Alisa Alering

Alisa Alering grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania and now lives in Arizona. After attending Clarion West, their short fiction has been published in Fireside, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Podcastle, and Cast of Wonders, among others, and been recognized by the Calvino Prize. A former librarian and science/technology reporter, they teach fiction workshops at the Highlights Foundation.


  • Surreal, thrilling. . . . Moody, potent, and tinged with the occult, Smothermoss is unlike anything I’ve read in a long time.

    —Bustle, A Best Book of Summer

  • Atmospheric. . . .  one part fairy tale, one part thriller. . . . a compelling debut that glimmers with the lights of the forest as it unwinds its tale.”

    —Kirkus Reviews

  • Evocative.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • Alisa Alering’s alluring novel Smothermoss enters the bloodstream of Appalachian storytelling like a fevered dream, unraveling the intergenerational tales of women living on the edge. . . . a glorious Southern Gothic novel that celebrates women’s innate, powerful magic.

    —Foreword Reviews, starred review

  • For those obsessed with Appalachian lore comes a hauntingly atmospheric tale toeing the line of a twisted fairy tale. Centered on two sisters growing up in 1980s Appalachia, this novel is a gothic and propulsive read that will dazzle you from start to finish.

    —Barnes & Noble, A Most Anticipated Debut of 2024

  • “This beautifully strange book of the mountains is alarming and inspiring. Alisa Alering’s Smothermoss goes fearlessly toward realities dismantled by violence, and the weird, wonderful world of the woods.”

    —Samantha Hunt, author of The Unwritten Book

  • At the heart of this story are two sisters, the mountain on which they live, and the persistent question as to which is more perilous, the natural world or the unnatural.  Beautifully written, tense and absorbing, Smothermoss is an original story from a truly gifted storyteller.

    —Karen Joy Fowler, author of Booth

  • Unnerving and beautifully weird.

    —Claire Fuller, author of The Memory of Animals

  • Smothermoss is rich, strange, and beautiful, simultaneously eerie and so very honest. An exciting first novel.

    —Kij Johnson, author of The Privilege of the Happy Ending: Small, Medium, and Large Stories