Open Reading Period Selection


ISBN: 978-1-62557-706-1

Tornado Season

Publication Date: January 2019


TORNADO SEASON arrives as a storm is raging. Yet its stories urge us not to seek shelter, but to leave it. To walk out of our inner place of hiding and face the whirlwind. To recognize it. To acknowledge it and fight it. Ethnicity and culture alongside the U.S.-Mexico border; deportation and immigration; life in the U.S. foster care system—of these tumultuous subjects Courtney Craggett writes with honesty, a big heart, and a complete lack of sentimentality. She shows us ordinary people who suffer, dream, hope, and strive for something just a little bit better. And by doing so, she elevates these stories from the realm of the timely into that of the timeless. Long after the storm has passed, the stories in TORNADO SEASON will ring true and dear for they sing of the innermost yearning of the human heart for freedom, justice, and love.

—Miroslav Penkov, author of EAST OF THE WEST and STORK MOUNTAIN

A lyrical, heartfelt collection, TORNADO SEASON exhibits a breathtaking range of styles, from the nuanced, long form spiral of its title story to flash fictional flights of fantasy, dystopia, and fairy tale. Craggett’s imagination probes the vulnerability of children amidst fraught family situations, menacing nature, and the gross inequities of America’s current immigration policies. These fifteen short stories shimmer with a steady current of empathy and the strength of deep convictions rendered lovely through the nimble language and bright imagery of Craggett’s consistent, impressive talent.


In these stories about the intensity of family and the intimacy of bonds beyond blood, characters help each other, hurt each other, try to save each other, fail, succeed, cross borders, transgress, disrupt boundaries, and love each other so hard. Craggett’s narratives are mystic, lyric, ecstatic, vivacious, and sometimes vicious, and the people in these pages are fierce and flawed, greedy and generous, broken and radiant and very alive. The vivid vision in TORNADO SEASON gives me hope that humanity might figure out how to be better, and that Craggett can show us how.

—Erin Stalcup, author of AND YET IT MOVES and EVERY LIVING SPECIES

About the Author

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Courtney Craggett

Courtney Craggett holds a PhD in English with specializations in creative writing and multi-ethnic American literature from the University of North Texas, where she taught English and served as the American Literary Review’s Assistant Fiction Editor. Her short stories appear in The Pinch, Mid-American Review, Washington Square Review, Booth, Juked, Word Riot, and Monkeybicycle, among others, and were featured on Ploughshares’ blog. Her reviews appear in American Microreviews and Interviews. Twice nominated for a Pushcart, Courtney is the editors’ choice winner of the 2014 Sherwood Anderson Award and the winner of The Pinch’s Spring 2017 Featured Contributor Award. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Weber State University.

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