Signed New Voices in Fiction Club
Four times a year, Harvard Book Store offers Signed New Voices in Fiction Club members a signed first printing of a newly published debut novel, selected with an eye toward literary merit and potential collectibility.
The Signed New Voices in Fiction First Edition Club brings you some of the finest and most important debut novels of the season—just as our flagship Signed First Edition Club has been doing across genres for years.
Sign up or give a gift membership! Spaces are limited, and there will be a wait list when we reach capacity on membership for a given season. Wait listers will be notified when space becomes available; if a spot is not available for the current selection, your membership will be activated for the following selection.
Our Next Selection
Luster by Raven Leilani (Fall 2020)
More info coming soon to members!
"Edie is a painter (who isn't really painting right now) with IBS and a ravenous eye for detail. Rootless to begin with and further cut adrift by the loss of her job, she finds herself living in the spacious Jersey house of her married lover. Raven Leilani spins out her magnificent debut around this ungainly arrangement, as Edie witnesses and tries to be witnessed, to carve space for herself where none has been provided. Her narration rolls through the present moment like a katamari ball and incorporates vast swaths of our culture into its sticky gestalt—mosh pits, ComicCons, furtive adolescent nerdiness, the gig economy, racism, the specific depression of theme parks. Leilani is a masterful chronicler of all the minutiae that comprise a life, from the intimate stench of the M train at rush hour to the parallel and foreign domestic universe suggested by the extra folded towels in the lover's bathroom. This sharp, capacious novel would be a gift at any time. In lockdown, I devoured it in a day: grateful to be reminded of the gravity of observing and being observed, and that the painful and lonely fermentation of not-making is, in the end, part of the art too."
—Lauren A., Harvard Book Store
"This novel is ridiculously good: gorgeous, dark, and funny, with sentences that'll wreck you. I will follow this author anywhere she wants to take me."
―Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House
“A darkly funny, hilariously moving debut from a stunning new voice. Luster follows the unforgettable Edie, a hapless young woman suffocating under her own loneliness, whose caustic observations made me laugh out loud and gasp in recognition. Raven Leilani crafts a beautiful, bighearted story about intimacy and art that will astound and wound you. I couldn’t put this one down.”
―Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers
"The narrative voice of this startling novel is layered, complex, pitch-black comic, and deadly earnest, even ardent in its will to sift through the chaos and idiocy of our madhouse culture and find some glimpse of human reality. Raven Leilani is intellectually supple and steely at the same time; she thinks and perceives blessedly outside any kind of norm. She has made a truly lustrous piece of art.”
―Mary Gaitskill, author of This Is Pleasure
How does this new club compare with the pre-existing Signed First Edition Club?
Our popular Signed First Edition Club has been delivering important works of literature, memoir, and history to its members for over a decade—including debut works by emerging writers. This new, additional club will focus on debut novels from writers who have caught the attention of our well-read staff and the literary world.
- While the flagship club is monthly, the Signed New Voices in Fiction Club will be quarterly in its first year, with a new selection each season.
- All selections will be hardcover first printings of first novels, noted by critics and our staff.
- Selections in one club will not be duplicated in the other, and we will continue to consider and select debut fiction for the flagship club from time to time.
How does the subscription work?
Once a season (four times a year), members receive a debut novel of recent publication. A collection of signed first editions will enhance any library, and many signed first editions appreciate in value. Also, your membership supports Harvard Book Store, a landmark literary institution, and helps ensure that the store will exist—and continue to host its award-winning author event series—for years to come.
What will I receive?
Harvard Book Store’s selections represent the forefront of debut fiction and reflect the authors hosted by the store’s award-winning event series. Selections are personally chosen by our discerning staff of readers.
The books in this program are guaranteed first editions, personally signed by the author. Each book arrives in pristine condition with its jacket in a transparent protective wrapping to extend the life of the book.
Also, this is a brand new club and we have some fun stuff in store for members. Stay tuned!
How much does membership cost?
