5 novels by DC-area authors in 2023 to put on your holiday reading list

Are you in a hurry to meet your annual reading goal, but not sure which story to fall into next?

WTOP has you covered with this list of five new fiction works by local authors. The titles range in subgenre, length and subject matter, but they have two things in common: They were all written by D.C.-area residents, and they were all published this year.

For more reading recommendations (and gift ideas for the bookworm in your life), check out WTOP’s favorite books to read in 2023.

“Family Lore” by Elizabeth Acevedo

National Book Award-winning author Acevedo’s latest novel has been named a “best book of 2023” by the Washington Post, NPR and more. The story follows Flor, who can predict the exact date of someone’s death. The plot unfolds into a larger examination of “one family’s journey through their history, helping them better navigate all that is to come.”

Born to Dominican immigrants in Harlem, New York, Acevedo earned her B.A. in Performing Arts at the George Washington University before getting her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She currently lives in D.C. with her husband.

“Happiness Falls” by Angie Kim

Kim’s New York Times bestseller was not only written by a local — it’s set locally. The plot unravels in Northern Virginia, where a biracial Korean-American family is reeling from the disappearance of their beloved husband and father. What comes next is “both a ticking-clock investigation into the whereabouts of a father and an emotionally rich portrait of a family whose most personal secrets just may be at the heart of his disappearance.”

As a preteen, Kim moved from Seoul, South Korea, to the Baltimore suburbs. She is a graduate of both Stanford University and Harvard Law School, and now lives in Northern Virginia with her family.

“Bad Questions” by Len Kruger

Kruger’s debut novel, the winner of the 2023 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Award, features another familiar setting. Kruger’s protagonist, Billy, and his mother move across Montgomery County, Maryland, in the wake of his father’s death. That’s when he meets a former teacher, participates in a séance — and things get out of control.

Kruger is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Creative Writing M.F.A. program and resides in D.C. On his website, you can find recordings of storytelling performances he’s done across the region, including the District’s Black Cat and The Auld Shebeen in Fairfax, Virginia.

“Rebecca, Not Becky” by Christine Platt and Catherine Wigginton Greene

Two D.C. authors for the price of one! This brand-new book by Platt and Wigginton Greene follows De’Andrea, a Black woman who has just moved to a predominantly white Virginia suburb with her husband and young daughter. As she’s struggling to adjust to the community, she makes a new friend — a white woman. The story “explores motherhood, friendship and the true meaning of sisterhood amidst the backdrop of America’s all-too-familiar racial reckoning.”

Platt currently works as the Executive Director for Baldwin For The Arts and serves as an ambassador for Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Wigginton Greene is a filmmaker who directed the 2014 documentary “I’m Not Racist … Am I?” She’s pursuing her doctorate at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Both authors live in D.C.

“The Sunset Crowd” by Karin Tanabe

Tanabe’s seventh novel centers around three young women in 1977 Los Angeles, all fighting to make it in the entertainment industry. The book, which has earned rave reviews from the likes of Washington Post and Rolling Stone, is “a tale of survival and reinvention, of faking it until you make it, and the glittering appeal of success and stardom.”

Tanabe was born to immigrant parents in D.C., and lives there today with her husband and children. She worked as a reporter at POLITICO until 2017.

Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle.

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