerie Werder, "Thieves: A Novel" (Fence Books, 2023)


Thieves (Fence Books, 2023) is an autofictional account of a gallery girl named Valerie – an art worker in the big city, a product of an American childhood in a small place where she learned to value objects and their promise. The magic of being, thinking, speaking, and writing is all bound up for Valerie, a self-conscious creature, in the ways she can acquire and be acquired. She lives and works in a storm of things, many of which are commodities, including herself. In whip-smart, sharply humorous prose, the consumption and reflectivity of a white American young-womanhood lived in a phenomenological endzone comes delicately to life out of the sharp particulars thefted and loved in this urbane, semi-psychedelic bildungsroman.

Valerie Werder is an art writer, a fiction author, and a doctoral candidate in film and visual studies at Harvard University. Her critical, creative, and scholarly work has been published in Public Culture, BOMB, Flash Art, and various exhibition catalogues, and has been performed at Participant Inc in New York City, and Artspace in New Haven. Werder is a 2023-23 PEN America Prison and Justice Writing Program Mentor, and was previously a 2021 Art & Law Fellow. Her debut novel, Thieves (2023), was winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose.

Iva Glisic is a historian and art historian specialising in modern Russia and the Balkans.

Liz Bradtke is a writer, editor, and communications specialist who works for the Australian Library and Information Association. Liz has studied and taught in the English departments of the University of Melbourne and New York University. Her poetry has been featured in The Age, Voiceworks magazine and Gutcult.

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Iva Glisic

Iva Glisic is a historian and art historian specialising in modern Russia and the Balkans.

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