I am seeking representation for my 92,000-word novel, "For the Wife Who Comes After Me."
After she is faced with yet another of her new husband’s unpredictable and dangerous behaviors, Anna Lato’s college-age son, AJ, convinces her to obtain a protective order and force her husband, Ralph, out of the house. When Ralph leaves the house escorted by a police officer, guilt overtakes Anna for not giving her four-year-long marriage another chance. She tries to “fix her mistake,” but Ralph, who unbeknownst to Anna holds a dark secret, insists on a divorce.
In the beginning of the novel, Anna has already lost not just her name (she is a “she”) but her entire sense of selfhood. As she grapples with her “mistake,” Anna remembers her complex past—her family and being the “other” (Kashubian, ethnic minority). She searches for answers to save her future with Ralph until she discovers documents that reveal his secret. After meeting with Ralph’s previous wife, she realizes why her marriage was destined to fail. By the end of the novel, at great emotional and financial cost, Anna emerges independent, takes back her own life and identity, and finally uses her name—Anna L, Anna Lato.
The story unfolds with two narratives: first person and third person. Modeled on a Catholic confession, the first-person narrative is reminiscent of Anna’s religious upbringing in Poland. Over-empathetic Anna felt responsible for others all her life—from her mother pained by loss, through drunks in the countryside ditches, to finally Ralph, a deeply troubled and emotionally abusive man. The third person narrative of the subplot is reminiscent of the “true witness”—a mirror perspective that in Polish folk tradition chronicles life. The third person narrative is constructed in the present tense to emphasize how the “past is always present” and how it informs people’s behavior, often compromising their personal narratives.
Much like Olga in Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment, Anna struggles with mental anguish after her marriage falls apart. Readers who appreciated The Days of Abandonment will enjoy how my novel looks at the habits and emotionality of deeply empathetic women who stay in abusive relationships because subconsciously they believe that saving others is a form of saving themselves. My novel expands the conversation further by adding Anna’s multilayered “otherness.”
In "In the margins. On the pleasure of Reading and Writing," Ferrante uses a term “smarginatura,” which in English can be translated into “dissolution of borders,” or perhaps, “losing shape.” In Polish the word “smaginatura” can be translated into “krwawic,” which means “bleeding.” Perhaps this is another connection I might have with Ferrante. The woman in my novel “loses herself” to the point that she is not able to see her own image in the mirror. Throughout the novel, she slowly regains her ability to “see herself” again.
This writer is looking for an agent
When We Were Twins, Plamen Press, 2023
“Water Under the Bed.” MicroLit Almanac, February 2022
“The Spirit of History.” Brick House, December 2020
“Beneath the black rocks.” Popula, June 2020
“Nazis and the Layers of Shame.” Popula, February 2019,
“Election Day in Communist Poland.” Popula, November 2018,
“When Fake News Was Good.” Popula, August 2018,
“When I was growing up in Poland …,” Washingtonian, January 2018,
“The Lessons of My Childhood in Communist Poland Are Relevant Again.” Literary Hub, September 2017,
“Dictator at the Podium: The First 100 Days Takes Me Back 25 Years,” Literary Hub, April 2017,
“In the Image of Our Convictions,” Consequence Magazine, May 2017,
Prizes, Awards, and Honors
Travel and Research Grants ($1,200 each). Department of English, University of Maryland, College Park: 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2018-2019, 2019-2020.
Judge for Alan Cheuse Fiction Award Competition. George Mason University. April 2019.
Interview: Guest on NPR (WYPR, Signal) to discuss the novel To Kill the Other, March 2015,
The interview was rebroadcasted in August 2015 as one on the best interviews of the year,
Barry Hannah Merit Scholarship in Fiction from Bennington College, Bennington, VT, June 2014
Interview: Guest on Authors of the Roundtable, February 2014
Interview: Urbanite Baltimore Magazine, The Definition of Current Author Danuta Hinc faces horrors of history with humor by Baynard Woods, June 2014
Interview: Baltimore Sun, A question of killing: Howard County author searches for an answer by Lisa Kawata, August 2011,
Review: Little Patuxent Review, A Novelist Looks at 9/11 by C Wallace Walker, January 2011,
Review: Midwest Book Review, March 2011,
“BBE In Conversation with Jasmin Darznik and Danuta Hinc.” October 2021
“For the Wife Who Comes After Me” (novel excerpt). Reading and talk. Bennington Writers. On Zoom (COVID-19). December 2020
“Language, False Dichotomies, and the Many Layers of my Shame.” Reading and talk. The Columbia Art Center. Columbia, Maryland. January 2019.
“Connections and the Disconnect—Global History and the Making of the Other” (excerpt from: To Kill the Other). Reading and talk. Department of English. University of Maryland, College Park. February 2018.
“Millennials on Racism and Feminism in the Age of Social Media.” Presented at Making Waves in Cyber Space: How Women Use Digital Forums to Make Critical Networking Space for Special Education, Women in Journalism, and Women of Color. Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, November 2019
“When Fake News Was Good.” Presented at Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures Panel, Part One. October 2019 South Central MLA Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas, November 2019.
“An American Consciousness and an East European Subconsciousness in the works of Charles Simic.” Presented at Tribute to the Life and Work of Poet Charles Simic on his 80th Birthday Panel. AWP Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon, March 2019.
“Trump’s America and Communist Poland. How the Past Becomes the Now.” Presented at Silenced Dimensions in Crisis and Conflict Panel. AWP Annual Conference, Tampa, Florida, March 2018.
“The Limits of Losing: Language, Exile, and the Self in Herta Müller’s collection of essays, Król klania sie i zabija, Eva Hoffman’s memoir, Lost in Translation, and Vladimir Nabokov’s memoir, Speak, Memory.” Presented at Bennington College, Vermont, June 2016.
“The Limits of Losing: Language, Exile, and the Self in Herta Müller’s collection of essays, Król klania sie i zabija, Eva Hoffman’s memoir, Lost in Translation, and Vladimir Nabokov’s memoir, Speak, Memory.” Presented at AWP Annual Conference, Los Angeles, California, March 2016.
National History Day Fair. Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD, Houston, Texas, April 2022. (Author)
Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures Panel, Part One (Virtual). 2021 South Central MLA Conference, Houston, Texas, November 2021 (Chair).
Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures Panel, Part One. 2019 South Central MLA Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas, November 2019 (Chair).
Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures Panel, Part Two. 2016 South Central MLA Conference, Dallas, Texas, November 2016, (Chair).
Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures Panel, Part One. 2016 South Central MLA Conference, Dallas, Texas, November 2016, (Chair).