Becoming Real

Pact Press Titles
$17.95 - $28.95
Current Stock:

Expected release date is 30th Sep 2024

According to editor Laraine Herring, “Speculative memoir is an umbrella genre in which the questions of the memoirist’s book are addressed through speculative elements, which may include ghosts, metaphors, what-ifs, imaginative scenarios, and fantasies. It is memoir focused more on the possibilities of the internal world than the facts of the external world.” Speculative has long been accepted in the domain of fiction, but speculative is not in conflict with a lived experience or the story of a life. Speculative essays empower us to claim all of ourselves and our moments—not just the ones the patriarchy or dominant culture wants to reinforce. This powerful collection of seventeen women’s essays grapples with themes of loss, individuation, abuse, authenticity, and identity through speculative elements. Perhaps they will also help you remember parts of your own heart and give you new language to express your singular, magical lives.

Praise for Becoming Real

“Herein lie the words of writers who find succor in a leaf, in sixty-ninety-twelve mothers, in data, a sketch, a cold spot, or in the aid of a fireman. The essays in Becoming Real infuse the ordinary with the ethereal, reclaiming lakes, liquor stores, leave-takings, and legacies in gulping swallows. These writers dive into life to show readers the spaces in between lived moments.”

—Patricia Harrelson, author of Between Two Women: Conversations about Love & Relationship

Becoming Real: Women Reclaim the Power of the Imagination through Speculative Nonfiction expands the notion of what memoir can be and do. Narratives about communicating with the dead, communing with the natural world, and shape-shifting as an expression of intense emotion offer readers new ways to understand the mysterious connections that give life dimension. If you’re a writer exploring how to express experiences that defy the laws of physics or commonly-held beliefs about what’s real, this book is for you.”

—Zoe Zolbrod, author of The Telling

“Cracking the frame of traditional nonfiction to redefine the truth of living, the speculative work included in Becoming Real creates space for the genre to breathe. The ghosts, dreams, fairy tales, and experimental essay forms included in this anthology both inspire and complicate our understanding of what truth in nonfiction can look like—and perhaps, by insisting on the validity of the surreal, how we can better explain ourselves.”

—Kristine Langley Mahler, author of A Calendar is a Snakeskin

Becoming Real is the perfect gift for your best friends on their birthdays. As we grow older and the world becomes increasingly unhealthy, it is the power of the imagination that will pull us through. From Amy Goldmacher’s fantastic scholarly report on communicating with the dead to Gayle Brandeis’ tug to return to natal waters to spawn again and everything in between, reading this book is like being taken by the hand of a group of wisdom keepers who have lived long enough to know that the answers are in our own hands. Visionary and empowering in scope, this collection encourages readers to shape their lives in new and inspiring ways.”

—Cassie Premo Steele, author of Beaver Girls

“The phantasmal and fantastical, woven into the realistic, offer reflection and insight in Becoming Real. Discover the power of belief in this wistful, mournful, spiritual, generative, and carefully curated and inclusive collection of women’s speculative nonfiction. The power of the mind to hold, haunt, and heal will leave readers spellbound by its magic.”

—Deirdre Fagan, author of Find a Place for Me

“Who decides what is real? The stories in Becoming Real reckon with truth in all its magical, dreamy, otherworldly splendor, a virtuoso tightrope act between fact and fiction, certainty and speculation. These seventeen women writers dare us to witness and remember the gorgeous and the surreal inside our real lives. Yes, they seem to say. Of course it happened that way.”

—Nancy Stohlman, author of After the Rapture and Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities

“A searing, searching, and expansive collection, by turns heartbreaking and illuminating. There is something fierce and crucial in the act of women writing and re-writing their selves and lives before our very eyes.”

—Lindsay Lerman, author of I’m From Nowhere and What Are You