The Hudson Prize Winner


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ISBN: 978-1-62557-058-1
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Highwire Act & Other Tales of Survival

Publication Date: September 2023


“The varied tales in Highwire Act are clear-eyed in their outlooks on current and future calamities. Whether they’re earthbound or science fiction, there’s no escaping the severity of these tales—or the realism of their visions…”


2022 Hudson Prize Winner

A young couple raises crickets for food, a woman in a caged complex is witness to the deterioration of her neighbor, a homeless man contemplates an infant’s grave from the Westward Expansion, and an uncompromising ego takes on a Biblical rain. These are among the stories from Highwire Act & Other Tales of Survival, where the climate crisis arrives not just as strange and violent weather, but as upheavals in our political and emotional climates as well. As characters struggle for survival with Covid, ecological destruction, grief, or mental illness, they attempt to find solace and restoration from a nature that is increasingly no longer in a position to give back. And with science unable to keep up, fake suicides, fairy tales, and delusion are the thorny tools humans are left with to carry on, yet carry on they do.


JoeAnn Hart’s extraordinary stories take you on a trip: to a dystopian future; to the tidewaters of Gloucester; to the chambers of a haunted mill. But in the end, the real place she takes us is the center of the human heart. These unforgettable tales are generous, brilliant, and fierce.

Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There, and co-author (with Jodi Picoult) of Mad Honey

In her short story collection, Highwire Act and Other Tales of Survival, JoeAnn Hart’s characters go to the sea, deadhead flowers, eat artisanal pizzas, with humor and with humanity. These luminous stories shine long after you’ve read them.

Ann Hood, author of Fly Girl

About the Author

JoeAnn Hart

JoeAnn Hart is the author of the memoir Stamford ’76: A True Story of Murder, Corruption, Race, and Feminism in the 1970s (University of Iowa Press). Her novels are Float (Ashland Creek Press) a dark comedy about plastics in the ocean, and Addled (Little, Brown) a social satire. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in a wide range of literary publications, including the Future Tense column of, the anthology Among Animals 3, the anthology Fire & Water: Stories From the Anthropocene, Orion, The Hopper, Prairie Schooner, The Sonora Review,, the anthology Black Lives Have Always Mattered, and others. Her work often explores the relationship between humans and their environments. She lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts with her husband and a mixed bag of rescue livestock. Highwire Act & Other Tales of Survival is her first story collection.

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