Hillary Leftwich is a writer, editor, and teacher living in Denver, CO.
She is the author of Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock (CCM Press, 2019 and Agape Editions, 2023 new edition), a finalist for the Big Other Book Award and Entropy’s Best Books of 2019, and Aura (Future Tense Books and Blackstone Audio Publishing, 2022) one of Buzz Feed News’s “17 Recent and Upcoming Books from Indie Publishers You Need to Read” also considered for the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose for the 2022 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. She teaches creative writing to challenged youth for two local nonprofits and The University of Denver, Colorado College as a visiting instructor, and Unity College. Her writing can be found or is forthcoming in print and online in The Sun, Santa Fe Writers Project, The Rumpus, Entropy, Best Small Fictions, Big Other, Denver Quarterly, and others. She has been nominated and awarded numerous writing awards, including Wig Leaf’s Longlist, Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, Best microfiction, and The Colorado Young Writers Award (1995). She was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and lives in Denver.
She is the founder and owner of ☿ Alchemy Author Services & Writing Workshop and Community Coven, a community-based workshop. She hosts/organizes At the Inkwell Denver, a literary reading series focusing on providing a liberated space for writers.
She focuses her writing on class struggle, single motherhood, trauma, mental illness, the supernatural, ritual, and the impact of neurological disease.
Her memoir, Aura, is out with future tense books and blackstone AUDIO publishing. order your copy here:
Cover Art by Sarah Best
Advanced Praise for Aura
Aura is more than a memoir— it’s a spell book for survival, a powerful promise from mother to son, and an intimate examination of power, spirituality, and the abuse of both. Leftwich weaves together the stories of her life to create startlingly raw memories that are both personal and profoundly universal. She explores the devastating impact of patriarchy in her own life while searching for answers in witchcraft, womanhood, and motherhood. Urgently portrayed and deeply felt, Aura is a complex tapestry of letters, spells, and memories. Her story is a vivid confrontation against an unforgiving world that traps women and children in the systems meant to save them. This is a story for seekers, searchers, and anyone in the process of saving themselves and their loved ones.
“There were seven of us in our writing group reading pieces of Aura, and at times we’d all be stuck in tears and had to get ourselves together to try to give feedback. I’m doing the same while trying to write this blurb, and now I realize that was/is the feedback: stuck in tears and awe of Hillary’s vulnerability and shadows, and she’s gracious enough to offer us protection and strength while doing so. Even my crying while reading feels protected. Hillary Leftwich admits to having resistance to writing about her childhood because it feels dirty and secretive. But Aura engages with resistance by pushing into the dirt and secrecy and writing from those places because it feels necessary for survival and healing.” –Steven Dunn, Whiting Award Winner, author of water & power
“A Psalm for Aura: I include this book in the care package I’m curating for my dead (Mother, this book is for you, too); I believe in the sort of grace that erupts while standing in line at the E-Zee Check 24hr Payday Loan; I affirm the power of whatever you have on hand to save your ass; I uphold writing as a potential site of transformative magic. Fuck the Patriarchy. Let the visionaries to the front of the line. Let Hillary Leftwich to the front and may her remarkable memoir be read and celebrated far and wide.”
–Selah Saterstrom, author of Ideal Suggestions and Slab
“Unfortunately both trauma and spousal abuse are common experiences, but there is nothing common about Leftwich’s approach to writing down her bones. When she writes about the “careless words” doctors use, we see it as the motivation behind her own meticulously careful compositions. As she finds control upon the page, she finds control in life. As epilepsy seizes the body of her son, again and again, Leftwich’s story seizes us, and through the fractured narrative, we learn it’s not reliability the author’s aiming for when she makes this montage of clinical paperwork and Hail Mary’s, but alchemy. The form recollects the hermit crab shell narratives Susanna Kaysen employed when she wrote her own memoir, Girl, Interrupted while the storyline summons to mind Stephanie Land’s Maid, but Aura is indeed a love letter. Written to her child, but also to and for herself, and to and for all of us. Hillary Leftwich writes a way forward in which she rescues herself and teaches us how to do the same.”
–Sarah Elizabeth Schantz, author of Fig.
Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock will be republished as an all-new edition with a new cover and with previously unpublished works by Agape Editions in January of 2023.
*Photo by Jay Halsey – Cover design by Sarah Steck
Hillary teaches fiction, prose poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, hybrid, and learning how to write about trauma in a safe environment. She focuses on supporting her community and the people who create beautiful art and words. She is an advocate for her son and others who live with epilepsy in navigating a world that will never be normal.
Hillary is an intuitive Tarologist and has been reading Tarot for over 20 years coupled with her clair abilities. She is a registered member of the Tarosophy Tarot Association. She teaches Tarot and Tarot Writing Workshops focusing on strengthening divination abilities as well as writing. Learn more about her Tarot workshops and Tarot reading services on her Tarot Page.
Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock (First publication published by CCM Press/The Accomplices 2019), is one of The Accomplice’s Best Sellers, a finalist for Big Other’s Best Fiction Book of 2019, and voted as one of Entropy’s Best Fiction Books of 2019. Hailed as “arguably the best (title) I’ve encountered this year,” and “(Leftwich) combines surreal fiction, sharply-composed poetry, and taut nonfiction into an unpredictable and compelling whole” by Tobias Carroll at Vol. 1 Brooklyn.
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