The women in “This is Not Your City,” the first collection from Michigan author Caitlin Horrocks, are lost, wounded and doomed. One has been reincarnated 127 times. Another is a hostage, her cruise ship blocked by Somali pirates. The youngest, a fifth-grader, is ostracized when she and a friend unpack their new school supplies: pencil cases decorated with unicorns and space dolphins.
“Hanna and I were startled but not stupid,” Horrocks writes, “and if no one had noticed us that day we would both have begged our mothers to take us to K-Mart that night and exchange them. But it was too late. We were the girls with the wrong school supplies, and everything we did after that, even the things that were just like everyone else, were the wrong things to do.”
Horrocks will read from these and other stories when the Creative Writers Reading Series resumes at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, on Oct. 17. Her 6 p.m. reading and the reception that will precede it are free and open to the public. Both events will be held in the Larry and Kathryn Smith Chapel.
Horrocks is an associate professor of writing at Grand Valley State University and the fiction editor of The Kenyon Review. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House and “The Best American Short Stories 2011.” Her appearance at Penn State Behrend is coordinated by the college’s B.F.A. in Creative Writing degree program with support from the Clarence A. and Eugenie Baumann Smith Fund. For more information, call 814-898-6108 or visit Behrend.psu.edu/readings.