Hamline News

Debut Nonfiction Book from MFA Student Will McGrath

McGrath Everything Lost is found again

Everything Lost Is Found Again by Will McGrath (Current MFA)
Published by Dzanc Books
November 2018

Visit Will’s website.
Follow Will on Twitter.


Funny and heartfelt, this blend of memoir and essay collection tells the story of nearly two years the author spent in Lesotho, the small, landlocked kingdom surrounded by South Africa. There he finds a spirit of joyful absurdity and resolve, welcomed by people who take strangers’ hands as they walk down the road, people who—with sweetest face—drop the dirtiest jokes in the southern hemisphere. But Lesotho is also a place where shepherds exact Old Testament retribution, where wounded pride incites murder and families are devastated by the AIDS epidemic.

Driven by a spirit of openhearted cultural exchange, and reminiscent of Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country and Alexandra Fuller’s Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, Will McGrath’s Everything Lost Is Found Again brings humor and heart to pop ethnography—an off-kilter celebration of our common human identity. Winner of the 2017 Dzanc/Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize.

Read an excerpt of the book.


“Subtle, witty, and well-observed, McGrath’s narrative is a chronicle of spiritual growth and a memorable love letter to the remote African kingdom that stole his heart.
A warmly humane memoir.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“It's been a while since I've fallen this hard for nonfiction. McGrath's experiences among the charming, vibrant citizens of Lesotho and the wit, warmth, and writerly spark with which he puts them on the page make for a scrumptious literary chakalaka (see page 100).”
—Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

“With astute sensitivity, a reporter's eye, and a poet's command of language, Will McGrath introduces us to so much more than a place. He situates us inside the small quiet moments of grace that define everyday lives. The writing is at once joyous and devastating, luminous and tender..”
—Inara Verzemnieks, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Among the Living and the Dead

“Who says there are no places left on earth to explore? In this charming memoir, Will McGrath traverses one of the world's least-known countries - Lesotho, tiny and mountainous, grappling with AIDS but rich with storybook history and its own invincible spirit. Everything Lost Is Found Again is beautifully written, by turns moving and hilarious. It's an enlightening adventure in the tradition of Patrick Leigh Fermor and V.S. Naipaul.”
—Tony Perrottet, author of Off the Deep End: Travels in Forgotten Frontiers

“In dazzling prose and with humor both tender and sidesplitting, McGrath pulls off what I most adore about foreign reportage: he makes me care deeply about a place I’ve never been and wish desperately that I, too, could visit the nation and share his experiences.”
—Rafe Bartholomew, former Grantland senior editor and author of Pacific Rims


Reading at SubText: A Bookstore
When: Tuesday, December 4 at 7:00 PM
Where: SubText: A Bookstore
             6 5th St W
             St. Paul, MN 55102

Join SubText Books in the store on Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00 PM for a reading with Will McGrath for “Everything Lost Is Found Again.” Book signing to follow!

The event page can be visited here.

Reading at Hamline University
When: Thursday, December 13 at 7:00 PM
Where: Giddens/Alumni Learning Center

Congratulations, Will!