National Readings and Events to Follow

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sept. 11 – Stillhouse Press will advance publication of Wendi Kaufman’s Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories. In response to Kaufman’s passing in late August and an outpouring of admiration and support for her highly anticipated first book, the publication date has been set for Oct. 1.

Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories , Wendi Kaufman  8.5" x 5.5" ~ 198 pages  Print: $16.00, ISBN: 978-0-9905169-0-3  E-book: $9.99, ISBN: 978-0-9905169-1-0  Distributor: Ingram  Available for direct purchase  here  and most major retail outlets

Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories, Wendi Kaufman

8.5" x 5.5" ~ 198 pages

Print: $16.00, ISBN: 978-0-9905169-0-3

E-book: $9.99, ISBN: 978-0-9905169-1-0

Distributor: Ingram

Available for direct purchase here and most major retail outlets

Kaufman’s stories have been widely anthologized. The title story in the collection, “Helen on 86th Street,” first appeared in The New Yorker and Scribner’s Best of Fiction Workshops , and was later republished in the textbook, Elements of Literature and the anthology, Fault Lines: Stories of Divorce, and adapted as a musical. In advance praise for Kaufman's stories, Cathleen Schine (The New Yorkers) called the 14 stories that comprise the collection “tart and understated, powerful in its sympathy and warmth” and “funny as hell.”

As a frequent contributor to Washingtonian magazine and The Washington Post, and curator of the D.C.- based book blog “The Happy Booker,” Kaufman has long been an active member in the Washington, D.C. literary community, fostering and helping to promote fellow authors. After announcing via Facebook in early July that she was losing her battle with cancer and would likely not live to see the publication of her debut collection, friends and fellow writers both in Washington, D.C. and across the country came forward to pay tribute to her life and work.

She was—is—a marvelous writer, and I wish she could have lived to have the experience I’ve known over the years: of walking into a bookstore and seeing there a piece of work I’ve written, and some reader taking the book down off the shelf, as Wendi evidently did, with mine,” wrote Joyce Maynard (After Her) in a New York Observer article published Sept. 2 commemorating Kaufman’s dynamic online presence and promising collection.


As one who believed that writers should take an active role in every phase of their work, from conception to publication, Kaufman was excited and honored to work with Stillhouse Press, a collaboration between George Mason University’s MFA program and the Fall for the Book literary festival, established in January of this year as a way to bring students into the world of small press publishing through applied experience. Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories is the press’ first publication.

Kaufman began working with Stillhouse Press in June, developing an intimate working relationship with student leadership to collaborate on everything from author outreach to book design. “Wendi really wanted to be involved in each step of the process and was excited to contribute where she could. From promotion to design, she was full of ideas and support,” said Stillhouse Press Editor, Marcos L. Martínez.

The final cover, adored by Kaufman, was jointly developed by two of Kaufman’s friends, graphic designer Paul Gormont of Apertures, Inc. and Northern Virginia-based painter, Sheep Jones. Jones’ original painting of the Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories cover now hangs in the Kaufman home, a gift to her family from Stillhouse Press.


In response to the significant support for Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories, Stillhouse Press is arranging a series of readings throughout the United States. The first will take place Saturday, Sept. 13 at Stillhouse Press’ official launch, Stillhouse Sessions II: The Salon, where Mary Kay Zuravleff (Man Alive!) will read an excerpt from the collection. Zuravleff, a close friend of Kaufman, penned the introduction to the book. Dallas Hudgens, publisher of Stillhouse’s sister press Relegation Books and longtime friend of Kaufman, is also scheduled to read from the book on Sunday, Oct. 26 at KGB Bar’s Sunday Night Fiction showcase.

Please visit our events page for more information. To arrange a reading, email:


  • Read Book Maven, Bethanne Patrick's remembrance of Wendi at
  • Joyce Maynard, writing for the New York Observer, reflects on Wendi as a dynamic online presence and a writer too soon lost
  • Mary Kay Zuravleff, who penned the introduction to Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories, shares "Tales of Kaufman: Remembering a Local Writer" at Politics & Prose


Meghan McNamara

Director of Media and Communications