Short Takes: News and Reviews

Welcome to Short Takes. Below you’ll find all the news, interviews, events, and reviews that you might have missed or can look forward to in the coming months.


Becky Mandelbaum’s Bad Kansas won the 2016 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. “What’s most impressive about this collection of stories, in which Kansas is as much a metaphor for dislocation and disconnection as it is a state, is that Ms. Mandelbaum has us fretting about matters worth the bother: what lines we dare not cross, how deep love can cut, what to stop wishing for, when to worry that the world is wobbling out of round, and why we tell the lies we must. Hers are characters driven by need, kids and adults about to go which-away toward a betimes terrible self-knowledge. Bad Kansas is so good it hurts,” said Flannery O’Connor series editor Lee K. Abbott.

Paisley Rekdal won this year’s Association of Writers & Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction with her work The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. “Paisley Rekdal depicts and examines the far-reaching human effects of the Vietnam War in this deeply affecting, disquieting book. She also interrogates and interprets, from many different perspectives and points of view, the war’s damaging, long-lasting legacy,” said Michael Steinberg, the judge for this year’s AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Natalie Graham won the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for her collection Begin with a Failed Body. “Graham’s intellectual tentacles are long, and her imagination is generous,” said Kwame Dawes, the judge for this year’s prize. “She is an exciting new voice, but this claim of ‘newness’ seems almost trite, as there is nothing ‘new’—at least not in the sense we might apply it to a novice’s work—about the authority, wisdom, and daring we find in these poems.”

The National Poetry Series has announced the results of the 2016 Open Competition. The UGA Press will publish Chelsea Dingman’s winning collection, Thaw. 

All of the above mentioned titles will be published by the University of Georgia Press in 2017.


spotlight243geltner_bloodbone_heOn November 10th, join award-winning author Ted Geltner for a special book and film night celebrating the wild life and literary works of the late, near mythical writer Harry Crews at Cine, in Athens. Filmmaker Tom Thurman will also be in the house for a rare public screening of his 54-minute “lost” 1993 documentary “Harry Crews: Guilty As Charged.” The evening starts with the film at 6:30pm sharp (doors open at 6:00pm), and following, Ted Geltner will discuss and sign Blood, Bone, and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews, the first ever full-length biography of Crews, during a light reception provided by University of Georgia Press. Tickets are $5. More information can be found here.

Also on November 10th, the editors of the Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial ViolenceChad Williams, Kidada E. Williams, and Keisha N. Blainwill appear at the Avery African American Research Center in Charleston, South Carolina for a round table presentation. Details can be found here.

On September 23, 2016, the Charleston Syllabus Symposium was held at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries at the University of Georgia. Inspired by the #CharlestonSyllabus hashtag campaign born in the wake of the June 17 massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the University of Georgia Press hosted a symposium for UGA students and faculty to come together to discuss the current state of race relations, racial violence and civil rights activism in the U.S. Featured speakers included  historians Chad Williams, Kidada E. Williams and Keisha N. Blain, editors of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence, an anthology recently published by the University of Georgia Press. For those unable to attend the symposium, the full video allows listeners to engage with the book and timely ongoing discussions.

Visit the UGA Press Calendar to stay up to date on all Press and author events.


Congratulations to the following authors for their recent award wins.


Pictured left to right: Vince Dooley, Dr. John Inscoe, Ashley Callahan, Lisa Bayer, director of the University of Georgia Press, and Dr. Todd Groce.

Southern Tufts: The Regional Origins and National Craze for Chenille Fashion by Ashley Callahan won the 2016 Lilla M Hawes Award for the best book in Georgia local or county history.

UGA Press author Dr. John Inscoe won the John Macpherson Berrien Lifetime Achievement Award for service to Georgia history.

davis_landscapespeopleLandscapes for the People: George Alexander Grant, First Chief Photographer of the National Parks Service by Ren and Helen Davis was named the GOLD Winner for Photography in Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards.

Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards also named After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays edited by David Lazar and Patrick Madden the GOLD Winner for Essays.

The Curious Mister Catesby: A ‘Truly Ingenious’ Naturalist Explores New Worlds edited by E. Charles Nelson and David J. Elliot won the Annual Literature Award from the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries.

Honest Engine by Kyle Dargan has been named a finalist in the poetry category for the 2016 Legacy Awards from the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation.



Lost Wax: Essays
Jericho Parms

When I first heard the term ‘lost wax’ I was initially drawn to the sound—two words that I recognized individually, yet, together they took on a new mystery and allure. . . . there is often an element of beauty that must be spent in order for a new beauty to be revealed. And in the giving way, what is lost still has substance, is malleable, can take on new impressions, and be molded again to our experience, often resulting in the most lasting force that determines how we see the world.”

