Debut author April Ford bursts onto the literary scene with this edgy, stunning collection that deftly examines the underbelly of the human condition through a cross-section of fascinating characters—a correctional officer fixated on a juvenile offender, a Goth teenager and her werewolf boyfriend, a pyromaniac by happenstance, a set of twins haunted by an unconfirmed death.
Pushing beyond the norms of daily life and into the sometimes morally lawless worlds of her characters, Ford explores the eccentric, the perverse, the disenfranchised, and the darkly comic possibilities at play in us all.
Grand prize-winner of the 2013 SFWP Literary Awards Program in fiction, and shortlisted for SALT Publishing’s international Scott Prize, April is also a finalist for the 2014 Molly Ivors Prize for Fiction and is Managing Editor of Digital Americana Magazine. She teaches creative writing at State University of New York College at Oneonta.
“Frighteningly unsentimental stories about childhood and youth.”
“Throughout The Poor Children, our gaze is held on the lives of children who demand our empathy but will not tolerate our sentimentality. In this hard-edged debut, April L. Ford shows promise of a brilliant career.” —George Hovis, New Madrid Journal
“April L. Ford’s stories are a scorching corrective to kneejerk sentiment; they remind us that youth, while it has its pleasures, is essentially a battleground. A memorable debut.” — Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges
April L. Ford’s prose is a sort of nimbus about darkness. She deals with painful subject matter in an unflinching manner reminiscent of some of Cormac McCarthy’s early books. The Poor Children is a compelling, brave, and original debut.
— Naeem Murr, author of The Perfect Man
These are smart, sad, funny, reckless, all-over-the-emotional-map stories that never lose their focus nor their grip on the reader. A harrowing and outstanding collection.
— Fred G. Leebron, author of In The Middle of All This
“Brutal and brilliant are the words that come to mind to describe April L. Ford’s award-winning short story collection. Here are seven searing stories delineating the lives of yes, economically-deprived children, but more devastatingly, children whose emotional deprivation drives them to the outer dark of madness. In the no-man’s land of rural French Canada, Ms. Ford inhabits deeply the voices of teenage protagonists who must carve out destiny and identity from a paucity of resources—what they fashion is terrifying—and thanks to Ms. Ford’s masterful insight and prose—a must-read.” — Alice Lichtenstein, author of Lost
“From the amazing first sentence of April L. Ford’s debut collection, The Poor Children, I was hooked. This is a rarity: a compellingly original voice and vision.”
— David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author