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BRATTLEBORO >> Local author Jodi Paloni's debut story collection "They Could Live With Themselves," set in the fictional town of Stark Run, Vermont, was inspired by the twenty five years she spent living in Windham County. "What began as a few stories written at Vermont College of Fine Arts grew into a fictional town and a community of imagined characters that became as real to me as the physical landscape and actual people who inspired me daily."

"They Could Live With Themselves" was runner up in the 2016 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction and was published by Press 53, an award-winning independent press out of Winston-Salem, N.C, in May of 2016. "We received nearly 300 entries in last year's competition," wrote editor Kevin Watson Morgan. "and choosing a winner was painfully difficult. The stories in "They Could Live With Themselves" felt like a trip back home ... I felt like I knew these people, and I grew to care about them and couldn't stop thinking about them long after the last story." Vermont author, Castle Freeman, Jr., praised Paloni's debut: "The eleven stories in They Could Live with Themselves are closely interrelated, by shared characters and events, by setting, and by their common subject, which is loss.


Three generations of the people of Stark Run, Vermont, are observed through several narratives as they seek, in their various ways, to understand and move beyond ordinary misfortunes of one kind and another. What is singular about these stories is their author's viewpoint on them. In a style of admirable calm and understatement, and with complete emotional authority, she unites sense and sympathy in ways that are consistently artful, moving, and humane. Start at the beginning, and go straight through; Jodi Paloni just gets better and better."

While each story may be read as a standalone short story, the stories read together follow a narrative arc that begin in May of one year and end in May of the next. Philip Graham said, "They Could Live with Themselves dazzles twice: first, as a collection of subtle and engaging short stories that stand on their own, and second, as a sustained narrative. The intriguing characters of the fictional town of Stark Run appear and reappear until, by book's end, the reader sees the broader picture of Jodi Paloni's expert weaving. Throughout, her prose pops with humor and insight as it tracks the eternal tug between giving to others and giving to oneself. This is a stunning debut."

Jodi's fiction appears in a number of literary magazine online and inprint. She won the 2013 Short Story America Prize, placed second in the 2012 Raymond Carver Prize for Short Fiction, and was a recent finalist for the 2016 Maine Literary Award Short Works Competition. She moved to MidCoast Maine in the winter of 2015, and now shares her time between Maine and Vermont.

Jodi helps run the Brattleboro Literary Festival and periodically comes home to teach Word and Image classes at the River Gallery School. You can learn more about Jodi at, Find her on Facebook and Twitter @JodiPaloni.

She will be reading her prizewinning story, "Deep End," and signing copies of her new book, "They Could Live With Themselves," on Friday, July 8 at 6 p.m. at Everyone's Books, 25 Elliot St., Brattleboro. For more information call Everyone's Books at 802-254-8160.