elliott holt

My first novel YOU ARE ONE OF THEM was published by The Penguin Press in 2013. My writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, The Millions, and the 2011 Pushcart Prize anthology. elliottholt.com
  • April 17, 2014 9:35 am

    Female Authors You Should Read

    Time lists 21 living female authors (in addition to new Pulitzer winner Donna Tartt) that you should read. It’s a good list, including Alice Munro, Rachel Kusher, Claire Messud and many awesome others, but it’s too short. In addition to the names on that Time list, I’d add: Lydia Davis, Marilynne Robinson, Jennifer Egan, Joan Didion, Yiyun Li, Lauren Groff, Jamie Quatro, Laura van den Berg, Ramona Ausubel, Elizabeth McCracken, Ann Patchett, Anne Carson, Marie-Helene Bertino, Danielle Evans, Caitlin Horrocks, Sarah Waters, Lydia Millet, Jenny Offill, Stacey D’Erasmo, Molly Antopol, Adelle Waldman, Roxane Gay, Porochista Khakpour, Leslie Jamison, Elif Batuman, Nami Mun, Maggie Nelson, Maggie Shipstead, Jennifer DuBois, Alice Elliott Dark, Karen Joy Fowler, Emily St. John Mandel, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Dani Shapiro, Meghan Daum…I could go on, but you get the idea.

    The point is: There are a lot of amazing writers in the world who happen to be female.

  • April 10, 2014 2:22 pm


    In about a month, Stacey D’Erasmo’s new novel Wonderland will be in stores. It’s a great (and very sexy) book about a middle-aged rock star on her comeback tour in Europe. It’s a story about second chances and making art and following dreams. Trust me. You want to read this one.

  • April 9, 2014 10:06 am

    Some Books I’m Excited to Read

    In Stores Now:

    The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol (I’m halfway through and it’s great!)

    The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson 

    What’s Important is Feeling by Adam Wilson

    Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

    The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

    In the Course of Human Events by Mike Harvkey

    Publishing in May:

    An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

    The Vacationers by Emma Straub

    The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour

    The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner

    Publishing in June:

    Abroad by Katie Crouch

    My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

    I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum

    Publishing in July:

    Life Drawing by Robin Black

    The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil

    Publishing in August:

    2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

  • April 8, 2014 8:33 am

    The Loudly Ticking Clock | VQR Online

    "There are no intensifiers in death. You can’t be ‘pretty dead’ or ‘a little dead’ or ‘too dead.’”

    For VQR’s spring issue, I wrote about the sense of mortality in the new story collections by Lorrie Moore and Lydia Davis.

  • April 5, 2014 10:01 am

    ‘Heathers’: An oral history | EW.com

    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I know every single line by heart. Winona forever.

  • April 2, 2014 8:51 pm


    Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us—a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain—it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say “going through the motions”—this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgment of the effort—the labor, the motions, the dance—of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind.

    This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always arise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.


    — Leslie Jamison, “The Empathy Exams” (via The Believer)

  • April 2, 2014 7:18 pm

    "I have come to believe that forgiveness is the key to survival. It does no good to see everything as a struggle between opposing factions. Few things are that simple."

    — Elliott Holt You Are One Of Them (via sempiternale)

  • March 26, 2014 4:49 pm

    Faint Music by Robert Hass

  • March 26, 2014 10:54 am
    I’m teaching one of my favorite books today. View high resolution

    I’m teaching one of my favorite books today.

  • March 25, 2014 7:50 pm