Monday, May 11, 2020

In these strange and difficult times, the University of Iowa Press, with the Writing University, is reaching out to its authors to gain perspective, advice, humor and connection. We want to know how they are doing, first and foremost: we are primarily checking in. But we also want to know how they are living (or surviving, or managing) with the pandemic that surrounds all of us. We are a family here -- the press, the authors, the university -- and this is what families do: we check in.


Today's author conversationis with Ashley Wurzbacher. Ashley Wurzbacher's debut short story collection, Happy Like This, won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award and will be released on October 15. She was recently named a National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honoree. Her short stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review Online, Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, The Cincinnati Review, and other journals. She holds a PhD from the University of Houston and an MFA from Eastern Washington University. She teaches creative writing at the University of Montevallo. Read more at

Ashley wrote UI Press marketing director Allison Means with a reading recommendation!


1. What books do you recommend for this time of isolation?

I recommend Carson McCullers' short novel The Member of the Wedding, about a young girl who feels like "a member of nothing in the world." It hits particularly close to home in the age of social distancing: "Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid." Despite Frankie's loneliness, isolation, and frustration, though, the book is often hilarious, and its characters are utterly lovable and unforgettable.




Thank you Ashley!


Established in 1969, the University of Iowa Press serves scholars, students, and readers throughout the world with works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. As the only university press in the state, Iowa is also dedicated to preserving the literature, history, culture, wildlife, and natural areas of the Midwest. The UI Press is a place where first-class writing matters, whether the subject is Whitman or Shakespeare, prairie or poetry, memoirs or fandom. They are committed to the vital role played by small presses as publishers of scholarly and creative works that may not attract commercial attention. For more information, please e-mail


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