Leslie Pietrzyk’s collection of DC stories, ADMIT THIS TO NO ONE (Unnamed Press, November 2021) was called “insidery, insightful, and deftly executed” by Washingtonian magazine. She’s the author of three novels, including Silver Girl, published by Unnamed Press in 2018. Her first collection of short stories, This Angel on My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Story Magazine, Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, Washingtonian, The Sun, The Washington Post Magazine, and others. Awards include a Pushcart Prize in 2020 and the 2020 Creative Arts Prize from the Polish American Historical Association. Organizations awarding fellowships include the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Virginia Center for the Arts, the Hambidge Center, and Hawthornden International Retreat at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. She recently moved to North Carolina.
ADMIT THIS TO NO ONE
"A tour de force from a gifted writer." ―The Washington Post
"A collection of stories set in Washington, D.C., full of scandal and insider details... An exciting read bristling with intelligence, political awareness, and psychological complexity." ―Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
In Admit This to No One, we meet a group of women connected to a central figure either personally or professionally, and for better or for worse―an all-powerful and elusive Speaker of the House, whose political career has only stopped short of being Presidential due to his myriad extra-marital affairs. The Speaker’s daughters from his several failed marriages have a complicated relationship with him to say the least―alternating between longing for his affection or bristling with resentment, and occasionally relief at being left out of the spotlight.
His oldest daughter Lexie, from his “real family, the first one,” once his favorite who knew the real him, is now an adult who has blown up her career due to a sex scandal of her own. His long-time fixer and keeper of secrets, Mary-Grace, is relentless and uncompromising in her devotion to him, making the lives of the interns and aides under her purview in the Capitol miserable. When the Speaker’s life is in danger, the disparate women in his life will collide for the first time, but can their relationships be repaired?
These stories show us how Washington, D.C.’s true currency is power, but power is inextricable from oppression― D.C. is a city divided, not just by red or blue, right or left, but Black and white. Segregated by income and opportunity, but also physically by bridges and rivers, and police vehicles, Leslie Pietrzyk casts an unflinching and exacting gaze on her characters, as they grapple with the ways they have upheld white supremacy and misogyny. Shocking and profound, Pietrzyk writes with an emotional urgency about what happens when the bonds of family and duty are pushed to the limit, and how if individuals re-evaluate their own beliefs and actions there is a path forward.