Halle Hill & Kristen Gentry discussing and signing Good Women & Mama Said

Thursday, April 18, 2024 - 7:00pm
161 Lexington Green Cir
Lexington, KY 40503

Halle Hill & Kristen Gentry discussing and signing Good Women & Mama Said

Thursday, April 18 at 7pm ET 

Location: Joseph-Beth Lexington

Join us for Halle Hill & Kristen Gentry discussing and signing Good Women & Mama Said. Optional RSVP is below, but not required to attend the event.


Good Women by Halle Hill

"A stunning slow burn brimming with observation, emotion, and incident.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“A fantastic firecracker of a collection I'll return to again and again!” —Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

In her dynamic debut, Halle Hill’s Good Women delves into the lives of twelve Black women across the Appalachian South. 

A woman boards a Greyhound bus barreling toward Florida to meet her sugar daddy’s mother; a state fair employee considers revenge on a local preacher; a sister struggles with guilt as she helps her brother plan to run away with a man he's seeing in secret; a young woman who works for a scam for-profit college navigates the lies she sells for a living. 

Darkly funny and deeply human, Good Women observes how place, blood-ties, generational trauma, obsession, and boundaries—or lack thereof—influence how we navigate our small worlds, and how those worlds so often collide in ways we don’t expect. Through intimate moments of personal choice, Hill carefully shines a light on how these twelve women shape and form themselves through faith and abandon, transgression and conformity, community, caution, and solitude.

With precision and empathy, Hill captures the mundane in moments of absurdity, and bears witness to both joy and heartbreak, reminding us how the next moment could be life-changing. Vibrant and exacting, Hill is a must-read new voice in literary fiction.


Halle Hill is from East Tennessee and lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A graduate of Maryville College and the M.F.A. Writing program at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), she is the winner of the 2021 Crystal Wilkinson Creative Writing Prize and was a finalist for the 2021 ASME Award for Fiction. Her short stories have been published in Joyland, New Limestone Review, Southwest Review, and The Oxford American, where she won the 2020 Debut Fiction Prize.



Mama Said by Kristen Gentry

“A celebration of Black family life that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.” —Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

“The collection will reshape what you think about the region and the people that inhabit it.” —Debutiful podcast

“Surprising and revelatory. . . . I love this book.” —Stephanie Powell Watts, author of No One Is Coming to Save Us

“This book has staying power.” —Crystal Wilkinson, author of Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts

Original stories of Black family life in Louisville, Kentucky, for readers of Dantiel Moniz (Milk Blood Heat) and Kai Harris (What the Fireflies Knew)

The linked stories in Mama Said are set in Louisville, Kentucky, a city with a rich history steeped in tobacco, bourbon, and gambling, indulgences that can quickly become gripping and destructive vices. Set amid the tail end of the crack epidemic and the rise of the opioid crisis, Mama Said evokes Black family life in all its complexity, following JayLynn, along with her cousins Zaria and Angel, as they come of age struggling against their mothers’ drug addictions.

JayLynn heads to college intent on gaining distance from her depressed mother, only to learn that her mother’s illness has reached a terrifying peak. She fears the chaos and instability of her extended family will prove too much for her boyfriend, whose idyllic family feels worlds, not miles, apart from her own. When bats invade Zaria’s new home, she is forced to determine how much she is willing to sacrifice to be a good mother. Angel rebels on Derby night, risking her safety to connect with her absent mother and the wild ways that consumed her.

Mama Said separates from stereotypes of Black families, presenting instead the joy, humor, and love that coexist with the trauma of drug abuse within communities. Kristen Gentry’s stories showcase the wide-reaching repercussions of addiction and the ties that forever bind daughters to their mothers, flaws and all.


Kristen Gentry is the author of Mama Said. She received her MFA from Indiana University. Her award-winning fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Jabberwock Review, and other journals. She is a VONA and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference alumna, former Director of Creative Writing at SUNY Geneseo, and a member of the inaugural Poets & Writers publicity incubator for debut writers. She lives and writes in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky,  helping other black women and girls share their stories.


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