Xhenet Aliu is the author of the novel Brass (Random House, 2018), which O Magazine noted as “the arrival of a writer whose work will stand the test of time.” It was long-listed for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Book Prize, and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Her debut fiction collection, Domesticated Wild Things (University of Nebraska Press, 2013) won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction. Aliu’s writing has appeared in Glimmer Train, Hobart, American Short Fiction, Lenny, LitHub, Buzzfeed, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She has received multiple scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, and a fellowship from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, among other awards, including a special mention in the Pushcart Prize anthology. She also wrote the introduction to a book of photography by Tema Stauffer entitled , Upstate (Daylight Books).
Aliu’s work examines the lives of the poor and working class, and working class women in particular. When asked about this theme in her work, Aliu notes, “When I first started writing seriously, I was panicked because I thought a person like me, with no pedigree and not a cosmopolitan bone in my body, had no stories to tell. I didn’t think people wanted to read about things like poor and working-class people, recent immigrants who weren’t success stories, post-industrial factory towns, because I so infrequently encountered them myself as a reader. Eventually I realized that was exactly the reason I was writing this story.”
A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, whose brass industry attracted large waves of Eastern European immigrants before the demise of the factories in the 1970s and ’80s, she was born to an Albanian father and a Lithuanian American mother. She now lives in Athens, Georgia, and works as an academic librarian.
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