NC Literary Hall of Fame



Clio Rising by Paula Martinac

Bywater Books
$16.95, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1612941479
April, 2019
Fiction: Historical / LGBTQ
Available from your local bookstore or

"A wonderful tale of lesbian and literary New York in the 1980s, often funny, sometimes raunchy, sometimes romantic, and always real. Martinac has a gift for bringing different pasts to life. Her portrait of the difficult friendship between two women of contrasting generations is both generous and wise. An exploration of biographical mystery and responsibility, this fine novel is like an American answer to A. S. Byatt's Possession."
—Christopher Bram, author of Gods and Monsters

“An intergenerational page turner…. Another brilliant novel by one of our most gifted writers.”
—Madeleine Olnek, writer-director, Wild Nights with Emily

In 1983, Livvie Bliss leaves western North Carolina for New York City, armed with a degree in English and a small cushion of cash from a favorite aunt. Her goal is to launch a career in publishing, but also to live openly as a lesbian. A rough start makes Livvie think she should give up and head home, but then a new friend helps her land a job at a literary agency run by the formidable Bea Winston.

Bea hopes Livvie's Southern charm and boyish good looks will help her bond with one of the agency's most illustrious clients--the cranky Modernist writer Clio Hartt, an octogenarian recluse who accomplished just one great novel. When Livvie becomes Clio's girl Friday and companion, the plan looks like it's working: The two connect around their shared western North Carolina heritage, and their rapport gives Clio support and inspiration to think about publishing again.

But something isn't quite right with Clio's writing. And as Livvie learns more about Clio's romantic relationship with playwright Flora Haynes, uncomfortable parallels emerge between Livvie's own circle of friends and the drama-filled world of expatriate artists in Paris in the 1920s. In Clio's final days, the writer shares a secret that could upend Livvie's life--and the literary establishment.

Paula Martinac is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories. Her debut novel, Out of Time, won the 1990 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, and her novel-in-stories, The Ada Decades, was short-listed for the Ferro-Grumley Award. She has published three nonfiction books on LGBT culture and politics as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories. Also a playwright, her works have had productions in Pittsburgh, New York, Washington, DC, and other places. She teaches creative writing at UNC-Charlotte and is a writing coach with Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts. Visit:

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