An Author Event featuring Jenny Sadre-Orafai


Union Ave Books is excited to present an author event with Jenny Sadre-Orafai and her new book DEAR OUTSIDERS on November 4, 2023 @ 3 pm at Union Ave Books.

Jenny will be in conversation with local poet Anna Laura Reeve for this event.

About the Author:

Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of Paper Cotton Leather, Malak, and Dear Outsiders and she is the co-author of Book of Levitations. Her prose has appeared in The Rumpus, Fourteen Hills, The Los Angeles Review, The Collagist, and others. She has taught at the university level for twenty-one years. Currently, she is a Professor of English at Kennesaw State University where she teaches creative writing.

She has served as a mentor in the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Writer to Writer mentorship program and is a mentor in the Periplus Collective, a program for writers of color. In 2012, Sadre-Orafai co-founded the literary journal Josephine Quarterly with poet Komal Mathew. She is the former Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Georgia Writers. She explores identity, the natural world, and family in her poetry collections and in her essays.


About the Book:

Set in a small tourist town, two siblings attempt to navigate and survive an unfamiliar landscape after their parents' deaths while trying to simultaneously forget and remember them. Dear Outsiders explores how we are part of and stranger to our environments and to our families and how identities form by where and who we come from. The collection is a map of isolation and longing and of what it means to be deserted and alive.


"Dear Outsiders allows readers to wade into a world where maps become menus, a father’s face is a cliff, and a mother’s fingernails are circus peanuts. Written like a tender address to those who dwell on the periphery, Jenny Sadre-Orafai offers an accumulation of negations while questioning the unknown: ‘What’s the man’s name who names the storms?’ Using both minor and major sensory details, Sadre-Orafai provides a topographical color theory of objects that can only be perceived with the shrewd eyes of a poet—the blue versus orange beach towels, the two red plastic shovels, a yellow gold chain, a stack of pink roses, pawpaw, pigweed, and the mud that smells like dead eggs. Dear Outsiders is a book that you will pull into your chest like ‘the thread, the net, the warning’ that ‘our home is a snake with pulled teeth.’ Even though, as Sadre-Orafai writes, ‘water isn’t easy to read,’ reading or rather swimming through this book might be what saves you. I was willing to become ‘even more animal’ spending time with these poems.

Are you?"

Alison C. Rollins, author of Library of Small Catastrophes  

"Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s Dear Outsiders is a lamentation, an intimate catalogue, an off-script map that mimes the chaotic regularity of the big, wide sea. In their evocative, ecocritical attention to seaside outsiders, townies, and tourists, these interlocking vignettes prompt readers to relearn the language of landscape, love, and, relatedly, the impermanent cadence of our existence. Here the mysteriousness of nature lives within the details of the human body, in the intricacies of our most intimate relationships across time. While reading, I felt I embarked on a deep, urgent journey with Sadre-Orafai—one that provokes an estrangement from symptoms of our everyday inattention, one that lays achingly bare all that we take for granted on this finite Earth."

Jessica Q. Stark, author of Savage Pageant and Buffalo Girl

"With crystalline precision, Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s Dear Outsiders immerses us in the dream-logic of childhood. A strange, surreal plunge into underwater domesticity, orphanhood, and grief, Sadre-Orafai’s lyric prose is a tidal force, weaving a syntax that pushes and pulls the reader through the terror of absence and estrangement. Spoken through a plural first-person we, Sadre-Orafai invents a grammar of connected memory and collective loss, the act of remembering itself a fugue state in which the undertow of grief “is the rip that sweeps bodies under and into [our chests].” A singular, haunting collection."

Vanessa Angélica Villareal, author of Beast Meridian

Event date: 
Saturday, November 4, 2023 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Event address: 
517 Union Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37902
Dear Outsiders: Poems By Jenny Sadre-Orafai Cover Image
ISBN: 9781629222387
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Akron Press - March 7th, 2023