What We Fed to the Manticore


Finalist for the Inaugural Carol Shields Prize for Fiction


An ALA/RUSA 2023 Notable Book


Finalist for the 2023 Northern California Book Award in Fiction


Longlisted for the 2023 Aspen Words Literary Prize


Longlisted for the 2023 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for Debut Short Story Collection


Longlisted for the 2023 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Ficton


A September 2022 Amerie’s Book Club Selection


A Rumpus and Millions Most Anticipated Book of 2022


A Ms. Magazine, Bustle, Chicago Review of Books, Debutiful, and ALTA Journal Best Book of September


A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Week


In stories that span the globe, What We Fed to the Manticore takes readers inside the minds of a full cast of animal narrators to understand the triumphs, heartbreaks, and complexities of the creatures that share our world.

Through nine emotionally vivid stories, all narrated from animal perspectives, Talia Lakshmi Kolluri’s debut collection explores themes of environmentalism, conservation, identity, belonging, loss, and family with resounding heart and deep tenderness. In Kolluri’s pages, a faithful hound mourns the loss of the endangered rhino he swore to protect. Vultures seek meaning as they attend to the antelope that perished in Central Asia. A beloved donkey’s loyalty to a zookeeper in Gaza is put to the ultimate test. And a wounded pigeon in Delhi finds an unlikely friend.

In striking, immersive detail against the backdrop of an ever-changing international landscape, What We Fed to the Manticore speaks to the fears and joys of the creatures we share our world with, and ultimately places the reader under the rich canopy of the tree of life.










Available in audiobook from Recorded Books

Narrated by award-winning performers Nikki Massoud and Neil Shah, the stories of What We Fed To The Manticore are brought to life in this vivid and dynamic audiobook.


Both narrators provide a wonderful atmospheric reading, giving the illusion of being tucked into bed by a macabre fairy tale.”

     -Library Journal, starred review

Praise for What We Fed to the Manticore


“Timeless and urgent…This remarkable collection leaves an indelible mark.”

-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“An entire story collection with non-human narrators seems rare. Even more striking is the stupendous quality of Kolluri’s breathtaking debut.”

-Booklist Starred Review


-Library Jounal Starred Review (audio)

“A vivid, imaginative story collection…Kolluri’s prose reads like a beautiful song as it soars over the savannah and under the sea.”

-Shelf Awareness

“Talia Lakshmi Kolluri’s debut collection is set to take its rightful place among some of the best environmental fiction in recent memory.”

-Chicago Review of Books

“Kolluri’s vivid prose has the precision of a tuning fork.”

-High Country News

“Lays bare the inextricable human-animal connection.”

-Seattle Times

“Touching, original…This one will move you”

-Ms. Magazine

“Vivid and exciting.”