Authors and Artists

Spring 2024


Murry R. Nelson ’69, Indiana University Press, February 2024

Nelson chronicles two decades of Big Ten basketball, when the conference was one of the most successful in the nation. Coaches such as Lute Olson, Johnny Orr, and Bob Knight led the nation in national titles, influencing the league with their playing styles, changes to rules, recruitment, and intensity. Nelson has written several books about the history of American sports and basketball. He is emeritus professor of education and American studies at Penn State University.

Susan Sink ’86, Lulu, August 2023

Failure to Thrive follows a North Dakota family during the 2008 financial crisis, which, combined with a personal crisis, thrusts them into the world of child protective services and the beginning of the kind of grievances that will eventually give rise to Donald Trump. For working-class people, meaningful work is being taken away and replaced with "driving truck" or relocating the men to fracking sites out west. A wife and daughter left at home with an additional tragedy can't cope. Failure is a lovely and heart-wrenching account from a part of the world few know.

Gregory Wallance ’70, St. Martin’s Press, December 2023

Into Siberia recounts American journalist Kennan’s 1885 journey to investigate the brutal Russian exile system. Over 10 months, Kennan traveled 8,000 miles and endured suffocating sandstorms in the summer and blizzards in the winter. His interviews with convicts and political exiles revealed how Russia ran on the fuel of inflicted pain and fear. Critics say Into Siberia is “a thrilling work of history,” “reads like a classic adventure odyssey,” and is “history at its most compelling.” Wallance is a lawyer and writer in New York City.

Monique McLay Shore ’90, January 2024

Shore has written an illustrated children’s book about the life and legacy of beloved Grinnell pioneer and icon Edith Renfrow Smith ’37, whose adage that “No one is better than you” continues to inspire everyone she meets. Shore recounts Smith’s remarkable resilience, her determination to succeed, and the inspiration she gives to others. No One Is Better Than You is available for purchase through the Pioneer Bookstore. Learn more at The Renfrow Story.

Thomas Bowen ’62, University of Utah Press, December 2022

Hot, arid, and uninhabited, the western Midriff Islands in the Gulf of California are surrounded by an often-treacherous sea. Why would ancient people go there, and why would anybody go there today? Bowen addresses these questions in the first comprehensive history of the islands; drawing on a range of sources, including the first archaeological field work ever conducted there and his own firsthand experiences. Bowen is a research associate with the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona and professor emeritus at California State University-Fresno.

Bruce F. Pauley ’59, Bison Books, September 2023

Pauley’s latest book highlights his hometown during a period of rapid social and technological change between the 1890s and 1920s, examining the modernization of homes, public and private transportation, education, the status of women, and entertainment. He also addresses challenges like the loss of civil liberties during World War I. Pauley is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Central Florida.

Julie Anne Cassiday ’86, University of Wisconsin Press, December 2023

Russian Style examines gender and sexuality in Russian popular culture from 2000-2020, as Vladimir Putin’s control over Russian politics and society grew. As the West liberalized its stance on sexuality and gender, Putin’s Russia moved toward a neoconservative agenda characterized by increasingly exaggerated gender roles, heteronormativity, and homophobia. However, Cassiday examines how gender performativity also inspired citizens to resist and protest the state’s mandate. Cassiday is a professor of Russian at Williams College.

Vanessa Gennarelli ’05, Book Apart, September 2023

Working at a high-growth tech organization can be tough, from product pivots to constantly shifting expectations to personnel turnover. Gennarelli provides insights from her years of hard-earned expertise — sharing extensive research, case studies, and practical exercises for anyone seeking to boost their tech career. Gennarelli is the principal of Fortuna, a change management firm, and the chief operating officer for

Matt Brennan ’77, Kelsay Books, December 2023

Brennan’s latest volume of poetry takes his distinctive style of lyric realism to another level; critics say it “is not a collection of individual poems so much as an episodic autobiography, a Wordsworthian recollection of his life from his Midwestern Catholic boyhood to his mature years of study, writing, and travel.” Brennan has won the Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred and the Theodore Dreiser Award. He taught literature and poetry writing at Indiana State University from 1985 until his retirement in 2017.


Seth Hanson ’17, Dollhouse Lightning, December 2023

Hanson describes his latest album, Exiting the Highway, as a reflection on his life in Boston over the last few years and a search for hope in smallness and slowness. Also in 2023, Hanson released Singing Songs with You, a triple album of original music for children — featuring Hello Friends, Watch Out, and The Beauty’s Infinite — under the name “Mr. Seth.” Both albums are available via streaming.