Winner of the Nilsen Literary Prize, this semi-autobiographical, linked story collection follows the misadventures of Avery Colt as he struggles to survive in North St. Louis alongside his family.


Learning the best way to slaughter a goat, rebuilding his family's corner market, and reckoning the weight of a revolver are a few of the challenges Avery faces.


As he matures through each page, Avery takes control of his circumstances and attempts dangerous feats of alchemy. By confronting his own fears and limitations, he seeks to transform cruelty into compassion, rind into fruit, despair into hope.


Charged with urgency and emotion, Austin's prose faithfully renders a community determined to overcome crisis with strength, dark humor, and plenty of heart.

Avery Colt Is A Snake, A Thief, A Liar 

Advanced Praise For Avery Colt Is A Snake, A Thief, A Liar

"Ron Austin writes sentences so sharp you could cut meat with them, characters so real you swear you're fighting with them. This book is a special treat. Avery Colt may be a snake, a thief and a liar, but the teller of his stories is a master."

-Rion Amilcar Scott, Author of Insurrections and winner of the 2017 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize 


"I’m crying right now. Because Avery Colt is a Snake, A Thief, A Liar, is doing the difficult work of being compassionate from within the guts of the joyful and painful mess we inherit."

-Steven Dunn, Author of Potted Meat and Water & Power


"Avery Colt is a Snake, A Thief, A Liar is at once hilarious and heartbreaking, a coming of age story about the weight of inheriting cumulative losses and the skills necessary to survive them." 

-Danielle Evans, Author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self and co-winner of the 2011 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize 



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