"Milliken’s brilliance in If I’d Known You Were Coming is in where she draws our attention and what she underplays... bring[ing] us around to something different, unexpected, or brutally honest."
The Rumpus Sunday Book Review

"The 12 stories in [this] haunting debut collection are best consumed in one sitting and in order of appearance... the consistency of tone and effect renders the narrative whole greater than the sum of its individually accomplished parts."
San Francisco Chronicle

"A collection packed with an electric tension and the emotional ambition and heft of a novel… Milliken delivers in this confident, promising debut."
—The Cincinnati Review

"Kate Milliken's stories burn straight to the darkest places in our hearts, speaking aloud the thoughts we hardly dare to call our own. In twelve flawless pieces, Milliken expertly illuminates the aftermath of abandonment; her characters, cast adrift, find themselves painfully alone, futilely seeking what was torn away long ago. Milliken writes with merciless precision about women and men, about the old and the young, about the betrayers and betrayed. You will stay up all night to learn the fates of these people, who will become as real to you as anyone you know."
—Julie Orringer

"The startling, darkly beautiful stories of Kate Milliken will make you uncomfortable, disquieted, suspicious,even weirdly aroused—and you will be left with the realization you don't know everyone you thought you knew, the equivalent of a camera pressed through the bedroom blinds of the couple next door. She never flinches, but you will."
—Benjamin Percy, author, Red Moon

"The most interesting and satisfying thing about Milliken's debut collection is the ingenious way the 12 stories fit together. Though each selection stands alone, several characters reappear throughout in different contexts….The whole is greater than the sum of the already pretty impressive parts."
Publishers Weekly

"[S]tark, beautiful, and piercingly true... This accomplished, often dazzling, collection is her debut book of fiction. We hope to hear more of her clear and unflinching voice.
Foreword Reviews

"These twelve marvelous stories expose the tenacity of blood memory: tender, accusatory, sometimes off course. Here, the aftermath of abandonment is replete with risk, sensuality, and ruth; loss and replacement repeat in endless cycles, both vital and sorrowful. In these brilliantly wise, emotionally haunting stories, Kate Milliken reminds us how wildness can overtake the most mundane circumstance, how the quietest inclination toward loyalty or betrayal can alter, even determine, fate."
—Melissa Pritchard, author, Spirit Seizures

"These twelve elegant, edgy, and deftly made stories are full of ravenous women, hungry for money, attention,fame—sometimes even fame by proxy—and sometimes even food. Highly compelling and a little bit terrifying, If I'd Known You Were Coming is a terrific debut."
—Pam Houston, author, Contents May Have Shifted

"Subtle and suspenseful stories filled with the kind of precise and original detail that portrays all the complexity of our lives."
—Sheila Kohler, author, The Bay of Foxes

Order The Book

University of Iowa Press
Indie Bound


The Bookmark Project

May 30, 2014, 7:30pm
Stories on Stage, Sacramento
Sacramento Poetry Center
1719 25th Street
Sacramento, CA
Kate is excited to have her stories featured by this excellent performance series.

June 12, 2014, 7:00pm
UCLA Publication Party
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 North Sepulveda Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
A group reading featuring Instructors from UCLA’s Writers’ Program reading recently published work.

June 17, 2014, 7:30pm
Inside Story Time
La Movida Wine Bar & Community Kitchen
3066 24th Street
San Francisco, CA
Kate will be reading along with several other S.F. area authors. Details soon!

June 29, 7pm
Sunday Salon
Black Rock Bar
3614 North Damen
Chicago, IL
A reading in Chicago, Kate’s home away from home, and in the excellent company of Tessa Mellas and Ben Tanzer.

October 5, 2013, 7pm
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Book Launch Celebration and Reading.
Come for the stories and stay for the wine!

October 11, 2013, 11am
The Iowa City Book Festival

“A Sense of Place,” a panel including Kate, Tom Drury, David Rhodes and moderator Dénes Krusovszky.

October 11, 2013, 1pm
The Iowa City Book Festival
The Old Capital Building

Kate will be reading with fellow Iowa Award winner Tessa Mellas.

October 11, 2013, 7pm
Barnes and Noble
333 Collins Rd
Cedar Rapids, IA

Along with Tessa Mellas.

October 17, 2013, 7pm
LitQuake Event
333 Caledonia, Sausalito, CA.

Why There Are Words presents readings by Kate Milliken, Melissa Pritchard, Sally Ball, and Matt Hart, among others.

November 9, 2013, 5pm
Book Soup
8818 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA

Reading from If I’d Known You Were Coming—some very LA inspired stories.

November 16, 2013, 10am-2pm
Book Passage Classes
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Kate will be teaching a one-day workshop, “How to Jump Start Your Stalled Story.”

December 10, 2013, 5pm
The City University of New York

Hosted by Fiction Editor, Mark Jay Mirsky
Reading and discussion, Kate and Sheila Kohler, author of Bay of Foxes and Love Child.

December 11, 2013, 7pm
Newtonville Books
10 Langley Road, Newton Centre
Newton, MA 02459

Kate will read with Julie Orringer, author of The Invisible Bridge and How to Breathe Under Water.

January 25, 2014, 2pm-4pm
The Depot Bookstore & Café
87 Throckmorton Avenue
Mill Valley, CA

Kate will be signing and talking books at this “meet and greet” event.

February 8, 2014, 7pm
Stories on Stage, Davis
Pence Gallery
212 D Street
Davis, CA 95616

Kate’s stories will be featured along with the work of emerging writer, Alexa Mergen.

March 8, 2014, 5pm-9pm
Authors on the Move
Hyatt Regency Sacramento
1209 L St
Sacramento, CA
Kate will join 40 other California authors for this ticketed event, benefitting Sacramento’s Public Library Foundation.

April 8, 2014, 7:30pm
Books Inc.
2251 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA
Kate and Gina Frangello, author of A Life in Men (Algonquin Books), will be reading and in conversation with Michelle Richmond.


Kate Milliken’s stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Fiction, New Orleans Review, and Santa Monica Review, among others. A graduate of the Bennington College Writing Seminars, the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop, and several Pushcart Prize nominations, Kate has also written for television and commercial advertising.

Kate's debut collection of stories, If I'd Known You Were Coming, published by the University of Iowa Press, was chosen for the 2013 John Simmons Short Fiction Award by author Julie Orringer.

Having moved around for most of her life, between parents and half a dozen cities, Kate is now happily settled in the suburban wilds of Northern California with her husband, Adam Karsten, and their two kids. She is currently working on a screenplay based on her short story, “Mad River,” as well as completing her novel, the first chapter of which was named runner-up for the 2013 Dana Award. Kate teaches on behalf of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

Agent, Meredith Kaffel:

Publicist, Alison Means: allison-means@uiowa.ed

To contact Kate:

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