Instincts of a Rustbelt Feminist

Sherrie Flick

American Lives Series

162 pages


September 2024


$19.95 Pre-order

About the Book

Homing: Instincts of a Rustbelt Feminist traces the creative coming of age of a mill-town feminist. Sherrie Flick, whose childhood spanned the 1970s rise and 1980s collapse of the steel industry, returned to Pittsburgh in the late 1990s, witnessing the region’s before and its after.

With essays braiding, unbraiding, and then tangling the story of the author’s father with Andy Warhol, faith, dialect, labor, whiskey, Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes neighborhood, grief, gardening, the author’s compulsion to travel, and her reluctance to return home, Flick examines how place shaped her experiences of sexism and feminism. She also looks at the changing food and art cultures and the unique geography that has historically kept this weird hilly place isolated from trendy change.

Carefully researched, deeply personal, and politically grounded in place and identity, Homing is an explicitly feminist and anti-nostalgic intervention in writing about the Rustbelt.

Author Bio

Sherrie Flick is a senior lecturer in the MFA and food studies programs at Chatham University and a freelance writer and editor. She received a 2023 Creative Development Award from the Heinz Endowments and a Writing Pittsburgh fellowship from the Creative Nonfiction Foundation. One of the essays in Homing, “All in the Family: Waldo and His Ghosts,” was listed as notable in The Best American Essays 2023. Flick is the author of Thank Your Lucky Stars: Short Stories; Whiskey, Etc.: Short (Short) Stories; and Reconsidering Happiness: A Novel (Nebraska, 2009). She writes, works, and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Homing is a book as generous and tender as it is fierce and funny. In these essays, Sherrie Flick writes about place with a clear-eyed precision, but more impressive still is the care with which she renders other people, from her coworkers at a woman-owned bakery in New Hampshire to her Pittsburgh neighbors, both irascible and kind. This book is a gift.”—Sarah Viren, author of To Name the Bigger Lie: A Memoir in Two Stories

“In Homing Sherrie Flick turns a clear eye on the dying mill towns of western Pennsylvania that launched her into a nomadic seeking where she found her way, her people, and her love of writing—before returning, full-circle, to Pennsylvania. At times elegiac, at times sassy, frequently funny, and always well written. Flick’s essays transport us to the places where she finds her homes—bakeries and classrooms and gardens and dive bars where ‘body language and working-class etiquette let her Rustbelt slip show’—and invites us to think about the homes we’ve left and lost and found and loved.”—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating and Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

“Flick is a great writer, often telling several stories at once, which means she does research, looks closely, and has a sure sense of time passing. And she’s eyes-wide-open honest with herself and us. Brilliant and analytical, grieving and powerful, these essays move with her soaring spirit. Read them!”—Hilda Raz, author of Letter from a Place I’ve Never Been: New and Collected Poems, 1986–2020

Table of Contents

Laboring Through
The Worst Possible Offense
Faith in Movement
Bank Shot
Calling Me Out
Talk Right
Finding Home
Rebel, Rebel
All in the Family: Waldo and His Ghosts
Jade Plant
Caretaker, Murderer, Undertaker
Source Acknowledgments

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