• Max Sinsheimer

SOLD! Missed Conceptions (by Dr. Karen Stollznow)

I am pleased to announce the sale of Missed Conceptions, by Dr. Karen Stollznow, to Broadleaf Books.


Missed Conceptions mixes science, history, and personal reflection to explore a strangely neglected, but deeply human subject: infertility. It begins by examining infertility in ancient civilizations and religions, then moves into early modern folklore, and ends with representations of infertility in popular culture and modern medical practice. The author’s own decade-long infertility journey evolves in parallel. The narrative is energized throughout by immersion journalism, as the author experiments with everything from aphrodisiacs to acupuncture in her search for a fertility cure.

The Venus of Willendorf, believed to have been carved during the “Old Stone Age" (~30,000 BCE), is one of the oldest known statues in the world. It was likely made by hunters and gatherers, who carried the statue as a kind of Paleolithic lucky charm to ensure they would produce offspring. It is a touching testament to the age-old problem of infertility.

Missed Conceptions has a special focus on the rich and evolving language of infertility. It

interrogates the psychological consequences of infertility, and airs critiques of all of the

bad advice and social stigmas we heap onto individuals struggling to become parents. It will resonate with anyone who is trying (and "failing") to conceive and who will do just about anything to achieve what has mistakenly been called “the most natural thing in the world,” and with general readers who simply want to gain a new perspective on an incredibly difficult, but ordinary human experience.


Karen Stollznow is a linguist and the host of the popular podcast MonsterTalk. Her previous books include On the Offensive (Cambridge UP, 2020), Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic (Macmillan, 2014), and God Bless America (Pitchstone, 2013). She holds a PhD in linguistics from the University of New England and currently works at the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research.


Here is the Publishers Marketplace deal memo:

Publishers Weekly also ran a nice deal announcement:

Congratulations to Karen and her editor at Broadleaf, Lisa Kloskin!

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