—from an interview with Jericho Parms in The Rumpus

Despite our misgivings, Americans have historically considered technological development and progress to be so closely intertwined as to be virtually identical. As a result, we’ve tended to introduce technologies first and ask questions later. The art of assessment acknowledges that while we can never completely predict the future, we have a responsibility to do what we can. ”

—from “Staying ahead of technology’s curves,” an essay by Doug Hill in the Boston Globe

Listen to Hill’s interview with Ralph Nader for the Ralph Nader Radio Hour or read his interview with the Montclair Times.


A Lillian Smith Reader
Margaret Rose Gladney and Lisa Hodgens

Lillian Smith’s written legacy of common sense, fair play, and innumerable gratifications of racial reconciliation…[have been] deftly culled for A Lillian Smith Reader.”

—Candice Dyer, ArtsATL

“Smith’s greatest contribution to the American project is that she showed us how to be an advocate for social justice, to be a person of conscience in communities that talk often about morality while exhibiting very little of its most basic sense. She taught me, and thousands of others, to love the South by resisting the South.”

—Diane Roberts, Oxford American

Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies is a compelling and thought-provoking book. It is an outstanding example of how a particular landscape can serve as a vehicle for far-reaching historical analysis. Although Providence Canyon may never join Yellowstone or the Great Smokies in the pantheon of national parks, as Sutter notes in his conclusion, he makes clear that it has just as much to teach us about how parks can serve as powerful sites of interpretation for understanding U.S. and environmental history.”

—Jay Turner, author of The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964

Moran argues that O’Connor’s recent biographers haven’t delved into the ways in which her critics, publishers, and readers have contributed to her current literary status, and how her multidimentional roles—as a Southern Catholic woman writer interested in theology and human nature—have continued to matter to contemporary readers, writers, and scholars. Moran’s research is solid and insightful; his style clear and concise. This is an important addition to O’Connor scholarship.”

Library Journal


Lens of War: Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War
J. Matthew Gallman and Gary W. Gallagher

We view Alexander Gardner’s famous 1865 close-up portrait of Lincoln, Mathew Brady’s portrait of Ulysses S. Grant in 1864 after the Battle of Cold Harbor, Robert E. Lee on his horse Traveler, and Jeb Stuart in Confederate finery; in the accompanying essays we witness the rapture that these figures continue to cultivate in contemporary viewers. . . . Reading such entries, one is constantly reminded of the Roland Barthes’s claim that photographs can carry a punctum, the tiny, almost-incidental details within pictures that rivet the gaze and become deeply mesmerizing and achingly personal.”

—Anthony W. Lee, The Journal of American History

A storyteller’s storyteller. . . Anderson draws us into his stories—of his youth and childhood, of his writing that first song at age 19, of his love of baseball and radio, of his early days in Nashville, of his difficult times in the ’80s that led him to get out of the game for ten years, of his love for the University of Georgia (his alma mater), of his parents—with crackling good humor and with an empathy wrought from his own years of hardship.”

—Henry Carrigan, No Depression


Inspired Georgia
Judson Mitcham, Michael David Murphy, and Karen L. Paty

What makes the collection especially unique is that the works published within it were sourced completely separately from one another—the poetry did not beget the photography; the photography did not prompt the poetry. . . . The result is stunning—a compilation of 85 artists from across the state, including contributions from former United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, A.E. Stallings, Amanda Greene, Jericho Brown, Joeff Davis and Kevin Young.”

—Laura Relyea, ArtsATL

Based on more than two decades of ethnographic research, [Selling the Serenegti] is a rich chronicling and sophisticated analysis of on-going everyday and historic struggles over identity, culture, and resources in a neoliberal age… The specific politics of Loliondo are intriguing and important for understanding how neoliberal conservation processes are unfolding in other parts of Tanzanian Maasailand and beyond. The book will thus appeal to a broad set of readers interested in the effects of conservation, tourism, and neoliberalism on communities and landscapes across Africa.”

—Mara J. Goldman, African Studies Review

I didn’t know food writing could sound like that, is what I thought, over and over, the first time I read it. It was a cookbook, sure, but all the way through, Smart-Grosvenor shifted from memoir to recipe, often without breaking the flow of a sentence. She embroidered her stories with politics, sarcasm, romance and family mythology, defining the food-memoir genre as we now know it.”

—Tribute to Vertamae Smart Grosvenor by Tejal Rao in The New York Times Magazine

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