Award-Winning Short Story Collection is a Mother’s Day Gift

Mother’s Day is observed on May 8 this year. To celebrate our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, godmothers, sisters, and dads who perform both roles on this national holiday and indeed on every day, the University of Notre Dame Press is proud to announce the publication of Maya Sonenberg’s brilliant short story collection Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters (August 2022), winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction.

What happens when the urge to ditch your family outpaces the desire to love them? The stories in Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters attempt to answer this question, heading straight for the messiness of domestic relationships and the constraints society places on women as they navigate their obligations.

The emotions expressed in these stories are combustible, both fraught and nuanced, uncontrollable and common, but above all often ignored or hushed because we’re not supposed to be bored by our children or annoyed with our aged parents, even as we love them. The careful shapes of these stories adapted from fairy tales, verse, letters, or newspaper announcements, the surprise of their wordplay, and the blaze of their lyrical sentences allow them to dig into and contain all those messy emotions at the same time. “I hope that in reading these stories, other women (and men) will be able to travel through the playfulness of a fairy tale and wind up seeing themselves whole,” said Maya Sonenberg in her blog post Recovering the Muse.

Maya Sonenberg is a professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Washington. Her previous collections of short stories include Cartographies (winner of the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature) and Voices from the Blue Hotel.

Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters will be available from the University of Notre Dame Press in a paperback edition on August 1, 2022. For more information, watch the book trailer or read Sonenberg’s op-ed in The Seattle Times on the everyday creativity of mothering.

This piece first appeared at

If you would like a review copy, or to schedule an interview with the author, contact Kathryn Pitts,, 574.631.3267.