University of Iowa

Timothy Bascom

Tim Bascom is author of the memoir Running to the Fire (University of Iowa Press, 2015), which is about coming of age as the son of missionaries in Ethiopia during a Marxist Revolution. His earlier memoir, Chameleon Days (Houghton Mifflin), won the Bakeless Literary Prize. He is also the author of a collection of essays and a novel. His writing has won editor’s prizes at The Missouri Review and Florida Review and been anthologized in Best Creative Nonfiction and Best American Travel Writing. Bascom, who received his M.F.A. from The University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, is Director of Creative Writing at Waldorf University.

Instructor Events

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

According to art critic Herbert Read, “True art persists as an object of contemplation.” One of the reasons that it has this capacity to hold our attention—like the note of a tuning fork after it has been struck—is that it has been created out of contemplation. The contemplative essay, also called the reflective essay, is characterized by an intense and concentrated focus. The author tends to circle a subject, spiraling away and dropping back to describe it from all angles and to plumb it for further meaning.

Weeklong June 24 to June 29 2018

Some essays look inward; others look out, drawing attention to disturbing social concerns. Through writing, the author gives witness to an injustice, bringing it to light so that readers will become more aware and more likely to respond. In the 1930’s George Orwell described a Burmese man being hanged, exposing the failure of the colonial British system. In the 1990’s Terry Tempest Williams wrote about cancer in her Utah family as a way to expose the damages of U.S. nuclear testing.