Garrard Conley & Alexis Coe on Ancestor Trouble

Maud Newton and Garrard Conley stand behind a large foamcore-backed poster of Conley's book, Boy Erased, at Book Court, after his book launch, in May 2016
Maud Newton and Garrard Conley at Conley’s book launch in May 2016.

I’m delighted and honored to share early praise for Ancestor Trouble from Garrard Conley and Alexis Coe, two more amazing writers who took time from their own important work to read my book and say nice things.

  • “I’ve been searching for this book a long time, one that would help make sense of my own complicated family history. Newton’s incredibly smart hybrid of a memoir is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about themselves through the prism of the past — which is to say, nearly everyone. I can’t wait to share this with my family.” — Garrard Conley, New York Times bestselling author of Boy Erased
  • “You can’t make this stuff up, and in this beautifully written memoir, Maud Newton doesn’t have to. She brings a historian’s rigor to the pursuit of family lore that has, by design or accident, shed significant details along the way. The story of an ancestor who murdered a man with a hay hook is not, as it turns out, that simple. The end result, a triumph, is two books in one: an accessible guide to genealogy and the harrowing saga of an American family steeped in intergenerational trauma. I will be feeling the aftershocks of this book for some time.” — Alexis Coe, New York Times bestselling author of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington

Earlier advance praise from Abbott Kahler, Laila Lalami, Maaza Mengiste, Sarah Smarsh, and Dionne Ford is on my book page in the order received, if you’re trying to decide whether to pre-order.

Intuitive Writer Sticks to Outline

I always believed that as an intuitive writer I couldn’t stick to an outline, but I was wrong. The loose structure I came up with when I started writing Ancestor Trouble was my guiding light. If you’re curious, I write a little bit about my book’s structure and table of contents in my latest newsletter. I’d also like to thank Honorée . . .

Read more

New Books, Galleys, and Kitten

Supply chain issues are hitting books hard, and if there are new ones you’d like to order for yourself or as gifts for the holidays, it sounds like it would be a good idea to place the orders now. Here are a few of the new books I love (and have mentioned in recent newsletters), if you’re not sure where . . .

Read more

Love Letters from a 1943 Affair

Some letters we found in my granny’s papers after she died record the fallout from my grandfather Robert’s affair. Ultimately, Robert was said to have married thirteen times. Granny’s marriage to him, his fourth of those I’ve found, lasted about four and a half years. Knowing her later intolerance for foolishness, I’m surprised she put up with him for that . . .

Read more


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.