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ISBN: 978-1-955239-11-0
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Categories Fiction, Nomadic

We Grew Here

Publication Date: November 2021


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. We Grew Here was originally published by Nomadic.

From the depths of Oakland’s rocky soil, fertile ground once rich with soul and prowled by Panthers, comes this defiant mantra of rhyme and reason. In the interconnected stories comprising We Grew Here , one journeys through the deep-rooted, diverse communities of this colorful Bayside city of trendsetters and go-getters. Amid the timely battle for The Town’s future, transplants and locals collide for a prime space to call home. The cunning guides on this adventure-from-the-headlines are childhood friends, and Oakland Greeks, Pete and Alex—hustling in pursuit of the artist’s life. Rife with vibrant prose and dialogue true to the mystique of “Oakland cool,” We Grew Here is a commanding novel-in-stories from hometown author, Apollo Papafrangou.


We Grew Here thoughtfully engages questions of authenticity, identity, race, gentrification, and what it means to make a life. Through art, through work, through love and friendships and local community, these vivid characters are not only searching but also learning the art of being and belonging. There’s a tender masculinity here, both funny and poignant, and these lucid, linked stories explore the ways place, language, and landscape shape us, and the ways we shape them in return. Papafrangou crafts a loving, lively portrait of Oakland—its joys, its tensions, its complexities—and of those who call it home.
Natalie Bakopoulos, author of Scorpionfish

We Grew Here is a sly, quirky and entertaining journey through a cool Oakland landscape of strivers and dreamers.
Susan Straight, National Book Award finalist and author of Between Heaven and Here

The stories in We Grew Here comprise a vibrant mosaic of Oakland, all grounded through the lens of the Greek immigrant community. Apollo Papafrangou is an energetic and observant writer who creates passionate characters out here working and hustling their art. This is a love letter to The Town, its people, its history, heart and humor.
James Cagney, author of Black Steel Magnolias in the Hour of Chaos Theory

About the Author

Apollo Papafrangou

Hailing from Oakland, CA, Apollo Papafrangou is the author of the acclaimed debut novel Wings of Wax (Olive Leaf Editions, 2016). He has also written for HBO Films, which optioned the film rights to his story The Fence (2000-2004). His fiction and poetry has appeared in ZYZZYVA magazine, Oakland Review, The Bookends Review, Sparkle & Blink, and the Simon & Schuster anthology Trapped. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.

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