Membership is free. All you pay is the publisher's list price on the book ($26 - $30 on average per month) plus a flat shipping and handling charge.
Who is the club for? Can I give a membership as a gift?
This service is perfect for anyone who has been trying to read more novels or for the bibliophile who wants the latest in boundary-pushing, cutting-edge fiction.
You can choose to give a gift membership either for one year or indefinitely, and you may cancel the membership at any time.
What is a signed first edition? Why is it valuable?
A first edition is the original printing of a book. First editions are distinguished from subsequent printings, as they represent the closest edition in time and intent to the author's original work. A signed first edition is a unique addition to any library, and to dealers and collectors, a signed first edition is the most desirable—and valuable—edition.
Do I have to provide my credit card number?
Yes. In order to efficiently manage this unique program, Harvard Book Store requires that all members provide a credit card number upon sign-up.
What if I don't want a certain selection? May I return a selection?
At this time, members may not decline a selection. Signed books make great gifts!
All selections are non-refundable and non-returnable.
Is there a limit to how many people can sign up?
Yes. As signed first editions are difficult to procure in large quantities, Harvard Book Store must limit the number of members. If the member limit is exceeded, a wait list will be started.
I have a question that isn't answered here. Whom do I ask?
Ask a bookseller in the store, call us at (617) 497-1156 ext. 5, or write to email@example.com.
How do I sign up?
Join the Signed New Voices in Fiction Club, or give a gift membership, using our secure online form.
Sign up now, and your first selection will be Luster by Raven Leilani.
The above sign-up form also includes current shipping and processing rates as well as the terms of membership. Thank you for supporting Harvard Book Store, a landmark literary institution, with your membership!
A Brand New Club
Expanding on the success of our longstanding Signed First Edition Club service, in the spring of 2019 we were thrilled to announce a brand new signed book subscription service to Harvard Book Store customers.
Harvard Book Store’s New Voices in Fiction author event series, co-sponsored by GrubStreet, has brought dozens of emerging writers to Harvard Square, including novelists Lisa Halliday, Elif Batuman, Brit Bennett, and Yaa Gyasi. We've hosted Tommy Orange (There There), Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black), and Jamel Brinkley (A Lucky Man) for their remarkable debuts.
As we have done for over a decade with our flagship Signed First Edition Club service, this additional club will offer signed first printings of four debut novels a year—curated by our staff—to bring you some of the finest and most important debut novels of the season, with an eye toward literary merit and collectibility. This service is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to reads more novels but feels overwhelmed (in a good way) when they walk up to the new fiction table, or an ideal pick for bibliophiles who want the latest in boundary-pushing, cutting-edge work. Our promise is this: our selections will never be obvious, and the novels will never be typical, but you’ll be thrilled by every one of them.
Our inaugural pick for the club was Isabella Hammad’s The Parisian, a sweeping, Jamesian book both titanic and profound. The next selection was the multi-award-wining On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by poet Ocean Vuong. His debut book of poetry, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, was the winner of the Whiting Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous marks his first foray into fiction. This was followed by The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott and Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey.
We look forward to introducing these writers to your bookshelf, and there's much more to come!
Learn more about the upcoming selections and find an FAQ about the club here.
Membership spots are limited; sign up today!
Spring 2019 Selection
The Parisian by Isabella Hammad
“The Parisian is a sublime reading experience: delicate, restrained, surpassingly intelligent, uncommonly poised and truly beautiful. It is realism in the tradition of Flaubert and Stendhal—everything that happens feels not so much imagined as ordained. That this remarkable historical epic should be the debut of a writer in her mid-twenties seems impossible, yet it's true. Isabella Hammad is an enormous talent and her book is a wonder.”
"Isabella Hammad’s The Parisian is a sweeping, Jamesian book both titanic and profound. As I carried this nearly 600-page novel with me to work, to the park, to the subway, to my favorite cafes, I was in awe of Hammad’s ability to transport, the elegance and unpretentiousness of her prose, and my intense concern for her characters."
