The University of Nebraska Press is pleased to announce the selection of the first book in the new fiction series, Zero Street. Forget I Told You This by Hilary Zaid will be published September 1, 2023.
Forget I Told You This is a witty, literary thriller about a queer artist who, while toiling away in obscurity, stumbles into a scheme to upend a social media giant gone berserk.
“From the first few pages of Forget I Told You This, I was hooked. A techno-thriller in the best of ways, this novel cuts to the heart of our fears about the growing dominance of tech companies, our increasingly diminishing privacy, and the pull of the arcane for some of us who yearn to make art,” said SJ Sindu, one of the series editors and author of Blue Skinned Gods. “Zaid’s protagonist is plucky, haunted, middle-aged, and plagued with regret and loneliness. Forget I Told You This takes us on a twist-filled adventure that is at parts near-future horror and wish fulfillment.”
Forget I Told You This is also the inaugural winner of the Barbara DiBernard Award, which will be an annual prize for a book published by Zero Street and named for Dr. DiBernard who is professor emeritus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As a scholar, activist, teacher, and mentor, Dr. DiBernard has been a pioneer in LGBTQ+ literary studies, women’s literature, and disabilities studies, and a longtime advocate for LGBTQ+ authors and publishing.
“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to work with Timothy Schaffert and SJ Sindu, two of our preeminent literary voices,” said Zaid. “Despite the advances of recent years, to lift queer writers—especially writers outside an accepted mainstream—is still a bold project. To inaugurate the series is a gift.”
Hilary Zaid is the author of Paper White (Bywater, 2018). Zaid’s short fiction has appeared in print and online venues including Mother Jones, Ecotone, Day One, The Southwest Review, The Utne Reader, among others. She is a 52-year-old queer/genderqueer writer who lives in Oakland with her wife and sons.
Series editor Timothy Schaffert said Zaid’s book is the perfect debut for Zero Street. “With a main character preoccupied by ink, and the alphabet, and medieval illuminated manuscripts, it’s a book about books,” he said. “And the world Zaid creates around paper and quills is seductive and vivid and magical.”
Zero Street will be committed to LGBTQ+ literary fiction with commercial potential, providing marginalized authors opportunities for a wide readership in the trade fiction market. The series editors are Timothy Schaffert, bestselling author of The Perfume Thief, and SJ Sindu, author of Blue-Skinned Gods. The series seeks LGBTQ+ literary fiction of all kinds, from stories of modern life to innovations on traditions of genre and are particularly interested in BIPOC authors, trans authors, and queer authors over 50.
The submission period for Zero Street is Sept. 1 through Dec. 1. For more information, please visit nebraskapress.unl.edu/series/zero-street-fiction.