Oh hi! I'm Lisa Van Orman Hadley. This is my fourth-grade picture, taken during a weird era when school photographers were feeling bored and restless. They were experimenting. The same might be said of me while writing Irreversible Things. I don't know why I had a Princeton shirt; I think it was on sale. 

Hey! It's me again. All book events have been canceled until further notice. Stay safe and read a book. May I suggest A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews? 

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author of


Winner of the Howling Bird Press Fiction Prize

Winner of the AML Special Award in Literature

Finalist for the Midwest Book Awards in Literary Fiction and Cover Design


IrreversibleThings_COVER_front1024_1 (2)

Fiction. Literary Nonfiction. Brimming with wit and heart, Irreversible Things follows three decades in the life of author-qua-narrator Lisa and her charismatic Mormon family, from childhood to puberty to adulthood. From a young girl grappling with early friendships, first crushes, and a beloved neighbor's shocking murder, to a young woman beginning her own family, dealing with infertility, and caring for a father with Alzheimer's, this work expands our understanding of the novel form, weaving together memoir, fiction, and the fiction of remembering.



Her family's stories are tight and composed, delivered with such gravity that they can stand on their own, though together they form a heartbreaking tale about growing up and growing into an understanding of your family...Thoughtful and funny, IRREVERSIBLE THINGS plays with the forms of short stories, novels, and memoirs, resulting in hybrid text that articulates change across a lifetime.


Fans of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street, and Justin Torres' We Are the Animals will also appreciate IRREVERSIBLE THINGS. But a fair warning: don't be fooled by the ease of this read or by the sheer joy of following this narrator into adulthood. The heartbreak catches you off guard with such force that you drop even your loudest, most intrusive questions.


This is one of those works of fiction that reads like a memoir, in which the protagonist and author share a name, a family and a life story. Winner of the 2019 Howling Bird Press Fiction Prize, “Irreversible Things” is told in epistolary fashion, laying out in brief, funny chapters (“Swing Set,” “Lice Day”) the childhood and early adult life of Lisa, one of six children in a lively Mormon family growing up in Florida and Utah.




Lisa Van Orman Hadley photographed by Ni

Lisa Van Orman Hadley is the author of Irreversible Things, for which she was awarded the Howling Bird Press Fiction Prize and an AML Special Award in Fiction. She graduated from the University of Utah and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. She received the Larry Levis post-graduate fellowship, a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant, and a Millay Colony fellowship to work on Irreversible Things. Her stories have most recently appeared in Epoch, New England Review, and The Collagist. She makes money as a copyeditor. Don't tell her about any mistakes you have found on this page. She will wilt like the flowers at the cemetery one week after Memorial Day. Lisa lives in Salt Lake City. Fun fact: This author photo was taken in a cemetery by Niels Jensen. 


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