NOY HOLLAND is the author of Bird: A Novel as well as three story collections, Swim for the Little One First, What Begins with Bird, and The Spectacle of the Body. Recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the MacDowell Colony and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, she teaches writing in the graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Winner of the 2018 Katherine Anne Porter Award in Literature
Longlisted for the Story Prize
“These new and selected stories testify to the fact that there are still fine short story writers out there, doing the hard job of serious literary production in our age of tweets and memes…Holland’s language is challenging, elliptical, bristling with sensations and resounding with the interior lives of complicated, recognizable people…There are distant echoes here of Ian McEwan’s macabre, early work, Shirley Jackson’s demonic families and even the apocalyptic landscapes of Cormac McCarthy. But Holland is a much different writer still, entangling her readers in experience-rich narratives about the various ways people try to love one another, live their lives in hard places and, with the best words they can manage, ‘describe what it feels like.'” ―New York Times Book Review
“None of the stories in the collection are formulaic, and none of them are easy. Rather, they’re sneaky, enigmatic, revealing themselves to the reader at unexpected times, sometimes long after the last word has been read…I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like is a strong collection, and Holland’s writing is by turns hallucinatory, bizarre, and maddening in the best possible way. ” ―NPR
“A treasure trove… Holland’s prose makes the familiar seems strange and the strange seem familiar.” ―ELLE
“There is always a visceral sense of something wild and untamable beneath the surface of Holland’s stories, moving her characters through scenes and moving plots toward sharp conclusions.” ―Booklist
“Over the past two decades, Noy Holland has been quietly publishing some of the finest short stories written in the English language . . . By turns earthy, reverent, poetic, and wry, these stories don’t so much ‘describe what it feels like’ as make you feel what it feels like—the ‘it’ being what it is to be fully alive in the world.” —Oprah.com