Books, Bookstores, Fiction, Poetry

Bookstore Review: Brier Books in Lexington

BrierYou shouldn’t judge a bookstore by its cover. Or should you? Brier Books is located in the heart of the Chevy Chase district in Lexington, Kentucky where boutique shops and delicious eateries abound. Good–albeit, corporate–coffee and kitschy bars stand at the ready as well. The store itself occupies the first floor of a lovely cottage and shares some of the space with an art gallery. The inviting rainbow sign out front is hard to miss, and your GPS won’t have any trouble locating 319 S. Ashland Avenue in case you do happen to get distracted searching for parking. But there’s good news on that account too. Brier has a few spots out front and several more in its tidy parking lot around back.

When you step inside, you’ll find books from the big New York publishers as well as top indie and local presses tastefully arranged on bookcases that make it clear these titles were chosen and not spilled into a bin like the catch of the day. Owners Jay McCoy and Savannah Sipple are poets (each with several, wonderful publications), so asking for a book recommendation is always a great idea. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the shelf, they’re happy to track it down for you and have it delivered to the store.

Author events are also plentiful, so it’s never a bad idea to check their events calendar and time your visit to match a reading you’d want to go to even if you weren’t planning to buy a book:

From the ambience to the offerings, Brier captures the essence of what an indie bookstore should be. If there were a guide to amazing indie bookstores, you’d dogear the page Brier Books is on and flip to it often.


Feminist, Literature

I’m on Twitter? I’m on Twitter!

You know those people who live on their smartphone? Yeah, that’s not me. I’m not all tweetthat tech savvy. A choice, though, not a shortcoming.

That’s why I’ve been reluctant to get on Twitter. My phone is just a phone. I have it in case my son gets a stomach ache at school or my husband forgets the grocery list.

I suppose I take a lot of pictures of my kids on my phone. And all of the music for the fitness classes I teach is on my phone. And I do let my daughter play MineCraft on it and sometimes check in on my son’s YouTube channel from my phone. And I did recently let let my husband sync my FaceBook account to my phone so I could post pictures.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, it’s about time I got a Twitter account. What exactly I’ll do with it, I don’t know. But, you can tweet (that’s a verb, right?) some suggestions at my new handle (kind of excited to say, “handle”): @HensleyWriter.

See you there (from my phone!).

Appalachian, Feminist, Fiction, Literature, Nature, Novel-in-stories, Poetry

New interview in Appalachian Heritage

I’m so pleased my interview in the Winter 2017 issue of app-heritage-lgAppalachian Heritage puts me in the same company as former Kentucky poet laureate, George Ella Lyon; my former student, Tasha Cotter; and so many other established and emerging writers. Thanks to editor, Jason Howard, for making me part of this outstanding journal.

Appalachian, Feminist, Fiction, Literature, Novel-in-stories

“Hensley’s language in painting Appalachian communities is haunting and beautiful, and each story. . .falls into place as a chain in the unforgettable ring that is Landfall: A Ring of Stories.” -Allyson Hoffman

newpages-logo           I’m over the moon with Allyson Hoffman’s review of Landfall at The quote above sums it up nicely, but if you care to read the review in its entirety, you can do so by clicking here. Thank you, Allyson. Thank you, NewPages!

Agriculture, Appalachian, Feminist, Fiction, Literature, Low-Residency MFA, Motherhood, Nature, Novel, Novel-in-stories, Uncategorized

Latest review of Landfall

I recently received some happy news from my M.F.A. Alma mater, Arizona State dec2016mag University. The December 2016 issue of ASU Alumni Magazine includes a review of my  collection, Landfall: A Ring of Stories, in its Shelf Improvement section.

To read the full text, click here.

And, of course, Go Sun Devils!



Appalachian, Feminist, Fiction, Literature, Novel, Novel-in-stories

Sneak Previews and Pre-Orders

My novel-in-stories is available ahead of schedule! Friends are already receiving their Morris Bookshoppre-sale copies of Landfall: A Ring of Stories. This is the book that Michelle Herman selected as the winner of the 2015 Ohio State University Press Non/fiction Prize and Rilla Askew selected as the winner of the 2006 Everett Southwest Literary Award. (Many, many years in the making, it was conceived as my MFA thesis back at Arizona State University.)

Landfall chronicles three generations of several families in Conrad’s Fork, a fictional Appalachian town. I’m lining up lots of readings and book club visits starting this summer, including some via Skype. Email me if you’re interested.

Fitness LadiesYou can order Landfall: A Ring of Stories as a paperback or e-book through Ohio State University Press or through dozens of other online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


An excerpt of an excerpt + other strange happenings

I’m so excited to announce that “Strange Museum,” an excerpt from my novel manuscript, The Recklessness of Water, is featured in the Winter 2016 issue of The Journal. You can read an excerpt of the excerpt (how strange is that?) on their website:

I’m also excited to announce some upcoming fiction and poetry readings:

the journal
The Journal, Winter 201ounce some upcoming fiction and poetry readings:

April 16 at the Berea Book Festival

April 21 at the Berea College Appalacian Center with Tina Parker

April 23 at the SOKY Book Festival in Bowling Green, KY

April 24 at the Kentucky Writers Day Celebration in Gravel Switch, KY