Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Bob Shacochis portrait
Bob Shacochis. Photo by Larry D. Moore.

University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Bob Shacochis, an acclaimed American novelist, short story writer, and literary journalist, on Monday was named a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Shacochis was nominated for his work The Woman Who Lost Her Soul.

The 2014 prize went to Donna Tartt, for her best-selling novel The Goldfinch. Pulitzer winners and finalists are announced simultaneously.

The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, published by Atlantic Monthly Press, is a novel spanning 50 years and three continents. The book explores the murky world of American foreign policy before 9/11, using provocative themes to raise difficult moral questions.

On the Fly

Watch a City of Literature interview with Bob Shacochis on YouTube.

The Publishers Weekly starred review says, “A brutal American-style John le Carré, Shacochis details how espionage not only reflects a nation's character but can also endanger its soul. Gritty characters find themselves in grueling situations against a moral and physical landscape depicted in rich language as war-torn, resilient, angry, evil, and hopeful.”

Shacochis was born in Pennsylvania, but grew up in the Washington, D.C., suburb of McLean, Va. He was educated at the University of Missouri and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and currently teaches creative writing at Florida State University.

His first short-story collection, Easy in the Islands, was published in 1985 and received the National Book Award in category First Work of Fiction. The stories are set in various Caribbean locales and reflect the author’s experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Grenadines. His second story collection, The Next New World, contains stories set in Florida and the islands of the Caribbean but also in Northern Virginia and the mid-Atlantic coast. In 1993, Shacochis published his first novel, Swimming in the Volcano, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Shacochis has worked as a journalist and war correspondent. A longtime culinary aficionado, Shacochis served as a cooking columnist for GQ magazine, writing the “Dining In” column, which combined often humorous anecdotes with recipes. (The “Dining In” columns are collected in Domesticity, a hybrid cookbook/essay collection.) He is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, and was instrumental, along with other literary journalists recruited by then-editor Mark Bryant, including Jon Krakauer, Tim Cahill, and Bruce Barcott, in establishing Outside’s popular and critical success.

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a graduate program in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.