To the Bones is a great read for the spooky season, with zombies (of a sort), and vampires (of a sort), and psychics, orange rivers, pits full of bones, even an eerie mansion with a deep, dark secret.
A bit of recent news: Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse was nominated for the Roanoke-Chowan Award and was runner-up for the Brockman-Campbell Book Prize, the top poetry prizes awarded for books by North Carolina writers or about the state.
"Valerie Nieman's Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse sweeps aside everything you might think about sideshow and carnival performers of the mid-20th century. Her poems open up the private life of a mixed-race woman, Dinah, the titular Leopard Lady....
Leopard Lady is a truly amazing book that succeeds in several areas. It illuminates how carnival artists are united by the very diversity that sets them apart from commonly perceived norms. It reveals the life of one woman who, it turns out, is more like every woman than may be imagined. And for those not inclined to read poetry, Nieman's writing is so skilled, so smooth, that her poetry unfolds like a piece of fascinating prose."
Valerie Nieman is the author of four novels: To the Bones, released in June 2019; Blood Clay, a novel of the New South, which was honored with the Eric Hoffer Prize in General Fiction; Survivors, a novel about the Rust Belt of the 1970s, and her first book, Neena Gathering, reissued in 2012 as a classic in the post-apocalyptic genre. Another novel is now in submission, and she is at work on a haibun narrative based on a month hiking solo in Scotland.
Her third poetry collection, Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse, debuted with a reading at the Coney Island Museum was was a runner-up for the Brockman-Campbell Book Prize. Her second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy, appeared in 2015 from Press 53, and poems from that book were nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best Short Fictions of 2016, where the title poem was a finalist. She is also the author of Wake Wake Wake, and a collection of short stories, Fidelities.
She was a 2013-2014 North Carolina Arts Council poetry fellow, and has received an NEA creative writing fellowship as well as major grants in West Virginia and Kentucky. Her awards include the Greg Grummer, Nazim Hikmet, and Byron Herbert Reece poetry prizes.
Nieman graduated from West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte. A former newspaper reporter and editor, she now teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University and at venues ranging from the John C. Campbell Folk School to WriterHouse.