monica byrne


The Girl in the Road
Crown Publishing/Random House
. May 20, 2014.

In the near future, two women from different times embark on a journey to Ethiopia, from the east and from the west, one by a bridge that spans the whole Arabian Sea, and one by an oil caravan crossing the Sahara. Their stories intertwine to weave a tapestry on the inheritance of violence, the nature of energy, and the fate of humankind.


"To the Moon, from Chapel Hill"
Our State. January 2013.

The planetarium dome so familiar to North Carolinians was in fact the "classroom blackboard" for every mission from Mercury through Apollo, including astronauts Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and John Glenn.


"In Pursuit of World Peace"
Independent Weekly. August 2012.

The sex culture of the Olympic Village isn't merely a story of Grindr crashes or sordid tell-alls. In fact, the games we watch on TV are not even the real Olympics. They are the shadow Olympics, a cover for the one political summit that, every four years, settles the vast majority of the world's resource disputes, trade negotiations and financial transactions.


"Everything We Plant Grows"
HowlRound. July 2012.

I have a vivid memory of watching the cast warm up in the rain, a small army of youths posing and flexing like wrestlers in an Athenian gymnasium. I realized, No one has ever told them what they can and cannot do.


"Only To Be There"
Wellesley Magazine. Summer 2011.

I dream about Wellesley all the time, even seven years after graduating. Sometimes I'm fretting about scoring the perfect room for senior year. (In real life, I actually did get the perfect room--Tower Court West 6, with a lake view--but it seems my subconscious still can't believe my luck.) Or I realize that it's exam time and I forgot to drop that mysterious math class where students triangulate in a hot sunny room. (I'm never anxious about my humanities classes. Imagine that.)


"The Comedy at Kualoa"

Electric Velocipede. Spring 2011.

Dr. Abbas settled in next to him. She reached under her seat, drew up an enormous bouquet of red roses and laid them in her lap. "For my dolphin, Bapuha. She's our most brilliant female." She leaned over, beaming and conspiratorial."I just thought I'd get a little something for her."


"Five Letters from New Laverne"
Shimmer. Fall 2010.

There is one iron sconce on every wall, and each holds a white candle that drips onto the floor. I passed another cell where huge piles of drippings had accumulated, reaching almost to the sconce itself; can you imagine? The spray of wax had made a beautiful pattern, like a pebble mosaic on a grotto floor. My candle is beginning to make its own pile, and I like watching it drip and spray, doing nothing to interfere with its slow art, which unfolds according to its own mind without the slightest intention on my part.


"The Reclamation Rite of One April Nora Hess"
Gargoyle. Summer 2010.

I pause at the bottom of the stairs, one foot sunk in deep cream carpet, the other lifted and trembling. I listen. A screech and a hiss: he's begun his shower. I scramble up the stairs. The ginger cat bounds after me--the totem of this bachelor house. I scoop in the cat by its rump and duck into the bedroom and close the door. Now it is my totem.


"Writer Without Borders"

Wellesley Magazine. Cover story, Fall 2009.

I spent a week at Lalomanu Beach. Time moves very slowly there, as if the air is jellified. There's very little to do besides read, write, swim, tan, and eat. (For breakfast, they serve that traditional Samoan staple, fried Spaghetti-O sandwiches. Surprisingly good.) So the mind invents things. I was preoccupied with minutiae--like the proper name for leprosy (Hansen's disease) or the name of the illiterate girl in A League of Their Own (Shirley Baker), or how long it would take to fall down the south face of Everest (about 15 seconds, assuming you don't scrape your head along the way like Mola Ram).


Novels in progress:The Harper Transform.