"Morgan takes a radical approach to the linked-story collection in her first book, shaping a young woman's life in tales that range from naturalistic to wildly speculative fiction. The stories, often experimental, share in common not so much their plots or structures but recurring motifs: the transformation of humans into birds, an angry mother dying of cancer, the messy details of bodily existence. Morgan’s stories may not be for the squeamish or the easily baffled, but open-minded readers ready for a challenge will delight in discovering the many sides of her mysterious heroine."
The nineteen stories in The Seven Autopsies of Nora Hanneman track the splintered trajectory of the title character, tracing a chickenscratch line of psychosexual development from childhood to old age. Two schoolgirls culminate their sexual exploration in a surreal act of cannibalism. A sister molds her dead brother’s body into a bird. A woman gives birth to balls of twine and fur (among other things). A sex worker engages a version of herself in a brothel of prostituted body parts. Courtney E. Morgan tears apart a host of archetypes and tropes of femininity— dismembering them, skinning them, and then draping them one by one over her characters like fur coats—revealing them as ill-fitting, sometimes comedic, sometimes monstrous, and always insufficient, masks. In stories that range from fairy tale to horror story, from confessional to erotica to creation myth, mutability, instability, and liminality are foregrounded, blurring the lines between birth and death, death and sex, tugging at the transitional spaces of adolescence and gestation.
Courtney E. Morgan received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she has also taught creative writing workshops. Her collection of stories, The Seven Autopsies of Nora Hanneman, was a semifinalist for the FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize and was published by FC2 Press in Spring 2017. She is a recipient of the Thompson Award for Western American Writing, and was longlisted for the Diana Woods Memorial Award at Lunch Ticket and Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Fiction. Morgan is the founder and managing editor of The Thought Erotic journal on sexuality and gender. She teaches at Lighthouse Writers Workshop and The Gathering Place women's shelter.