Arts Literature

Book Feature: Collect Call to My Mother

Essays on Love, Grief, and Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Lori Horvitz, Author

Author Asheville Lori Horvitz has followed up her award-winning first collection of memoir-essays, The Girls of Usually (2015), with a new memoir, Collect Call to My Mother. “As most writers would attest to, we write about what we’re obsessed with,” Horvitz, a professor of English at UNC Asheville, says. “My obsessions include my mother (whom I never really knew in a deep way, but by writing about her, I found compassion for her, and myself), finding a healthy relationship, and understanding and accepting my identity.”

The book portrays her experiences as a queer Jewish New Yorker living in the South, with many of the essays notably humorous. “At times, I don’t even know my work is funny until I read it to an audience,” she says. “I was raised on making sense of sadness/tragedy through humor, so I suppose it’s in my blood.”

Horvitz focused on poetry for her MFA and teaches fiction at UNCA, but chose the memoir-essay form because of its resemblance to short stories. “You can read it in one sitting, and there’s a narrative arc in each piece,” she says. “My hope for the collection is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Collect Call to My Mother: Essays on Love, Grief, and Getting a Good Night’s Sleep, February, 2023, memoir, paperback, $18, by Lori Horvitz, and published by New Meridian Arts. Horvitz will appear at Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN, on Saturday, April 8, at 3 p.m., and at Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities in Johnson City, TN, on Saturday, April 29, at 3 p.m. Learn more at

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