Topics of Conversation follows an unnamed female narrator from her first summer post-college to her years as a single mother in California’s Central Valley, always hungry for experience and hell bent on upending her life. The narrative unfolds in a series of conversations between women—the stories they tell one another; the stories they tell themselves—circling questions of desire, disgust, anger, envy, guilt, and despair. Topics of Conversationis a searing look at what it means to come of age, to grow up, to love, to lust as a woman in this world. “There’s always someone, or so I’d been led to believe: on business or in the dog house or out on the proverbial prowl,” pronounces Miranda’s narrator. “That was the danger of being a woman.” At the center of her striking debut is this: how much bad behavior are we still willing to permit?
Miranda Popkey was born in Santa Cruz, California in 1987. She graduated with a BA in Humanities from Yale in 2009 and with an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018. She has written for, among other outlets, The New Republic, The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog, the Paris Review Daily, The Hairpin, The Awl, GQ, and New York magazine's The Cut.
Emily Gould is the author of two novels, Perfect Tunes and Friendship, and the essay collection And the Heart Says Whatever. With Ruth Curry, she runs Emily Books, which publishes books by women as an imprint of Coffee House Press. She has written for the New York Times, New York, The New Yorker, Bookforum, and many other publications. She lives in New York City with her family.