Ramona Ausubel is the author of two novels—Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One is Here Except All of Us—as well as two collections of short stories—Awayland and A Guide to Being Born. She is the winner of the PEN/USA Fiction Award, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. Her work has appeared in the The New Yorker, the New York Times, Tin House, One Story and elsewhere. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, with husband and two children.
A book is more than just an end of one journey, it’s the beginning of another. A book is an artistic expression, but also a product, and putting a book together is a production. Before it ever hits the hands of readers, a book has already lived a life all its own. In this panel, novelists Ramona Ausubel, Matt Bell, and Natashia Deón share their publication journeys, advice on what to anticipate in the publication process, author platforms, and author commitments once the book hits the shelves. How do you find a publisher?
Writers are always talking about revision, but what exactly do they mean? I will offer eight of my favorite exercises and strategies for taking a story into bigger, wilder realms. Each draft will open your work up and and reignite your imagination.
Starting a novel is hard. Finishing a novel seems nearly impossible. And the middle, well, the middle is a thousand years long. But! But! There are things you can do to turn walls into doorways and keep you moving forward. Join award winning novelist, Ramona Ausubel, in a course on discussing strategies for survival in writing your novel and for keeping the process fun, inventive and full of life. This workshop consists of both moments of lecture and exercises, so be prepared to learn, talk, engage, and put your thoughts and ideas on the page!
Hazel Whiting had finished her freshman year at Mountain Hills High, where there were a lot of ponytails and clanging metal lockers with pictures of hotties taped inside. She had some friends there, but not too many, and usually preferred being by herself to discussing other people’s haircuts or dreamed-of love lives.
The Grandmothers — dozens of them — find themselves at sea. They do not know how they got there. It seems to be afternoon, the glare from the sun keeps them squinting. They wander carefully, canes and orthotics, across the slippery metal deck of the ship, not built for human passage but for cargo. Huge ship ping crates are stacked at bow and stern. The grandmothers do not know what it means. Are we dead? they ask one another. Are we dying? Every part of the ship is metal, great sheets and hand-sized rivets. Cranes and transverses and bulkheads and longitudinals — all metal. All painted white and now splayed with the gray stars of gull droppings.
---. "Tributaries." Recommended Reading, Electric Literature, January 30, 2016.
At the heart of Ramona Ausubel’s “Tributaries” is an idea: love manifested in flesh. As we all strive, quixotically, to capture love in different ways — in poetry, in paint, in lyric, in gesture — in “Tributaries” love erupts as a new appendage, a “love-arm.” Mobile or inert, controlled or spasmodic, full-grown or a collection of half-developed lumps, the love-arms emerge in many forms. But this too proves to be an imperfect way to express feelings, and what makes Ausubel’s rendering remarkable is how deeply she explores the attendant politics and psychology. (Benjamin Samuel, editor)
"Stop. Think. There must be a harder way.” So reads a letterpress sign that hangs in the kitchen of Ramona Ausubel’s mother, which the author recalled at the launch evening for her previous book, The Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty. The message resonates with much of Ausubel’s writing: it’s funny, but it captures something absolutely true about how most of us navigate life—specifically, about the ways women reckon with being lovers, mothers, and artists.
The best writers find ways to gather tidbits from their close observation of life and incorporate the strange truths of the world into their fiction. Ausubel’s most playful moments of fabulism exemplify her ability to absorb the odd, the amusing, and the eerie in everyday life [ . . . ] Moments like these, in which Ausubel ties her narrative whimsy to stranger-than-fiction truths, allow the collection some levity and provide breathing room for the more emotionally challenging stories.