Vermont Arts Council

Vermont Made Episode 9: Children’s Lit for a Changing Vermont with Ann Dávila Cardinal

“Writing is a muscle, and the best thing you can do for a muscle is work the ones around it when you’re not working the main muscle.” – Ann Dávila Cardinal


Novelist Ann Dávila Cardinal discusses her upcoming horror novel for Middle Grade readers, Dry Bones, and reads an excerpt from her upcoming magical realist novel for adults, The Storyteller’s Death, available Oct. 4, 2022.

Learn more about Ann and her books at

Dry Bones was supported by a FY22 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. Also mentioned during the episode is a 2014 Rolling Stone article about heroin use in Vermont, which can be read on the Rolling Stone website.

Listen to this episode on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, and most other podcast players.

Download a transcript of the episode (PDF).

“I have great faith in Gen Z. I can’t wait for them to run the country. They’re a little bitter, but they have good reason to be. I love writing stories for them because they’re more accepting of things like diversity and gender as a spectrum, and they have no problem with pronouns, they just adapt. They’re rolling with it. Their perspective is wise.”


Ann is a novelist and Director of Recruitment for Vermont College of Fine Arts where she also earned her MFA in Writing. She comes from a long line of Puerto Rican writers, including father and son poets Virgilio and José Antonio Dávila, and her cousin, award-winning fiction writer Tere Dávila

Ann’s first novel, Sister Chicas was co-written with Jane Alberdeston Coralin and Lisa Alvarado, and was released from New American Library in 2006. Her next novel, a horror YA work titled Five Midnights, was released by Tor Teen on June 4, 2019. Five Midnights won the 2020 International Latino Book Award in the category of Best Young Adult Fantasy & Adventure, an AudioFile’s Earphones Award for the audiobook, and was finalist for the Bram Stoker Award. The story continues in Category Five, also from Tor Teen, released on June 2, 2020. Category Five is a 2021 nominee for the same International Latino Book Award category. Her next young adult horror novel, Breakup From Hell, will be released by HarperCollins on January 3, 2023.

Her first adult novel, the Puerto Rican magical realist mystery The Storyteller’s Death, will be released from Sourcebooks Landmark on October 4, 2022.

Her stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Other Terrors: An Inclusive Anthology from HarperCollins (2022), Lockdown: Stories of Crime, Terror, and Hope During a Pandemic from Polis Books (2020) and the upcoming Our Shadows Have Claws from Workman Publishing (9/6/22),

Ann lives in Vermont with her husband in a lovely little house with a massively creepy basement.