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HELLIONS!

Beth Steidle from Tin House Books has designed a stunning cover for Hellions (edited by Elizabeth DeMeo and coming in April 2025).

Hellions is a genre-bending collection of stories that ranges like a feral dog from medieval Europe to the heart of the contemporary South and on into strange, tech-mediated futures.

From the acclaimed author of The Wilds comes an electric story collection that blends folklore, fairy tales, Southern Gothic, and horror, reveling in the collision of the familiar with the wildly surreal.

In a plague-stricken medieval convent, a nun works on a forbidden mystic manuscript, pining for Christ’s love. During a long, muggy July in rural South Carolina, an adolescent girl finds unexpected power as her family obsesses over the horror film The Exorcist. On the outskirts of a Southern college town, a young woman resists the tyranny of a shape-shifting older professor as she develops her own sorceress skills. And at a feminist art colony in the North Carolina mountains, a group of mothers contends with the supernatural talents their children have picked up from a pair of mysterious orphans who live in the woods. With exuberance, ferocity, and astounding imagination, Julia Elliott’s Hellions jumps from the occult to the comic, from the horrific to the wondrous, presenting earthbound characters who long for the otherworldly” (Tin House).

New Story in CONJUNCTIONS: “The Mothers”

I’m always stoked to have a story in the amazing Conjunctions. Check out Work & Days, Issue 82, which explores “the work people have done over [the] millennia to make ends meet—to provide food, shelter, even community,” which “constitutes a multifaceted portrait of the human species itself” (Bradford Morrow). My story “The Mothers” depicts a feminist art colony in the North Carolina mountains. There, a group of mothers contends with the supernatural talents their children have picked up from a pair of mysterious orphans who live in the woods. 

LIFE Magazine Interview: THE EXORCIST

Gina McIntire, a reporter for LIFE, interviewed me for a special 50th anniversary issue devoted to The Exorcist, available in print and online: The Exorcist: The Scariest Movie Ever. Watching a censored TV version of the iconic horror film at age twelve changed my life. Yes, it scared the shit out of me and made me fear possession, but I also marveled at the spectacle of a demon-powered girl talking smack to two exhausted, vomit-spattered priests. Demonstrating superhuman strength, Regan made her bed bounce like a carnival ride. Smirking with panache, she rotated her head 360 degrees. As the priestly fathers flung fake holy water and the power of Christ, Regan levitated serenely, her arms spread wide, performing a feat commonly attributed to saints, rising toward the claustrophobic barrier of her bedroom ceiling. As a twelve-year old adolescent girl, she was a force to be reckoned with, providing a glimpse into vistas beyond the domestic and societal spheres that trapped her, and this inspired me. Though I talked the LIFE reporter’s ear off, the article features a short paragraph of my most accessible musings. Stay tuned for a forthcoming short story inspired by the film (due out in The Georgia Review next summer). But for now, here’s the LIFE article, which contains a little paragraph that barely scratches the surface of this astonishing film.

New Short Story in CONJUNCTIONS

Conjunctions, literary haven for innovators and weirdos since 1981, has recently published my story “Arcadia Lakes” in their Ways of Water issue, which “explores the nature of water in our lives and those of our fellow beings. Through fiction and poetry, ecological and climate writing, in a multitude of genres, this issue brings together a wide community of writers to plumb this most essential matter so basic to the survival of all flora, all fauna on this fragile water-blue planet” (Morrow).

BORED PANDA Features THE WILDS as Weird

Bored Panda features The Wilds as one of 100 Weird Books for the Connoisseurs of the Unusual. “These kooky tomes will take you on a journey through the bizarre, the surreal, the absurd and straight to Wacky Town. From talking animals to sentient cities, from alternate realities to inexplicable phenomena, these weird fiction books are guaranteed to leave you looking for more (more answers or sanity, that is)” (Pisarenka and Kairytė).

Listed on Shepherd: Discover the Best Books

According to Ben Fox, the creator of Shepherd: Discover the Best Books, “Discovering a new book should be a magical experience where the search is part of the fun. That is what we are creating. We give readers fun ways to find amazing books.” I’m stoked that author Lee Rozelle recommends The New and Improved Romie Futch as part of his “Contemporary Southern Gothic” list. Rozelle states, “I love this novel because it mixes Southern Gothic with speculative fiction in a hilarious epic struggle between man and hog. When middle-aged taxidermist Romie Futch becomes a research subject in the shady Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience, he becomes both super genius and guinea pig, his middle-aged brain now brilliant beyond comprehension. Troubled by errant downloads that track his thoughts and actions, Romie turns taxidermy into pop art as he hunts down the legendary super pig ‘Hogzilla.’ This is the funniest, wittiest book I’ve read in a long time.”

Infobae Review of Lo Salvaje, the Spanish Translation of The Wilds

Infobae reviewed Lo Salvaje, the Spanish translation of The Wilds, in “El hastío infinito ante el sistema en ‘Lo salvaje’, de Julia Elliott,” declaring, “las historias que forman parte de este libro se narran de manera independiente, pero en su totalidad, cada relato se une al otro, forma parte del otro. Los personajes que aquí aparecen persiguen una idea utópica del progreso que apunta a los orígenes, a volver atrás. Viven todos en espacios enfermos, violentos, a merced del patriarcado y la barbarie. Lo salvaje no es tanto el entorno, sino el hombre contemporáneo, que se pasa los días ante la abulia, la represión y el maltrato.”

Libros y Letras Review of Lo Salvaje, the Spanish Translation of The Wilds

In “Animales grotescos. Reseña de Lo salvaje de Julia Elliott,” Pablo Concha reviews Lo Salvaje, the Spanish translation of The Wilds, for Libros y Letras, a non-profit cultural force that creates and promotes cultural and literary arts from Colombia and Latin America. Concha writes, “En Lo salvaje los olores y sabores están muy presentes en todas las historias, lo que consumimos y cómo nos afecta, deforma y moldea. Elliott pinta muy bien las escenas por medio de elementos atmosféricos que agudizan los sentidos del lector y lo sumergen con facilidad en el mundo ficcional. Por supuesto, lo que olfateamos y logramos saborear está lejos de ser manjares y olores agradables o edificantes, pues la autora muestra un lado crudo de sus realidades, producto de la obsesión, la amargura, los efectos de la mala alimentación, de la adicción a las pantallas y las redes: casi todo huele mal o está corrompido o al borde del colapso. Los seres humanos somos desagradables y estúpidos, vamos camino a la extinción y no nos importa.”

Locus Review of Conjunctions: 78: Fear Itself

My story “Flying” appears in Conjunctions: 78: Fear Itself. In a Locus review of the issue, Ian Mond asks, “Who better to speak to our anxieties, our paranoia, our terror than thirty talented poets and authors, several of whom have spent their careers exploring this most primal of emotions?” Mond goes on to say, “Julia Elliott’s ‘Flying’ is this visceral, grisly, subversive take on the magical ‘hag’ – ‘all skins and bones and rancid rags, crimped hands resembling bird claws, talons that snatch babies up by the scruff of their necks.’”