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Varley O'Connor's fifth novel, The Welsh Fasting Girl, was published by Bellevue Literary Press on May 7, 2019.

The real miracle lies in the capacity of Sarah's singular, dark fate to illuminate the socioeconomic, religious, scientific, philosophic, and political cultures and conflicts of [the] time. . . . A transcendent historical novel.

Foreword Reviews (starred review)


Varley O'Connor's beautiful and brilliant novel takes us deep into the mysteries of virtue's conspiracy with evil and the human spirit's war against itself. With spot on historical detail and scintillating language, the novel fascinates and moves us, and uses the story of a nineteenth-century Welsh farm girl to deliver cogent insights into contemporary issues regarding gender and family.

Stephen O'Connor, author of Orphan Trains and Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings.


In this richly textured and compelling novel, O'Connor proves to us that human desire is never simple and that our noblest wishes sometimes provoke our darkest deeds.

Mary Morris, author of The Jazz Palace and Gateway to the Moon.


I became enthralled as the mystery of a young girl's death by starvation unfolds, revealing layers of secrets about family life amid religious and cultural conflicts. O'Connor is a splendid storyteller.

Lynn Sharon Schwartz, author of Disturbances in the Field and Two-Part Inventions.


[A] moving novel. . . . O'Connor's bleak, powerful story serves as an affecting homage to a girl whose community failed to protect her.

Publishers Weekly


Varley’s first novel, Like China, described by the New York Times as “a first novel that soars,” was published by William Morrow in 1991. Her second novel, A Company of Three, about the world of theater and acting, came out from Algonquin Books in 2003. Her third novel, The Cure, was published by the Bellevue Literary Press in 2007. Scribner released her fourth novel, The Master's Muse, in 2012.

Her short prose has appeared in The Capra Review, Missouri Review, Santa Monica Review, Miracle MonocleFaultline: Journal of Art and Literature, AWP Writer’s Chronicle, Driftwood, Algonkian Magazine, The Sun, Publishers Weekly, and in an anthology, Naming the World and Other Exercises for Creative Writers, edited by Bret Anthony Johnston (Random House, 2008).

After graduating with a BFA in acting from Boston University, O’Connor worked as a stage, film, and television actor before entering the MFA Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine.

She has taught writing and literature at Irvine, Hofstra University, Brooklyn College, Marymount Manhattan College, the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and for the Squaw Valley Community of Writers’ Summer Conference.

From 2007 to 2019, Varley O’Connor taught fiction and creative nonfiction writing at Kent State University, and for the Northeast Ohio Universities Consortium MFA program.