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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 23, 2011

Iowa short-fiction award winners are among UI Press October releases

"Power Ballads" by Will Boast, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, and "Pulp and Paper" by Iowa Writers' Workshop alumnus Josh Rolnick, winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, are among the new October 2011 titles from the University of Iowa Press.

Real musicians don't sign autographs, date models or fly in private jets. They spend their lives in practice rooms and basement clubs or toiling in the obscurity of coffee-shop gigs, casino jobs and the European festival circuit. The 10 linked stories in "Power Ballads" are devoted to this unheard virtuoso -- the working musician.

power-balladsThe characters in "Power Ballads" -- aging head-bangers, jobbers, techno DJs, groupies and the occasional rock star (and those who have to live with them) -- need music to survive, yet find themselves lost when the last note is played, the lights go up and it's time to return to regular life.

UI Writers' Workshop alumna Yiyun Li wrote, "Reading the stories in 'Power Ballads' is like getting to know a new band: the lyrics and the music get to you when you feel the least prepared, and you laugh and cry and hope to find someone who laughs and cries with you. Will Boast is an exciting new voice."

Ann Beattie commented, "I'm familiar with Will Boast's writing, but I was unprepared for the powerful, cumulative effect of these related stories. There's a barebones believability, increased in every direction by the author's ability to permeate veneers and to find moments of harmony among the characters, heard very unexpectedly. Underneath the calm surface runs an undercurrent of loss and pain, a subtext never sentimentalized or easily summarized. He can really write. What an impressive book."

Boast's fiction has appeared in "Best New American Voices 2009," Narrative, Glimmer Train, the Southern Review, the American Scholar and Five Points. For more information, visit

pulp&paper"Pulp and Paper" excavates the smallest steps people take to move beyond grief, heartbreak and failure -- conjuring the subtle, fragile moments when people are not yet whole, but no longer quite as broken.

Kevin Moffett, the author of "Permanent Visitors," wrote, "These finely wrought stories trace a path to restoration and repair without ever resorting to the overused, predictable footways. Their empathy and insight are surprising, their breadth is impressive."

Rolnick's short stories have also won the Arts & Letters Fiction Prize and the Florida Review Editor's Choice Prize. They have been published in the Harvard Review, the Western Humanities Review, the Bellingham Review and Gulf Coast, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New American Voices.

He currently serves as fiction editor of the literary journal Unstuck, and he is the publisher of Sh'ma, a journal of Jewish ideas.

The books are available at bookstores or directly from the UI Press, 1-800-621-2736 or Customers in Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from Eurospan Group at

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Allison Means, UI Press, Winston Barclay, UI News Services, 319-384-0073,