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Isbn 9781888160925, 272pgs
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“Someone once told me that School and Life were different; in school they give you the lessons before the test, in life it’s the other way around.“—from Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape

Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape 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?

Structured like a schoolbook, each chapter is named after a school subject (i.e. Geography, History, Social Studies, What I Did On My Summer Vacation), which collectively forms an overall lesson plan for his coming back out of the woods. For the Heartland, it seems, won’t allow him to hide from his own heart forever. Schoolhouse is a study of both nature and of human nature.

“Marc Nieson explores the evolution of his younger self with bracing intelligence and talent. Schoolhouse is full of incidental wisdom and glittering moments-—dissecting an owl pellet, watching the mist rise-—that will stay with the reader long after the author reaches his destination. A wonderful debut.”—Margot Livesey, author of Mercury

“Marc Nieson’s Schoolhouse is a record of wisdom and tenderness, and also a record of spiritual and emotional growth. Intelligent, wary, and observant, the narrator of this chronicle gradually lets us see into his heart and soul. It’s a fine and wonderful book, beautifully written.”—Charles Baxter, author, The Soul Thief and The Feast of Love

“Marc Nieson knows full well how a lost relationship can both hurt and nourish one into being. In Schoolhouse, he has given us a remarkable book, light, grave, tender, unsettled, and wide, wide open to the mystery of letting go.”Paul Lisicky, author, The Narrow Door

“Marc Nieson’s Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape is a thoughtful, engaging meditation on memory and place, fertile with striking and intimate detail of one man’s early love affair and the lessons learned. A compelling story woven from whispered secrets, Nieson’s book is a true gem of the memoir form.”
Dinty W. Moore, author, Between Panic & Desire

“Those of us who have lived in old one-room schoolhouses understand the solitude, solace, and proximity to nature that they provide. During his year living in Union #9, Marc Nieson embraced these opportunities for inner growth. His new memoir—a must read—traces the story of his journey of discovery along the trail through the woods surrounding his house and along the path of human relationships. Read Schoolhouse, and you will open the door to the mind of an engaging voice, a probing, reflective writer who delights the reader with his lyrical prose on every page.”
Mary Swander, author, Out of this World: A Woman’s Life Among the Amish

“Years ago, I wrote: How does one paint a landscape of identity? Marc Nieson resoundingly answers that question in Schoolhouse, a remarkable memoir of love and landscape as well as a courageous narrative about writing and identity. One of the most poignant and beautiful memoirs I have read in decades … a collage of memories, place, and people … a memoir of fortitude and hope.”—Marjorie Agosín, author, The White Islands and Of Earth & Sea: A Chilean Memoir

“There are life lessons aplenty in this gorgeous meditation on youth, love, and trying to find an anchor in the world. A book that should be widely read and appreciated for its insights and beauty, Schoolhouse utterly absorbed me in the lost world it creates and honors.”
Robin Hemley, author, Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art, and Madness

“Toward the end of his memoir, Nieson says, ‘We are all of us, to some extent, descendants of ice.’ In this book, we begin to thaw.”—Diane Glancy, author, Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education

Marc Nieson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School. His background includes children’s theatre, cattle chores, and a season with a one-ring circus. Excerpts from his memoir Schoolhouse have been noted by Best American Essays 2012, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and recently published in TriQuarterly, Lime Hawk and Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland. He’s been awarded a Raymond Carver Short Story award and recent fiction appears in Everywherestories: Short Fiction From A Small Planet (Press 53), Museum of Americana, and Tahoma Literary Review. His award-winning feature-length screenplays include Speed of Life, The Dream Catcher, and Bottomland. He serves on the faculty of Chatham University, and is fiction editor of The Fourth River. He’s at work on a new novel, Houdini’s Heirs.

Upcoming events:

Feb21 (Tues) — Clarion PA, Clarion University MFA Reading
Feb28 (Tues) — Pittsburgh PA, City Books7pm (with Adriana Es Ramirez)
Mar 6 (Mon) — Wash D.C., American University MFA,Reading, Class Visit 5:30pm
Mar16 (Thu) — New Orleans, LA, DogfishReading Series (with Ed Skoog)
Mar18 (Sat) — New Orleans, LA, Project Lazarus, Xam “Memoir Seminar”
April9 (Sun) — Catskill, NY, House Reading 2pm
Apr12 (Wed) — Albany, NY, House Reading
Apr13 (Thur) — SUNY Oneonta, NY, Red DragonReading Series 8pm
Jun4-6, Reykjavik, ICELAND, NonfictioNow Conference, Panel: Quest(ion)ing Memoir’s GPS
July 10, 7pm, Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa

Oct 8 (Sat) — Iowa City, IA , Iowa City Book Festival, Official Book Release, 4 pm reading at Prairie Lights Bookstore
Oct 10 (Mon) — Cedar Falls, IA, University of Northern Iowa, “Lyric Nonfiction” lecture
Oct 11 (Tues) — Sharon Ctr, IA, Mary Swander’s Schoolhouse (w/ Mary Swander) 7pm
Oct 12 (Wed) — Kansas City, MO, Prospero’s Books (with Phong Nguyen)
Oct 13 (Thur) — Fulton, MO, William Woods University (with Allison Coffelt)
Oct 22 (Sat) — Pittsburgh, PA, Conversations & Connections, featured author
Nov 3-5 — St. Augustine, FL, Other Words Conference, panelist/moderator
Nov 7 (Mon) — Pittsburgh, PA, Duquesne Coffee House Reading Series (w/ Barbara Wuest)
Nov 9 (Wed) — Pgh, PA, Chatham U. (w/ Jenny Ashton, Alison Taverna, Dakota Garilli) 8pm
Nov 11 (Fri) — Chicago, IL, Seminary Coop Bookstore, (with Joe Peterson, Tom Fate)
Nov 12 (Sat) — Merillville, IN Steel Pen Conference, “Activating Memory into Memoir”
Nov 14 (Mon) — Muncie, IN, Ball State University MFA
Nov 19 (Sat) — Mpls, MN, The Loft, “Memoir: On Self & Society” & “The Seen Story”
Nov 20 (Sun) — Mpls, MN, Magers & Quinn Booksellers (with Juliet Patterson) 5 pm.
Nov 21 (Mon) — Common Good Books (with Jim Heynen) 7pm.
Dec 9 (Fri) — Pittsburgh, PA, City of Asylum with Ukamaka Olisakwe & Shenaz Patel
Jan 29 (Sun) — Bethesda MD, The Writer’s Center, (w/ Ellen Prentiss Campbell & Melissa Scholes Young)