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Wanting Radiance

Karen Salyer McElmurray

June 29, 2021

Today I talked to Karen Salyer McElmurray about her novel Wanting Radiance (UP of Kentucky, 2020).

Fifteen-year-old Miracelle Loving hears the gunshot that kills her mother, and runs to hold her while she dies. She spends the next two decades roaming, fortune telling and picking up odd jobs. Then, as if in a dream, she hears her mother’s voice urging her to seek answers about where she came from. Miracelle finds love, but isn’t ready for it, and she finds a possible path, but doesn’t recognize it. She embarks on a solitary journey that no amount of fortune telling can prepare her for and discovers a home she never knew, a father she never met, and a grandfather she didn’t know existed. Perhaps the most important thing she learns is that she can’t love another person if she doesn’t love herself.

Karen Salyer McElmurray earned an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Virginia, an MA in Creative Writing from Hollins University, and a PhD from the University of Georgia, where she studied American Literature and Fiction Writing.

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