Ploughshares, an award winning literary magazine, has released “Portrait,” the latest story in the Ploughshares Solos Series by Artists Without Walls’ member, Kathleen Hill.


Kathleen Hill
Kathleen Hill

Young and inexperienced, Kathleen Hill moves to newly independent Nigeria with her husband to teach at Igbobi College. It is the early 1960s, and Kathleen is soon caught in the swirl of the times: the legacy of colonialism, chaos back in America, and violence and racism that reach across the globe, intruding even into the calm little school where she teaches her students literature. As a way of steadying and finding herself in this new place, she begins reading Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady, and there discovers disturbing resonances with her own life. Dedicated to Chinua Achebe, “Portrait” is a essay that pays homage to a vanished world and to the great books of English literature, both old and new, in all of their glorious and complicated diversity.


Kathleen Hill’s novel Still Waters in Niger was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune; the French translation, Eaux Tranquilles, was shortlisted for the Prix Femina Étranger. Who Occupies This House, a second novel, was named an Editors’ Choice at The New York Times. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2000, Pushcart Prize XXV, and The Pushcart Book of Short Stories. A short piece, “Forgiveness,” was recently included in Best Spiritual Writing, 2013.


bookcover-682x1024Of Kathleen’s book Who Occupies This House, Artists Without Walls’ member, author Peter Quinn said, “In language at once lean and ripe with meaning, it frequently blurs the line between prose and poetry. Every page pulsates with truths that only the lies of fiction can reach. I’ll carry its meaning, music, and language always.”


 “Portrait” is available as a Kindle Single for $0.99 at the Amazon Kindle Store.  Kathleen is a superb writer, a great supporter of Artists Without Walls; we highly recommend her work. 



  1. Kevin Holohan says:

    this is great news – thanks for letting us all know Charles.

  2. Thank you, Charles, for spreading the word about “Portrait.”

    It is a delicate and deeply moving meditation on marriage, travel, and the mysterious power of great literature to teach us truths about ourselves we would not otherwise know. I read the whole thing in one sitting–could not stop–and look forward to revisiting it soon. I admire the honesty of the piece, the poignancy of the young woman’s perceptions (now filtered through the eyes of an older, wiser woman), and the fineness of the prose. So much so, I look forward to reading it again!


  3. kathleen hill says:

    Thank you, Angela. What kind words!

    And I loved the piece you wrote in the most recent issue of America
    on visiting writers’ houses and places. Extraordinary. I’ve been thinking about
    it all evening.

    Ghosts of the dead, their deathless words!

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