Tessa Mellas (Creative Writing MFA, ’05), has won the prestigious Iowa Short Fiction Award. Tessa worked for GSW as an instructor for three years and then went on to a doctoral program at the University of Cincinnati. Her book, Lungs Full of Noise will appear in the fall of this year.
In announcing the award, the editors of the University of Iowa Press write:
In the thirteen stories of Lungs Full of Noise, Mellas explores a femininity that is magical, raw, and grotesque. Aghast at the failings of their bodies, this cast of misfit women and girls set out to remedy the misdirections of their lives in bold and reckless ways. Figure skaters screw skate blades into the bones of their feet to master elusive jumps. A divorcée steals the severed arm of her ex to reclaim the fragments of a dissolved marriage. But it is not only the characters who are in crisis; personal disasters mirror the dissolution of the natural world. The sky erupts with feathers as all the birds in a city crash into glass towers. In another story, all the color has drained from the sky and grandmothers believe the whiteness will blind everyone. Orringer says, “Mellas is a visionary, possessed of the ability to take us to worlds we’ve never imagined but that reveal our all-too-familiar hopes, fears, and vulnerabilities. Her stories are lyrical, laced with exquisite detail and image. They show their intelligence not only through their originality but also, and perhaps more importantly, through their sense of humor. Our children may baffle us, bodies may deceive us, our friends may confound us, but at least, these stories suggest, we are not alone. Tessa Mellas has made our human community richer with this deeply original and unforgettable book.”