Washington Author Kami Westhoff’s Short Story Collection THE CRITERIA Traverses into the Impossible Decisions Faced by Women

The Criteria explores unconventional, and at times highly problematic, motherhood. The characters struggle with impossible choices that often lead to heartbreaking behaviors. In the titular story, the main character takes on the burden of breastfeeding infants whose mothers have fallen in while at the same time struggling with the fate of her own infant. Another story imagines a scenario in which the mother/child bond is prohibited, and drastic measures taken to ensure its prevention. The characters are asked to suffer many tragedies, as well as to embrace hope in the most unlikely places.

Praise for Kami Westhoff

Poetic and corporeal, The Criteria is a collection steeped in brutality and resilience. Westhoff’s prose is as deeply unsettling as it is starkly beautiful — these stories are complex, haunting, and lush. — Kimberly King Parsons

The Criteria is about the complicated work of caring (and sometimes failing to care) — for mothers, for children, for the planet — and the book is itself an act of care. Kami Westhoff welcomes her reader with generosity into quiet, secret spaces of love, longing, pain and, ultimately, connection. — Ramona Ausubel, author of Awayland and Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty

The world of Kami Westhoff’s stories is skewed from ours — more visceral, brutal, harder — but also oddly quieter. That the women and children and men there survive what they do is, I guess, a testament to their resilience. But whatever it is, it’s a warning to us to rein in our easy violence, to try to remember love. — Rebecca Brown, author of You Tell the Stories You Need to Believe

About Kami Westhoff

Kami Westhoff lives in the Pacific Northwest where she teaches creative writing at Western Washington University. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Sleepwalker, winner of the Minerva Rising Dare to Be Contest; Your Body a Bullet, co-written with Elizabeth Vignali; and Cloud-bound, forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. Her poetry and prose has been published in journals including Booth, Carve, Hippocampus, Fugue, Passages North, Redivider, Waxwing and West Branch.

About Unsolicited Press

Unsolicited Press based out of Portland, Oregon and focuses on the works of the unsung and underrepresented. As a womxn-owned, all-volunteer small publisher that doesn’t worry about profits as much as championing exceptional literature, we have the privilege of partnering with authors skirting the fringes of the lit world. We’ve worked with emerging and award-winning authors such as Shann Ray, Amy Shimshon-Santo, Brook Bhagat, Kris Amos, and John W. Bateman.

Learn more at unsolicitedpress.com. Find us on twitter and instagram.

The Criteria is available on May 31, 2022 as a paperback (180 p.; 978–1–956692–16–7) and e-book (all major retailers). The title is distributed to the trade by Ingram. The author is open to speaking with the media, holding readings, and engaging in other author opportunities.

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