What Comes Next
2023 FAPA Award Winner
Brains bleed. Hearts break. Waters rise. In an unsparing new memoir, debut writer Ramona Kelly emerges triumphant.
A chronic subdural hematoma cracks Ramona Kelly's head and long-hidden family history wide open in the page-turning memoir WHAT COMES NEXT. Seamlessly interlaced with the account of Kelly's life-threatening medical crisis is the heart-piercing tale of four generations of strong women––her grandmother, her mother, her own two daughters, and herself––who all not only survive the tragic loss of their fathers but shine as a testament to the joy that survival can bring.
Having your head split open and finally seeing all the gore within is what––shocking? To say the least. Humiliating? Without a doubt. Humbling? Absolutely. But if you can bear to face the carnage, it can set you free.
“An unforgettable tale of resilience and redemption.”
—John Spong, Senior Editor, Texas Monthly magazine
Kelly is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who served as executive producer of Last Best Hope, an independently produced World War II saga broadcast on primetime PBS, and co-producer of When I Rise, an Independent Lens civil rights film she spearheaded for The University of Texas at Austin. Kelly also served as consulting producer for documentary films Honky Tonk Heaven, For the Sake of the Song and the currently in-production Let Them Play. Before her retirement from the work world in 2021, she was Senior Director of Development at The Wittliff Collections, Bill and Sally Wittliff’s acclaimed literary, film and photo archive at Texas State University. What Comes Next is Kelly's first book.
“A daring and ultimately redemptive memoir, What Comes Next tells the riveting story of a woman who sheds her hard-won persona and fearlessly excavates the world that really existed. A fascinating, breathtaking story of hope—and love.”
—Steven L. Davis, Wittliff Collections Literary Curator and winner of the PEN Center Award
“Ramona Kelly is a gifted storyteller, and her intensely personal stories from What Comes Next are intriguing, insightful, and inspirational. She writes with an open heart and clear mind to explore the patterns that shaped her life and helped her to survive with courage, love, and hope intact.”
—Mary Beth Rogers, author of Barbara Jordan, An American Hero
“Beautifully written, incredibly insightful, and honest.”
—Richard Stovall, MD (Ramona Kelly’s neurosurgeon)
"Ramona Kelly has told a very personal story in a way that will have you turning the pages to discover where her journey goes."
—Sally Wittliff, Co-founder, The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University