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Congratulations to Christine Gallagher Kearney on the Publication of What We Leave Behind

by Writing Workshops Staff

11 months ago


Congratulations to Christine Gallagher Kearney on the Publication of What We Leave Behind

by Writing Workshops Staff

11 months ago


Congratulations to Christine Gallagher Kearney, whose novel WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND is available for pre-order and publishes on July 25th, 2023. Christine attended Writing Workshops Iceland and we couldn't be more excited for her! Congratulations, Christine! We can't wait to read your new novel!

About What We Leave Behind:

In 1947, war bride Ursula arrives in Minneapolis torn between guilt over leaving loved ones behind and her desire to start a new life, and a family, in this promised land. But the American dream proves elusive—she is struck with polio, and then shocked by the sudden death of her GI husband.  

Without a spouse or the child she so desperately wanted, Ursula must rely on her shrewd survival skills from wartime Berlin, and she takes in a boarder to help make ends meet. She soon falls in love with the Argentinean medical technician living in her spare bedroom, but his devotion to communism troubles her—and when she finds herself pregnant with his child, she is faced with a dilemma: how to reconcile her dream of motherhood with an America that is so different from what she imagined. 

Describe your work (influences, interests, etc.) and what you're working on now.

I am at work on WHALE my next novel about a whale, grief and climate change.

What are your short term (1 year) and long term writing goals (5 years from now)?

In the near term, I am focused on the launch of my debut novel WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND. Later this year, I will query agents for my second book, WHALE, to secure representation and get the manuscript out on submission. Longer term, I imagine books three and beyond stemming from the characters in WHALE (much like what Elizabeth Strout does with her books).

What class(es) did you take/are you taking with Writing Workshops?

Iceland writing workshop; Tuscany sounds amazing (will keep an eye out for that later this year).

What did you enjoy most about your class(es) with Writing Workshops?

The community building aspect (and all the belly laughs).

Praise for What We Leave Behind:

Triumphant and affecting, the historical novel What We Leave Behind follows an immigrant as she faces polio and the distrust of others."
--Foreword Reviews

"Based on her biological grandmother's life, Christine Gallagher Kearney adeptly crafts the story of a German war bride, whose dreams of comfort and ease in mid-century America pan out quite differently than imagined, but who, battling polio, loneliness, and an unexpected pregnancy, grows into her own life's stern heroine."
--Annette Gendler, author of Jumping Over Shadows and How to Write Compelling Stories from Family History

"What We Leave Behind is a stirring narrative of love, determination, loss, and renewed resolve. Gallagher Kearney's understanding of the difficulties and challenges of disability coupled with the angst of separation from family illuminate every page. As a polio survivor, I nodded often at her portrayals of the nuances of disability and how it affects one's familial, social, and romantic life. Thanks to Gallagher Kearney's deft prose, her grandmother Ursula will not be left behind."
--Francine Falk-Allen, author of Not a Poster Child: Living Well with a Disability--A Memoir and No Spring Chicken: Stories and Advice from a Wild Handicapper on Aging and Disability

Christine Gallagher Kearney is a Midwest Review "Great Midwest Writing Contest" finalist, and a semi-finalist for Chestnut Review's "Stubborn Artists Contest." She has published in Wild Roof Journal, Driftless Magazine, ForbesWoman, Fortune, and Cara Magazine and is a former food columnist for the Irish American News. Christine graduated with her bachelor's degrees in International Relations and Spanish from Mount Holyoke College, later earning her master's degree in Organizational and Multicultural Communication through DePaul University. She has a career in the corporate world and writes in her off hours. What We Leave Behind is her debut novel. Christine grew up in Minnesota, but now lives in Chicago with her husband and dachshund.

Follow Christine on Instagram: @cgallagherkearney

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