In addition to the direct links below, Jen's books are also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells Books, McNally Jackson Books, Atomic Books, The Ivy Bookshop, Politics and Prose, and other fine booksellers.

The Company of Strangers

Braddock Avenue Books, 2023

"Small Press Books you Should Read This Summer"—Electric Literature

"Best Book, 2023 Best of Baltimore"—Baltimore Magazine

The stories in Jen Michalski’s new collection reveal an America in which ideas of genuine community ring false and the spiritual backbone of family life is damaged, perhaps beyond repair. Characters, many of them queer Gen-Xers of a certain age, find themselves looking—often desperately—for a way to understand the lives they’ve lived and a way to move forward with at least the possibility of future happiness. In “Long Haul,” a gay man visits his estranged uncle to lay to rest the unresolved guilt they both feel over the childhood disappearance of his sister. In “Great White” a gay man who was the sperm donor to a lesbian friend’s pregnancy, is confronted with the possibility of genuine parenthood when the friend’s partner dies and she is laid-low by grief. And in the title story, a young woman affirms her sexuality by having an affair with her brother’s wife; the fallout leading her to regain her footing only when she befriends an elderly gay couple vacationing in the area. In stories that relentlessly demonstrate the tensions of the 21st century, Michalski’s The Company of Strangers provides a sometimes comical, sometimes touching portrait of what is perhaps our most pressing question: How do we make a life? 

You'll Be Fine 

"An enjoyable story about an adult trying to grow up"—Kirkus Reviews.

A "Best Small Press Book"—Buzzfeed

A "Best Books We Read This Year" pickIndependent Book Review

After Alex’s mother dies of an accidental overdose, Alex takes leave from her job as a writer for a lifestyle magazine to return home to Maryland and join her brother Owen, a study in failure to launch, in sorting out their mother’s whimsical, often self-destructive, life. While home, Alex plans to profile Juliette Sprigg, an Eastern Shore restaurant owner and celebrity chef in the making who Alex secretly dated in high school. And when Alex enlists the help of Carolyn, the editor of the local newspaper, in finding a photographer for the article’s photo shoot, Alex struggles with the deepening, tender relationship that blossoms between them as well. To complicate matters, Alex and Owen’s “Aunt” Johanna, who has transitioned to a woman, offers to come from Seattle to help with arrangements, and all hell breaks loose when she announces she is actually Alex and Owen’s long-estranged father. Can Alex accept her mother and father for who they are, rather than who she hoped they would be? And can Alex apply the same philosophy to herself?

The Summer She Was Under Water 

Black Lawrence Press, 2017

It has been twenty years since Sam Pinski, a young novelist, has spent the Fourth of July weekend with her family at their cabin on the Susquehanna River. There, she must confront a chaotic history of mental illness, alcoholism, and physical violence and struggle to find perspective in the pulse of things familiar and respite from the shame of the taboo relationship that courses through her. As she does, a subplot emerges: Excerpts are included from Sam’s metaphoric novel in which a pregnant man tries to solve the mystery of his fertility and absolve himself of his past. Then tragedy strikes the Pinskis and they must draw together, tentatively realizing that they will continue to spin off in their own orbits unless they begin the hard work of forgiveness themselves.

From Here

Aqueous Books, 2014

(2015 USA Book Awards Finalist, Short Fiction)

The twelve stories in FROM HERE explore the dislocations and intersections of people searching, running away, staying put. Their physical and emotional landscapes run the gamut, but in the end, they're all searching for a place to call home.

The Tide King 

Black Lawrence Press, 2013

(Winner, 2012 Big Moose Prize; First Place Winner, 2016 Somerset Awards)

Stanley Polensky and Calvin Johnson serve in Germany during World War II. Calvin, near death after being shelled, is given a bewitched herb by Stanley but then left for dead. Each soldier returns from the war and years pass. Calvin, discovering that he cannot age and cannot die, searches for Stanley to get answers.

Michalski's The Tide King is the story of burnette saxifrage, an herb rumored in Polish folklore to provide those who eat it with immortality, and its effects on three generations of a Polish family over two continents beginning in 19th-century Poland and ending in 1976 America.

Could You Be With Her Now

Dzanc Books, 2013

“. . . the book feels like a tour de force statement on how—and why—novellas continue to be written.” Baltimore Fishbowl

This collection of two novellas showcases Jen Michalski's varying skills as a writer. In "I Can Make It to California Before It's Time for Dinner," Michalski examines the dangers of living in a world while having a compromised reality. In a first-person narrative, the reader follows Jimmy, a mentally challenged fourteen-year-old boy who accidentally kills a neighborhood girl. He winds up running away and hitching a ride with a trucker who is not as trustworthy a companion as Jimmy believes him to be. In "May-September," which won first place in Press 53's Open Awards in 2010, a young writer is hired by a much-older woman over the summer to help blog her memoirs for her grandchildren. An unlikely friendship, and more, follows, as Michalski examines one of the last cultural taboos of our age: May-December romances.

Close Encounters

Dzanc Books, 2007

"You don’t become grateful you finished the book, mind you, as these quick-paced, adorable stories could go on forever. You want them to go on forever because of their incredible intrigue."Potomac Journal

Here are maps of the distances between us and within us. With humor, anger and deep emotion, Jen Michalski's first collection of stories is a window on the daily struggle for connection that links and separates us all.

Grace in Darkness: Grace and Gravity, Volume VIII: An Anthology of Fiction by D.C. Women

American University Press, 2018

The eighth volume of the series started by Richard Peabody and Paycock Press! Fiction by DC-area women, edited by incoming series editor Melissa Scholes-Young!

The House That Made Me: Writers Reflect on the Places and People That Defined Them 

SparkPoint Press, 2016

Home―the place where we were born, where we learned our first lessons, where family was defined. The very notion evokes powerful feelings, feelings as individual as our fingerprints, as enduring as the universe and as inescapable as gravity. In this candid, evocative collection of essays, a diverse group of acclaimed authors reflects on the diverse homes, neighborhoods, and experiences that helped shape them―using Google Earth software to revisit the location in the process. Moving and life-affirming, this poignant anthology gives fresh insight into the concept of Home.

Amid the Roar: An Anthology of Towson University Authors 

Patapsco Valley Press, 2015

Shale: Extreme Fiction for Extreme Conditions

Texture Press, 2015

Smokelong: The Best of the First Ten Years 

Matter Press, 2014

Press 53 Open Awards Anthology

Press 53, 2010

City Sages: Baltimore 

CityLit Press, 2010