We are delighted to announce our very first release from Raven Books, an imprint of Blue Crow Publishing. Kelly J. Baker’s GRACE PERIOD: A MEMOIR IN PIECES is an eloquent and haunting collection of essays that follows her transition out of academia as she struggles to get her life “on track.”

Here’s more about the book:

How do you build a life after failed dreams and missed opportunities? Kelly J. Baker finished her PhD in religion and imagined that she would end up in the tenure-track job for which she trained. She had done everything right: written a provocative and well-researched book, given presentations at national conferences, published articles, and created and taught a number of popular classes. Doing everything right, however, doesn’t guarantee anything if the career you trained for is no longer sustainable. The economic depression in 2008 gutted the job market for tenure-track jobs in the humanities, so she couldn’t find her dream job and worked instead as an adjunct and later a full-time lecturer.

But after five years of job rejections and a new baby on the way, she decided to take a year off to figure out if the career she trained for was actually the life she wanted. Grace Period: A Memoir in Pieces are the essays that she wrote to make sense of how her life went off-track. Expanding on her popular Chronicle Vitae column of the same name, she documents her transition out of academia and the emotional turmoil of rebuilding a life beyond what she had prepared for. Instead of telling an easy story about her exit from the academy into a brand-new post-academic career, Baker resists smoothing over the hard reality of transitions, the importance of waiting and anticipation, and the realization that the lives we imagine for ourselves are tenuous at best and often are impossible to achieve.


“Grace Period tracks the trials and triumphs of Baker’s post-academic transition from 2013 to 2017 with great insight and humor. Baker deftly balances personal struggles and broad institutional inequities as she confronts the trauma of leaving the academy. Recounting the many miseries of applying, adjuncting, interviews, rejection, writing, book contracts, disappearing jobs, and a certain disciplinary task force on contingency, Baker makes her way to the personal turning point, smack in the middle of the book: “I’m no longer transitioning away from academic work and life. I’m moving forward, one small step at a time.” Her journey will help many traverse their own paths forward.”
Karen Kelsky, Ph.D., author of The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job

GRACE PERIOD: A MEMOIR IN PIECES will be available from Raven Books in paperback October 2, 2017. Look for it wherever books are sold.

About the author: Kelly J. Baker is a freelance writer with a religious studies PhD who covers religion, racism, higher education, gender, labor, motherhood, and popular culture. She’s written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Rumpus, Chronicle Vitae, Religion & Politics, Killing the Buddha, and The Washington Post among others. She’s the author of an award-winning book, Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930 (University Press of Kansas, 2011) and The Zombies Are Coming!: The Realities of the Zombie Apocalypse in American Culture (Bondfire Books, 2013). Read more about Kelly here.

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