Book Launch: Julia Ridley Smith, Sex Romp Gone Wrong

Co-sponsored by Creative Writing at UNC Greensboro

In her debut story collection, Julia Ridley Smith navigates the currents and eddies of desire, sex, love, and relationships.

These twelve highly accomplished stories are witty and accessible, intelligent and thought-provoking. A girls' week at the beach prompts hot tub drinking, awkward confessions, and a poignant reconsideration of friendship. A caregiver extracts a small repayment from her elderly patient for his long-forgotten role in the demise of her family. A young woman, new to New York City, finds herself in a complex but tacky love affair and reckons with the unfolding plot of her life. In the title story, a woman plots to conceive a second child while at a convention hotel with her husband and teenage daughter, both of whom have other plans. Smith’s stories will beguile and delight readers while at the same time exploring the deep and often difficult ties of family, marriage, and romantic love in modern life.


“Sex Romp Gone Wrong is a dazzlingly inventive collection, and Julia Ridley Smith writes so beautifully about the intensity of being alive, of wanting more than you can have, of navigating the absurdity of the world with various degrees of success. You'd be hard pressed to find a writer who is so genuinely funny and yet knows the exact moment to turn that humor towards a moment of realization so deeply felt that you have to read the line again. I can't think of a better compliment for Smith's stories than the simple fact that you will want to read them over and over.”—Kevin Wilson, Now Is Not the Time to Panic and Nothing to See Here

“In Sex Romp Gone Wrong, Ridley creates a perfect blend of laugh-out-loud humor and profound pathos as she imagines women’s lives gone wrong (and occasionally oh-so-right). The stories in the collection range from formally experimental to deftly executed realism and every one brings complex characters to life through vivid detail and endless empathy. I’m glad to be carrying these women and these worlds with me.”—Gwen Kirby, Shit Cassandra Saw

"Sex Romp Gone Wrong doesn’t read like a debut collection; there isn’t a weak story in the bunch, not a single false note. Julia Ridley Smith does a radical thing: she writes about invisible people, like middle-aged mothers, and every story is vibrantly its own thing, and every character trembles on a knife’s edge between hilarity and rage. Actually, that’s the book: laugh-out-loud funny, heartbreaking, and almost uncomfortably, infuriatingly wise."—Holly Goddard Jones, Antipodes and The Salt Line

Sex Romp Gone Wrong is Julia Ridley Smith’s first story collection. Her first book, The Sum of Trifles, is a memoir published by the University of Georgia Press (2021) as a title in their Crux literary nonfiction series. Julia’s short stories and essays have appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, American Literary Review, Arts and Letters, the Carolina Quarterly, Chelsea, Ecotone, Electric Literature, the Greensboro Review, the New England Review, Southern Cultures, and The Southern Review, among other places. Julia teaches creative writing at UNC Chapel Hill.
Sex Romp Gone Wrong By Julia Ridley Smith Cover Image
ISBN: 9781958888117
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: Blair - February 6th, 2024

The Sum of Trifles By Julia Ridley Smith Cover Image
ISBN: 9780820360416
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: University of Georgia Press - November 1st, 2021

Event date: 
Saturday, February 3, 2024 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Event address: 
304 S. Elm St.
Greensboro, NC 27401