Wife | Daughter | Self

Forthcoming March 2, 2021

Wife | Daughter | Self is an exploration of the composite self—and the people we become in relationship to others. Married to a spectacular Salvadoran artist with fantastical stories of his youth, Kephart, in Wife, sets out to understand what makes love last. A near replica of her father—his face, his discipline, his crippling anxiety—Kephart, in Daughter, takes a journey with him into heartbreaking transitions—loss of spouse, loss of family home, loss of health—and emerges with deepened affection and respect. Finally, alone with a page and pen, Kephart, in Self, comes to terms with the person she wishes she had been and the person there might be room, still, to become. An interweave of deeply considered essays in which each piece speaks of and through the next for readers who enjoy the lyric truth telling of Margaret Renkl, Terry Tempest Williams, Patricia Hampl, Sonja Livingston, and others. 

About the Book

Beth Kephart • Forest Avenue Press • Illustrated by William Sulit • Trade paperback • Ebook • Nonfiction •  Publication Date: March 21, 2021 • Trade Paper: 6 x 9 • Cover Price: $16 • ISBN:  9781942436447 • 250 pages

About the Author

Beth Kephart is a National Book Award finalist, a Pew fellowship winner, an NEA grant winner, and the multi-genre author of more than thirty books that often appear on “best of” lists. She is an award-winning teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, co-founder of Juncture Workshops, and a widely published essayist and critic who has written extensively about memoir and traveled the country giving workshops. Essays, some of them included in this book, have appeared, or soon will appear, in Life magazine, Ninth Letter, New York Times, The Normal School, North American Review, Salon, Catapult, LitHub, Brevity, The Millions, The Rumpus, and Chicago Tribune. Beth and her husband, artist William Sulit, collaborate on picture books, middle grade novels, Juncture Workshops, and a series of memoir workbooks and illustrated journals.

About the Illustrator

William Sulit is a Salvadoran-born, Yale-educated architect and visual artist. He has collaborated with his wife, Beth Kephart, on multiple book projects, including the middle-grade novels Wild Blues, Cloud Hopper, and Dr. Radway’s Sarsparilla Resolvent; the memoir Ghosts in the Garden; the corporate fable, Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business; a series of memoir workbooks; and the picture book Trini’s Big Leap. He is the co-founder, with Beth, of Juncture Workshops. Find him on Instagram at ws_studioarts.

Praise for Beth Kephart

Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir

“A marvelous primer for anyone who would dare to face the furies and write about his or her life. Beth Kephart has read the genre closely, put her own feet to the fire, and distilled the form with all the passion of a great teacher.” 

Marie Arana, author of American Chica  

“A gorgeous meditation on memoir.”

Library Journal, starred review

“With infectious passion and hard-won wisdom, Beth Kephart eloquently celebrates the rigors and rewards of the creative process andequally necessarythe art of crafting a meaningful life.“

Katrina Kenison, author of Magical Journey:  

An Apprenticeship in Contentment 

“A self-described ‘memoir autodidact’ and distinguished author’s refreshingly idiosyncratic guide to the art of creative nonfiction.”

Kirkus, starred review

“Intense, provocative, endearing, and kind, Handling the Truth recalls Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (1995). The appendix alone is a reading course not to be missed. Delightful.”

—Colleen Mondor, Booklist

Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River

“Kephart is a master not only of descriptive memory, but of constructing an existential vocabulary. Thus the river is born, becomes aware, is besieged, comes to terms with abuse, half-wishes to be abandoned, and nearly loses hope.” 

—Nathaniel Popkin, City Paper

Additional Praise

“Beth Kephart . . . is a gifted, even poetic writer.”

The New York Times Book Review 

“Kephart’s writing is so clear, so nonpreachy, that you just want to jump in and join her.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review 

“Richly evocative prose that can only be called masterful . . . a revelation and a feast.”

— Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog

“Writing as brilliantly as she does about love might have been enough even for someone of her intelligence and depth. But in this memoir she demonstrates that she can go further. Kephart is able to generalize from her personal experience to the greater human one.”

—Wendy Gimble, Washington Post 

“For Beth Kephart, friendship is more than casual sociability:  it’s a gift, it’s an art form, it’s a righteous cause, and it’s civilization’s unifying force.  She writes with winning passion; her sentences are crafted from measured complements of love and intelligence.”

—Ken Kalfus , author of A Disorder Peculiar to the Country

“Kephart’s prose is luminous, her story so moving that I savored it, read and reread it within days.  It is a powerful testimony—a hope-giving book.”

The Sun

“It’s nearly impossible for an evocation of a garden, of flowers and air and branches and breath, to move itself to paper, but in (Ghosts in the Garden), with gorgeous prose and startling imagery by Beth Kephart, and with intimate, striking photography by William Sulit. A garden and a life are captured.”

—Susan Straight, author of In the Country of Women

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