Letters in the Mail


A riveting tale of destruction and love found in the direst of places—even at the extreme end of post-human experience—the extraordinarily gifted Lidia Yuknavitch has written a fierce heroine like no other. The Book of Joan is an explosive work of fiction that considers what it means to be human, the fluidity of sex and gender, and the urgency of art as a means for survival.

“In this brilliant and incendiary new novel, mixing realism and fabulism, Earth, circa 2049, has been devastated by global warming and war; the wealthy live on a suborbital complex ruled by a billionaire celebrity turned dictator.” (New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice)

“[A] searing fusion of literary fiction and reimagined history and science-fiction thriller and eco-fantasy… Yuknavitch is a bold and ecstatic writer, wallowing in sex and filth and decay and violence and nature and love with equal relish.” (NPR Books)

Purchase a yearly Letters in the Mail subscription now through June 30 and we’ll send you your own hardcover copy of The Book of Joan signed by author Lidia Yuknavitch!* Subscribe before June 15, and you’ll receive Lidia’s letter, too!

Already have a subscription? Just extend or convert it to yearly and we’ll send you the book! Or give the gift or letters to a friend and keep the book for yourself! Click here to subscribe today!

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the bestselling novel, The Small Backs of Children (winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and the Reader’s Choice Award), the novel Dora: A Headcase, and three books of short fiction. Her widely acclaimed memoir, The Chronology of Water, was a finalist for a PEN Center USA Award for Creative Nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader’s Choice. Her novel The Book of Joan was released by Harper in April 2017, as is her forthcoming book based on her recent TED TalkThe Misfit’s Manifesto (Fall 2017).

Lidia founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches both in-person and online. She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon. She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.

*Subscription must be purchased by June 30, 2017. Offer valid while supplies last. Due to shipping costs, this offer is only available in the US.

The Rumpus wants to make your mailbox fun again!

How? It’s a program called Letters in the Mail and you can subscribe here. Every two weeks, you’ll receive a letter, in the mail. In the first three months letters went out from Stephen Elliott, Margaret Cho, Marie Calloway, Dean Haspeil, Lorelei Lee, Matthew Specktor, Rick Moody, Aimee Bender, Padma Viswanathan, Sari Botton, and Matthew Zapruder. Some of the letters were typed, others handwritten. Some included illustrations, one was a comic, all were signed. We then photocopy the letter and send it to you. Think of it as letters you used to get from your friends before email, except now your friends are your favorite writers! View sample letters here and here.

Recent and upcoming letter writers include Chloe Caldwell, Molly Crabapple, Colin Dickey, Nicole Chung, Mensah Demary, Josh Gondelman, Alana Massey, Dana Schwartz, Jia Tolentino, and many more! Think of it as the letters you used to get from your creative friends, before this whole Internet/email thing. Letters will include return addresses in case you want to write the author back!

And it’s only $7 a month (domestic), cheap!  You can also purchase a year of Letters in the Mail. And if you live outside of the United States, you can purchase an annual international subscription. Letters in the Mail helps us keep The Rumpus running—so, you can correspond with your favorite writers and support the website in one fell swoop.

Letters in the Mail makes a fabulous gift! Imagine that special reader in your life receiving a letter (in their physical mailbox!) every two weeks. They can be letters from old favorites or from new authors destined to become old favorites.



“I used to hate email. When people first started using it, or at least people I knew, it was around 1994, and I was a senior in high school. I resisted it with all my might—when someone emailed me, I would respond with a phone call, a handwritten note, or not at all. At that time, you see, my friends and I had turned letter writing into an art. A letter was only 30% the content of the letter—everything else was about how it was delivered. The paper stock, the doodles, the handwriting—all of this was what mattered. A letter should be an experience.”

Colin Dickey, author of Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places and upcoming Letter in the Mail writer

Missed your favorite author’s letter? We are now offering past letters available for individual sale.

Any questions, customer service, or if you just want to say hello, please contact [email protected].

Want more child-friendly letters? Check out our Letters for Kids program, which delivers letters from your kids’ favorite writers twice a month!

Here are some profiles of Letters in the Mail from the New York Times and USA Today. And here is program founder Stephen Elliott talking about it on the CBS Morning Show with Charlie Rose.