Is There A Universe Where She Is Wanted? Revealing Self-Portrait With Nothing by Aimee Pokwatka

A picture paints a thousand worlds…

For fans of David Mitchell and Joanne Harris, debut novelist Aimee Pokwatka’s Self-Portrait With Nothing reminds us that living our best life sometimes means embracing the imperfect one we already have. Self-Portrait With Nothing will be published October 18, 2022 by Tordotcom Publishing.

“Fraught and deeply moving, Self-Portrait with Nothing is the work of a genuinely exciting new talent.” —George Saunders, Booker Prize winner and MacArthur Genius

If a picture paints a thousand worlds…

Abandoned as an infant on the local veterinarian’s front porch, Pepper Rafferty was raised by two loving mothers, and now at thirty-six is married to the stable, supportive Ike. She’s never told anyone that at fifteen she discovered the identity of her biological mother.

That’s because her birth mother is Ula Frost, a reclusive painter famous for the outrageous claims that her portraits summon their subjects’ doppelgangers from parallel universes.

Researching the rumors, Pepper couldn’t help but wonder: Was there a parallel universe in which she was more confident, more accomplished, better able to accept love? A universe in which Ula decided she was worth keeping? A universe in which Ula’s rejection didn’t still hurt too much to share?

Cover Design by Jaya Miceli and Cover Art @shutterstock

Aimee Pokwatka grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia. She studied anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and received her MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University. Her work has been published in Fairy Tale Review, Outlook Springs, Hunger Mountain, and elsewhere. She lives in New York with her family.


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