Mona Awad was born in Montreal and has lived in the U.S. on and off since 2003. A graduate of York University in Toronto, she received her MFA in Fiction from Brown University and her MScR in English literature from the University of Edinburgh, where she wrote her dissertation on fear and the fairy tale, graduating with Distinction. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Walrus, Joyland, Post Road, St. Petersburg Review, and elsewhere. She has worked as an instructor in the Literary Arts department at Brown University and as a bookseller for various independent bookstores including Pages in Toronto, The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City and Blackwell Books in Edinburgh. She has also worked as a freelance journalist and a food columnist for the Montreal-based magazine Maisonneuve; her essay “The Shrinking Woman,” which appeared in that magazine, was a finalist for a Canadian National Magazine Award. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and English literature at the University of Denver, where her thesis project will be a novel.
Her debut novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, will be available on February 23, 2016.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks—even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she’s afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl?
In her brilliant, hilarious, and at times shocking debut, Mona Awad simultaneously skewers the body image-obsessed culture that tells women they have no value outside their physical appearance, and delivers a tender and moving depiction of a lovably difficult young woman whose life is hijacked by her struggle to conform. As caustically funny as it is heartbreaking, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl introduces a vital new voice in fiction.
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PRAISE FOR MONA AWAD
"“[An] insightful debut novel….Awad’s sensitive, unflinching depiction of [Lizzie’s struggle] is a valuable addition to the canon of American womanhood.” –Time Magazine
"A young woman navigates uneasy relationships with herself, her weight, and the world in Awad’s painfully raw—and bitingly funny—debut. Beautifully constructed; a devastating novel but also a deeply empathetic one...[READ MORE]" —STARRED, Kirkus Review
"Assured and terrific...[READ MORE]" —Publisher's Weekly
“Touching . . . Behind the title of Awad’s sharp first book, a unique novel in 13 vignettes, is brazen-voiced Lizzie, who longs for, tests, and prods the deep center of the cultural promise that thinness, no matter how one achieves it, is the prerequisite for happiness.” —Booklist
"Honest, searing, and necessary . . . [13 Ways] peels back the curtain on the struggles of entering womanhood—from body image, to relationships, to merely navigating the oh-so-cruel world. [READ MORE]" —Elle
“Mona Awad writes exactly what you’re thinking, and that’s one of the many reasons you’re going to love her debut. . . . [13 Ways] announces her as a writer with real insight not only to the mind, but also to the heart. [READ MORE]” —Bustle.com]
"Horrific and funny, bleak and uplifting . . . This buzzy debut novel . . . grapples with ideas of self-worth, friendship, sexuality, and the lengths we will go to find beauty in the mirror. [READ MORE]" —The Globe and Mail
“This book sparkles with wit and at the same time comes across as so transparent and genuine—Awad knows how to talk about the raw struggles of female friendships, sex, contact, humanness, and her voice is a wry celebration of all of this at once.” —Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
“Hilarious and cutting . . . Mona Awad has a gift for turning the everyday strange and luminous, for finding bright sparks of humor in the deepest dark. She is a strikingly original and strikingly talented new voice.” —Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me and The Isle of Youth
“It seems that Mona Awad can describe the imperfect nature of any love perfectly: whether it’s love between friends, between mother and daughter, husband and wife, woman and food. With sharp insight and sly humor, she makes you feel like you never understood the obsessive half-life of a food addict before. Not a word is wasted, and yet the book is bursting with richness and insight and observation. Each story works beautifully as a stand-alone piece and together they make a luminous whole, like a perfect string of pearls.” –Katherine Heiny, author of Single, Carefree, Mellow
“Remarkable . . . committed to the most honest and painful portrayal and comprehension of what it means to be human, with all its flaws and joys.” –Brian Evenson, author of Fugue State and Immobility
SHORT STORY: The Von Furstenburg and I
SHORT STORY: When We Went Against the Universe
SHORT STORY: Beyond the Shore
SHORT STORY: The Girl I Hate
SHORT STORY: I Want Too Much
ARTICLE: Truffles and Tortellini at 140 Km/hr
ARTICLE: Dining Among The Saints