Reader Meet Writer: Carter Sickels & THE PRETTIEST STAR

This is a series sponsored and run by SIBA - the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Bookmarks is hosting five of these author events, but you can participate in any of their many other offerings by visiting another local southern independent bookstore that is participating.

All Reader Meet Writer events will have a password. You must register to attend to receive the password by emailing

The five events Bookmarks has chosen to promote are:
5/7 - Kaitlin Curtice - Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God
5/12 - Mary Kay Andrews - Hello, Summer
5/20 - Carter Sickels - The Prettiest Star (Originally scheduled for an in store event!)
5/21 - Yaffa B. Santos - A Taste of Sage
5/27 - Edward A. Farmer - Pale


Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour. He is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and has been awarded scholarships to Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, VCCA, and the MacDowell Colony. His essays and fiction have appeared in various publications, including GuernicaBellevue Literary Review, and BuzzFeed. Carter is Assistant Professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University, where he teaches in the Bluegrass Writers Studio Low-Residency MFA program.

Publisher: Hub City Press | May 19, 2020 | 9781938235627

Small-town Appalachia doesn't have a lot going for it, but it's where Brian is from, where his family is, and where he's chosen to return to die.

Set in 1986, a year after Rock Hudson's death brought the news of AIDS into living rooms and kitchens across America, Lambda Literary award-winning author Carter Sickels's second novel shines light on an overlooked part of the epidemic, those men who returned to the rural communities and families who'd rejected them.

Six short years after Brian Jackson moved to New York City in search of freedom and acceptance, AIDS has claimed his lover, his friends, and his future. With nothing left in New York but memories of death, Brian decides to write his mother a letter asking to come back to the place, and family, he was once so desperate to escape.

The Prettiest Star is told in a chorus of voices: Brian's mother Sharon; his fourteen-year-old sister, Jess, as she grapples with her brother's mysterious return; and the video diaries Brian makes to document his final summer.

Carter Sickels's stunning novel is an urgent story about the politics and fragility of the body, of sex and shame.Above all, The Prettiest Star explores the bounds of family and redemption. It is written at the far reaches of love and understanding, centering on the moments where those two forces stretch toward each other and sometimes touch.

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By attending you agree to our Code of Conduct:
Our event provides a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules may be expelled from the event without a refund at the discretion of the organizers.

Event date: 
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 3:00pm
Event address: 
SKU: DN00000001

Staff Pick Badge
The Prettiest Star Cover Image
ISBN: 9781938235627
Availability: Order Processes in 1-5 Days Depending on Store Stock
Published: Hub City Press - May 19th, 2020

EW's 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2020 - O Magazine's "31 LGBTQ Books That'll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020" - BookRiot's "Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books of 2020" - Lambda Literary's "Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books