—Spencer R., Harvard Book Store
Summer 2019 Selection
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
“This is one of the best novels I’ve ever read. I always want my favorite poets to write novels and here it’s happened. Ocean Vuong is a master. This book a masterpiece. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is an ode to loss and struggle, to being a Vietnamese American, to Hartford, Connecticut, and it’s a compassionate epistolary ode to a mother who may or may not know how to read. I dog-eared so many pages the book almost collapsed—I almost did.”
“The brilliance of Ocean Vuong’s book lies in its looseness, its brevity, its incoherence at times—you know, that stuff of life. Vuong’s training as a poet is obvious, as his novel is dense with metaphor. Tension occurs not by the proximity of conflicting characters, but by proximity of paragraphs, vignettes short and long that run parallel and perpendicular to one another, sometimes fluvial and sometimes engendering awesome discord. There’s an indescribable directionality to his sentences, a soft buzz that indicates the white machine of life is present no matter the tragedies that befall the narrator, Little Dog, in this autobiographical novel. Though marked by adversity, this story is not a tragedy. It’s much more complicated, and much like Proteus, multiform and difficult to pin down. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, is a novel of the opioid crisis, a novel of the Vietnam War, a novel in the name of immigrant mothers, a novel of glistening sexuality and first love—and for a stretch it becomes a novel of breathless poems, as Vuong contends directly with grief, addiction, and grief again, with one-liners that’ll make your head spin. Vuong’s first novel, much like his poetry, is unquestionably humane and filled with light.”
—Spencer R., Harvard Book Store
Fall 2019 Selection
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
"In alternating chapters, the book toggles between East and West across more than a decade, dropping in on multiple pulse points of the so-called “soft-propaganda warfare”—a battle waged to win over the hearts and minds of Soviet citizens by giving them access to the rogue homegrown art and literature their government denied them. Really, though, it’s about the women who fought alongside (but officially of course, largely below) the men on that fight’s front lines, scheming and strategizing and even finding the time to fall in love, sometimes with one another. The whirl of trench coats and cocktails and midnight meetings on park benches has the heady whiff of classic old-fashioned spy storytelling, but filtered, too, through Prescott’s thoroughly modern lens."
—Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“Lara Prescott’s debut, The Secrets We Kept, is a tantalizing historical novel set amidst a backdrop of Soviets, spies, and the burgeoning feminist movement of the mid-20th century. At its heart is the biggest literary headline of the Soviet era: the suppression of Boris Pasternak’s USSR-maligning novel Doctor Zhivago (for which Pasternak won, declined, and was eventually awarded posthumously the Nobel Prize), and a true story that will be familiar to few: how the CIA got the book into the hands of publishers and readers across the world through covert operations. Prescott assembles years of research on what is now known as The Zhivago Affair into a captivating novel complete with high-stakes trysts, literary ambition, and Mad Men-esque office drama.”
—Spencer R., Harvard Book Store
Spring 2019 Selection
Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey
“Popkey’s lyrical debut novel reads like a series of short stories: Over the span of 20 years, an unnamed narrator has conversations with an eclectic set of women—conversations about shame and love, sexuality and power. Envy and guilt. Motherhood. Loneliness. The slim book is smart and raw, and Popkey dives head-on into difficult, well—how else to say it?—topics of conversation.”
—The Washington Post
“Miranda Popkey's discursive debut is part Rachel Cusk, part Miriam Toews, part conglomerate of the best/most terrifying conversations you had in grad school. I found Topics of Conversation to be glued-to-the-page, heart-thumpingly good, with sentences that run and run and don't let go. Somehow Popkey covers everything in this series of dialogues between women, about women—with fresh insight, she writes about art, feminism, sex, literature, motherhood, monstrous men, all with an edge of nuance that will complicate your personal beliefs long after you've finished reading. If you're like me, you'll take Topics of Conversation and break the spine, carry it around in your back pocket, litter the pages with dirt and blood and coffee stains. Then, I hope, you'll share this novel with whomever will listen."
—Spencer R., Harvard Book Store
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