Writer | Editor | Teacher


When I First Held You

Becoming a father can be one of the most profoundly terrifying, exhilarating, life-changing occasions in a man’s life. Now, 22 of today’s masterful writers get straight to the heart of modern fatherhood in this incomparable collection of thought-provoking essays. From making that ultimate decision to have a kid to making it through the birth to tangling with a toddler mid-tantrum, and eventually letting a teen loose in the world, these fathers explore every facet of fatherhood and show how being a father changed the way they saw the world — and themselves.

Featuring essays by André Aciman, Chris Bachelder, David Bezmozgis, Justin Cronin, Peter Ho Davies, Anthony Doerr, Andre Dubus III, Steve Edwards, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Greenman, Lev Grossman, Dennis Lehane, Bruce Machart, Rick Moody, Stephen O’Connor, Benjamin Percy, Bob Smith, Frederick Reiken, Marco Roth, Matthew Specktor, Garth Stein, and Alexi Zentner, with a foreword by Darin Strauss and an introduction by the editor.

Purchase at your local bookseller through Indiebound, or online via Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Praise for When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood

"[A] fabulous new anthology of fatherhood essays...A true must-read for pros and expectant parents alike. It's cutting and honest and hilarious and sad, with 22 essays from some of our best writers, such as Dennis Lehane, Justin Cronin, Lev Grossman, and many, many more...The essays are incredibly refreshing because they show fatherhood in such a vulnerable light—the good, the bad, the frustrating, and incredibly wonderful."—Parade magazine

"These gifted writers charge full-force into the heart of fatherhood…[An] impressive collection."—Publishers Weekly

"This collection could be subtitled 'Profiles in Perseverance.' These fathers have fought the battles, and we lucky readers receive this collection of wry, moving stories."—Library Journal

"A collection of luminous essays by men on parenthood that are easily read and terrifically illuminating...Full of remembrances and half-remembrances of parenting in all its glory: failure, triumph, joy, tribulation, humorous bits and tragedies big and small...Readers will laugh, or perhaps wipe a tear; parents will nod knowingly."—Shelf Awareness