Author works: Adam Schwartz & "The Rest of the World" (Online)

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The heroes in this acclaimed story collection are kids coming of age in a Baltimore that owes them better. They are studies of characters in crisis—delivered by a writer whose empathies illuminate the longings of teens and young adults forced to navigate complex moral choices. These teen and young adult characters rescue loved ones, plot hustles, seek redemption and refuse to give into despair. As our country grapples with who we are and the values we aspire to, this collection offers stories about resilient teens growing up in neighborhoods ravaged by systemic inequities.


By shaping kids’ struggles—their hopes and griefs and the sometimes impossible choices they confront— into narrative, Schwartz hopes to capture truths that reflect the strength, will, generosity and essential goodness so many Baltimore teenagers have shown him over the years. 


Asked about what inspired him to write these stories, Schwartz says, "All eight stories in this collection are set in Baltimore, and they were all inspired by getting to know the teens in my classroom. Like many writers, I’m drawn to understand people—their struggles and triumphs, drives and disappointments, the forces that shape our identities. Writing these stories—carrying these characters around in my head—has been a way to transcribe the resilience I see in so many Baltimore teens. 


"The students at my school are 16, 17, 18 or sometimes even older, but they’re kids. And Baltimore puts enormous pressure on some of them. The challenges kids in Baltimore face are often the consequence—direct or indirect—of systemic inequities that have been strangling Baltimore neighborhoods for generations: disinvestment, municipal neglect, mass incarceration, few job opportunities and unreliable public transportation. How does this landscape shape teenagers’ views of themselves and their prospects? How do kids hold onto their ideals when parts of the city are unraveling around them? In what ways are they sustained and nurtured by loved ones? For children trying to figure this maze out, what is the right way forward? These are the questions I’m trying to get my arms around in the book."


Adam’s stories have won Poets & Writers’ WEX Award, Philadelphia Stories’ Marguerite McGlinn contest, Baltimore City Paper’s story contest and have been published in Arkansas ReviewMississippi ReviewPopshot MagazineRaritanThe Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, Little Patuxent Review, and Saranac Review. His non-fiction has appeared in the Sewanee Review, Baltimore Sun, and the New York Daily News. He has an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. For twenty-two years, he has taught high school in Baltimore City.

Books can be purchased through Books With a Past

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Presented with support from Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County and Worcester County Library.