Atticus Signs Two New Distinct Voices of Fiction

KENSINGTON, MD — Atticus Books is thrilled to announce the signing of two new authors—Tommy Zurhellen and Steve Himmer—whose unique, compelling voices are bound to delight readers far and wide for years to come.

Zurhellen’s debut work, Nazareth, North Dakota, is a modern re-telling of the story of a young Messiah, set in the lonely prairie of North Dakota beginning in the early 1980s. It is not a simple religious allegory or a self-serving vision of a second coming, but a complex, character-driven novel that holds the reader’s attention with multiple narratives and finely nuanced descriptions. Instead of telling the same old story over again, only with a different setting, Zurhellen handles the Biblical imagery with subtlety and skillfully draws in gritty freehand a fascinating portrayal about the rough-and-tumble life of a rural kid with superpowers.

Himmer’s debut novel, The Bee-Loud Glade, is the charming story of a decorative hermit who lives and works on a billionaire’s estate, and whose daily experience is shaped by his employer’s whims. The book combines a darkly comic commentary on modern work and wealth with a postmodern pastoral landscape. It brings a playfulness more commonly found in urban fiction to an outdoor setting.

Tom McCarthy, whose novel, C, has made The Man Booker Prize longlist this year, describes The Bee-Loud Glade as “an allegorical novel that seems eerily contemporary. Thoreau meets Ballard, meets Huysmans and many more.”

Nazareth, North Dakota and The Bee-Loud Glade, both scheduled for spring 2011 release, are by writers who have a strong track record of publishing tight and entertaining fiction in an unsoiled laundry list of literary journals.

“These guys possess writing chops to burn,” says Dan Cafaro, founder and publisher of Atticus Books, an independent press based in the Washington, D.C., area. “I know I have said and will continue to say that about every writer we sign, but with Tommy [Zurhellen] and Steve [Himmer], I feel like we’ve hit the mother lode. They have that perfect combination of youth, energy, talent and discipline. Their writing exhibits a sign of maturity and wisdom well beyond their years. And besides that, they know how to spin a good yarn.”

Zurhellen has been teaching creative writing at Marist College since 2004, and serves as director of the Marist Summer Writing Institute and the Writer-in-Residence program. He received his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Alabama in 2002. His short works have been published in Quarterly West, Carolina Quarterly, Passages North, South Dakota Review, The MacGuffin, Crab Creek Review, Apalachee Review, River Oak Review, Red Mountain Review, Iconoclast, Coal City Review, and elsewhere.

Himmer teaches at Emerson College in Boston, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and is on the faculty of the First Year Writing Program. His stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Hobart, The Los Angeles Review, Night Train, Pindeldyboz, PANK, Emprise Review, and Everyday Genius. He also is a frequent blogger on writing and teaching, and edits Necessary Fiction, a webjournal from So New Publishing, a press based in Eugene, Oregon.

Atticus Books is an independent press based in Kensington, Md., a close-in Washington, D.C., suburb. In addition to publishing genre-busting novels, Atticus regularly posts online works including original short stories, poems, literary essays and creative non-fiction.

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