PITTSBURGH: Mark Nieson, associate professor in the MFA Creative Writing program recently published a memoir, Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape, which concerns the search for where identity, place, and heart intersect. The memoir opens with its Brooklyn-born narrator standing on his head outside an old one-room schoolhouse amid 500 acres of remote woodlands in Iowa, his new home. Why this Walden-like retreat? Is it to attend the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop, or is he actually on the lam from love?
Nieson will be giving a number of readings in the Pittsburgh area this fall, including one on the Chatham’s Shadyside campus on November 9 at 8 p.m. along with Jenny Ashburn, Alison Taverna & Dakota Garilli, three recent MFA graduates who also have books/chapbooks coming out.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School, Nieson’s background includes children’s theatre, cattle chores, and a season with a one-ring circus.
Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape, from Ice Cube Press (2016) has been noted in Best American Essays 2012 and excerpted in Literary Review, Iowa Review, Green Mountains Review, and Chautauqua. Recent fiction is in Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet (Press 53), Tahoma Literary Review, and Museum of Americana. His prose has earned two Pushcart Prize nominations, the Literal Latte Fiction Award, and Raymond Carver Short Story Award. His award-winning feature-length screenplays include Speed of Life, The Dream Catcher and Bottomland. He’s at work on a new novel Houdini’s Heirs.