Welcome to Shirley

A Memoir from an Atomic Town


By Kelly McMasters

Formats and Prices




$28.99 CAD


Trade Paperback


Trade Paperback $21.99 $28.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 22, 2015. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Shirley seemed to be doomed from the beginning. Founded by a Vaudevillian huckster who touted it as a seaside haven despite the sand bar that blocks access to the shore, the town has been plagued by one disaster after another — a UFO, a childhood cancer cluster, and a mysterious federal nuclear laboratory in nearby Brookhaven that leaked toxic nuclear and chemical waste into the aquifer from which the residents unknowingly drew their well water.

This is Kelly McMasters’ account of growing up in a cursed town and loving it anyway, and of a girl’s awakening to tragedy and to a sense of mission. Told in a deliciously engaging voice, Welcome to Shirley balances the bitter with the sweet, the funny with the infuriating, in an unforgettable story of working class Long Island.

On Sale
Dec 22, 2015
Page Count
328 pages

Kelly McMasters

About the Author

Kelly McMasters is a former bookshop owner and author of Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town. The book was listed as one of Oprah’s top 5 summer memoirs and is the basis for the documentary film The Atomic States of America, a 2012 Sundance selection. She is also co-editor, along with Margot Kahn, of the anthology This Is the Place: Women Writing on Home (Seal Press, 2017). Her essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, The American Scholar, River Teeth: A Journal of Narrative Nonfiction, Tin House, and Newsday, among others. She holds a BA from Vassar College and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia’s School of the Arts and is the recipient of a Pushcart nomination and an Orion Book Award nomination. She is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Director of Publishing Studies at Hofstra University in NY, where she teaches in the undergraduate and MFA in Creative Writing program. http://www.kellymcmasters.com

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