Maybe This Is What I Deserve


Winner of the 2022 Fiction Chapbook Contest, selected by Isle McElroy

Tucker Leighty-Phillips builds a series of mythologies; of childhood, of Appalachia, of seeing the world through the 3D glasses of poverty. The stories in "Maybe This Is What I Deserve" dip their toes between sentiment and surrealism—a whirlpool swallows a boy in a family swimming pool, a girl befriends the lice her mother can’t afford to eradicate, a group of children form a secret society in the walls of a fast food play place. Using the logic of childhood across kids and adults alike, Leighty-Phillips builds a world filled with wonder and tells a new story of working-class, rural living.


Tucker Leighty-Phillips is an ASU alum, having graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing in 2021.

Praise for this book

'Maybe This Is What I Deserve' does not need any garnish to enhance or adorn. At chapbook length, it’s a short, neat pour from the top shelf, ready to be savored.

Amanda Krupman SmokeLong Quarterly

With prose that constantly surprises and pleases, 'Maybe This Is What I Deserve' is the kind of flash collection that will make you rethink how you see the world. Beneath the arresting imagery of sweaty mashes of bills and noses flowing like gratitude is the heartbeat of an author equally invested in language as character. These stories shock, they entertain, and they stick in your mind.

Isle McElroy Author of "The Atmospherians" and "People Collide"
Illustration of a snow covered forest with two people sitting in a hollow tree
Date published
Split/Lip Press

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