VIDA Reads with Writers — Kelly Lynn Thomas!

What are you reading on the subway or in the waiting room today?

I’m reading Everfair by Nisi Shawl. It’s a steampunk alternate history set in the late 1800s in the Congo, and has an amazing, fun group of characters.

What book popped for you in 2016?

I read so many good books last year! My favorite new book was Behind the Throne by KB Wagers, which is a sci-fi action adventure story featuring a kickass gunrunner/reluctant princess who I’d love to get a beer with. Plus, the writing is so good. Wagers knows how to balance world building with story, and her sentences are beautiful, to boot.

Whose words do you return to regularly?

Ursula K. Le Guin. Her fictional anthropological study/utopia/novel Always Coming Home is the equivalent of a holy text to me. I even plan on getting a tattoo of the book’s major motif (a hinge spiral with the words “be always coming home”).

Is there an author you can’t wait to read next?

I’ve been hearing great things about Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti series, so I’m hoping to read that this summer.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on some magical realist flash fiction that will hopefully turn into a chapbook-length collection.

What do you hope your work for the VIDA Count will achieve?

My biggest hope for working on the VIDA Count is that publishers and editors will see that they have this problem with gender equality and take concrete steps to publish more women and non-binary folks.

I think people definitely recognize VIDA and the Count more now than when it first debuted, which is a testament to all the hard work volunteers have done over the years. When I was volunteering at VIDA’s AWP table in February, I talked to a lot of people (and not just women!) who were really excited about the work VIDA does, which gives me hope that even if today’s editors don’t care about gender equality or understand why it’s important, tomorrow’s will.


Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA, always with a migraine. Her creative work has appeared in Permafrost, Sou’wester, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and was nominated for 2017 Pushcart. Kelly received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University, is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars, and can always be found with a large mug of tea. Read more at