Wells Tower


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Short story writer and journalist Wells Tower came to Iowa City in the spring of 2013 to teach for three weeks in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The author of the short story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned sat down for this On the Fly interview during his time on campus.

In the interview, Tower argues, “So much of writing fiction, it’s really about just showing up and sticking to a schedule.” Despite this, he also suggests, “In the most essential sense, writing fiction in particular… is the practice of a kind of faith.”

Tower reads a selection from Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned to close the interview.

Tower’s short stories and journalism have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, the Washington Post Magazine, and elsewhere. He received two Pushcart Prizes and the Plimpton Prize from The Paris Review. New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani named Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned one of the ten best books of 2009. In 2010, The New Yorker selected him as a writer among the best “20 under 40.” The same year, he collected the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award for an American writer under 40.