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Do-over! In Which a Forty-eight-year-old Father of Three Returns to Kindergarten, Summer Camp, the Prom, and Other Embarrassments

by Robin Hemley

Robin Hemley's childhood made a wedgie of his memory, leaving him sore and embarrassed for over forty years. He was the most pitiful kindergartner, the least spirited summer camper, and dateless for prom. In fact, there's nary an event from his youth that couldn't use improvement. If only he could do them all over a few decades later, with an adult's wisdom, perspective, and giant-like height... In the spirit of cult film classics like Billy Madison and Wet Hot American Summer, in DO-OVER! Hemley re-encounters papier mache, revisits his childhood home, and finally attends the prom--bringing readers the thrill of recapturing a misspent youth and discovering what's most important: simple pleasures, second chances, and the forgotten joys of recess.

I'll Tell You Mine: Thirty Years of Essays from the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program

by Robin Hemley Hope Edelman

The University of Iowa is a leading light in the writing world. In addition to the Iowa Writers' Workshop for poets and fiction writers, it houses the prestigious Nonfiction Writing Program (NWP), which was the first full-time masters-granting program in this genre in the United States. Over the past three decades the NWP has produced some of the most influential nonfiction writers in the country. I'll Tell You Mine is an extraordinary anthology, a book rooted in Iowa's successful program that goes beyond mere celebration to present some of the best nonfiction writing of the past thirty years. Eighteen pieces produced by Iowa graduates exemplify the development of both the program and the field of nonfiction writing. Each is accompanied by commentary from the author on a challenging issue presented by the story and the writing process, including drafting, workshopping, revising, and listening to (or sometimes ignoring) advice. The essays are put into broader context by a prologue from Robert Atwan, founding editor of the Best American Essays series, who details the rise of nonfiction as a literary genre since the New Journalism of the 1960s. Creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing writing concentration in the country, with more than one hundred and fifty programs in the United States. I'll Tell You Mine shows why Iowa's leads the way. Its insider's view of the Iowa program experience and its wealth of groundbreaking nonfiction writing will entertain readers and inspire writers of all kinds.

The Last Studebaker

by Robin Hemley

In 1963, when Lois Kulwicki's father loses his job at Studebaker along with hundreds of other workers, he acts as if he has just been promoted. He buys a new car (the only non-Studebaker he's ever purchased) and takes his family on vacation. On the way home, Mom dumps Dad at a Stuckey's, and that's the last they see of him.Thirty years later, Lois has a family of her own, as fractured as her childhood family. Divorced but still living with her ex, she decides to move out with her two daughters and start over but then a stranger named Henry enters their lives. Out of this ersatz family, Lois tries to recover something of what she lost, beginning with a search for her abandoned father. The Last Studebaker is a warmly comic tale of lives changed forever, after the last Studebaker rolled off of the assembly line.

Reply All

by Robin Hemley

Reply All, the third collection of award-winning and widely anthologized short stories by Robin Hemley, takes a humorous, edgy, and frank look at the human art of deception and self-deception. A father accepts, without question, the many duplicate saint relics that appear in front of his cave everyday; a translator tricks Magellan by falsely translating a local chief's words of welcome; an apple salesman a long way from home thinks he's fallen in love; a search committee believes in its own nobility by hiring a minority writer; a cheating couple broadcast their affair to an entire listserv; a talk show host interviews the dead and hopes to learn their secrets. The ways in which humans fool themselves are infinite, and while these stories illustrate this sad fact in sometimes excruciating detail, the aim is not to skewer the misdirected, but to commiserate with them and blush in recognition.

Turning Life into Fiction

by Robin Hemley

A highly entertaining and indispensable manual on how to write good fiction If you want to write at all, whether from real life or not, you must be willing and able to use your imagination. That means you must be willing to take risks and sometimes look the fool. You must be willing to transform experience, not simply record it. If you were a good liar, daydreamer, or troublemaker as a child, you'll probably make a good fiction writer. Daydreams, lies, and trouble. That's the stuff of fiction. In Turning Life into Fiction, Robin Hemley offers a highly entertaining and in-depth manual--with writing exercises on how to convert real life into good storytelling. He covers a wide range of subjects, including how to record and generate ideas from daily life and how to write effectively using true anecdotes, real places, and real people. A self-proclaimed liar and thief, Hemley also addresses the legal and ethical concerns of "borrowing" experience from the lives of strangers and loved ones. Lively, informative, and inspirational, Turning Life into Fiction is an invaluable text for any fiction writer. First published in 1994, this new edition is updated and expanded to include nearly a dozen short stories that Hemley refers to throughout the book.

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