Top Literary Debuts: March 2023, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Check out these exciting first novels. 

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Cauley, Kashana. The Survivalists. Soft Skull: Catapult. Jan. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781593767273. $27. CD. LITERARY

Mirabella, Richard. Brother & Sister Enter the Forest. Catapult. Mar. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781646221172. $26. LITERARY

Palmer, Soraya. The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter & Other Essential Ghosts. Catapult. Mar. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781646220953. $27. LITERARY

Pin, Cecile. Wandering Souls. Holt. Mar. 2023. 208p. ISBN 9781250863461. $26.99. LITERARY

Winn, Alice. In Memoriam. Knopf. Mar. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780593534564. $29. LITERARY

In former lawyer/current TV writer Cauley’s The Survivalists, perpetually single Black lawyer Aretha is laser-focused on her career until she becomes involved coffee-entrepreneur Aaron and moves in with him and his doomsday roommates, prepping for the end of the world. Mirabella’s Brother & Sister Enter the Forest, whose title hints at fairytale or horror (maybe both?), is a queer coming-of-age novel about emotionally shattered Justin and his sister, Willa, who’s struggling to care for him—or to leave and claim her own life. Imbued with mythic figures—the ocean-dwelling Mama Dglo, the butcher-hunting Rolling Calf—Palmer’s The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter & Other Essential Ghosts plumbs the lives of two Jamaican-Trinidadian sisters in Brooklyn who find themselves at odds even as their parents’ marriage becomes untethered. In Wandering Souls, London Writers Award winner Pin depicts three Vietnamese siblings struggling to survive in the UK without their parents, lost in the family’s escape from Vietnam after the war (80,000-copy first printing). In Winn’s In Memoriam, Henry Gaunt escapes his strong feelings for boarding-school classmate Sidney Ellwood by enlisting during World War I—but then Sidney enlists, too, and they find love amid battle.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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