Meghan McNamara
Director of Media and Communications, Stillhouse Press




Wendi Kaufman’s collection of stories exploring the lives girls and women to be published this fall

Washington, D.C. – August 7 – Stillhouse Press has announced that it will publish Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories from debut author Wendi Kaufman, on December 1. This is the first publication for Stillhouse Press, which launched in January 2014 as a collaboration between George Mason University’s Creative Writing MFA Program and Fall for the Book, a Northern Virginia-based book festival and literary nonprofit.

Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories features stories about girls becoming women and women becoming wise, through intimate vignettes of daughters, mothers, and lovers. Kaufman writes of first loves and difficult truths, using a measured blend of biting humor and small, but hard-earned victories. Her stories are as funny as they are heart wrenching, exploring the human relationship in all of its myriad stages and representations. Her characters confront mortality, infertility and adultery, navigating the bittersweet territory of adolescence and examining the world of the modern – sometimes “other” – woman with a fierce clarity.

“Wendi has long been a generous member of the literary community, acting as an advisor, protector, and friend to numerous writers,” said Dallas Hudgens, founder of Stillhouse Press. “In her stories, I saw the same caring spirit, vivid and focused on her characters; young women drawn by a remarkable author and compassionate, funny human being. Her talent speaks loudly, but the compassion and humor are what keep these stories and characters alive in my head long after I’ve read them.” 


Praise for Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories

“Wendi Kaufman’s stories explore the tricky, glorious connections between men and women, mothers and daughters, sisters, fathers and daughters. In them, people often leave each other. They break each other’s hearts. They realize how fleeting and fragile life is. And they triumph. Each story brings the reader a sense of hope in the end. A sense that, yeah, we can all keep going.”

—Ann Hood, author of The Obituary Writer and The Knitting Circle


 “Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories is a pleasure to read, rewarding to ponder, just the right mix of wisdom and wise-cracking—one of those rare literary gems that will appeal to a wide range of smart readers, from the Fault in Our Stars set to the savviest wine bar book club and countless airplanes and beaches in between.”

—Joni Rodgers, New York Times best-selling author of Sugarland and The Hurricane Lover


More on Stillhouse Press

Stillhouse Press (www.stillhousepress.org) is dedicated to craft publishing, seeking out writers whose work affirms the enduring power of the written word to inform and delight. With the student-directed support of George Mason’s MFA program, Stillhouse Press was founded by Relegation Books Publisher Dallas Hudgens, as a way to give graduate students an opportunity to gain experience in small press publishing through hands-on application.

Since that time, Stillhouse’s focus has been on furthering the publisher-author relationship, working intimately with writers to shape their voice and showcase their work at it’s most beautiful potential. In tandem with publishing, Stillhouse has also been working to develop a quarterly, cultural reading series, “Stillhouse Sessions,” aimed at bringing authors a forum to share their work and highlighting Washington, D.C.’s diverse and talented literary community.

The inaugural edition of Stillhouse Sessions will be held Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 7:00 pm at Politics & Prose Bookstore and will feature readings from D.C. native, Maxwell Neely-Cohen (Echo of the Boom) and Ronna Wineberg  (On Bittersweet Place, forthcoming from Relegation Books this Sept.), with musical entertainment from Melodime.

The second Stillhouse Sessions, “The Salon” will be held in conjunction with Northern Virginia’s Fall for the Book festival on Saturday, Sept. 13 at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts and will feature a donation-based reception with craft cocktails and light refreshments, followed by a conversation on craft publishing, moderated by independent publicist and Potomac native, Lauren Cerand and featuring authors Roxane Gay (An Untamed State), Ronna Wineberg, and Mary Kay Zuravleff (reading from Kaufman’s Helen On 86th Street and Other Stories).

More information on both events can be found at www.stillhousepress.org/events.