About the author
Follow Will Boast on Twitter : @WillBoast
Will Boast was born in England and grew up in Ireland and Wisconsin. He's the author of a story collection, Power Ballads (2011 Iowa Short Fiction Award), and a best-selling memoir, Epilogue (W.W. Norton/Liveright, Granta Books). His fiction, essays, and reporting have appeared online and in print in The New Republic, Granta, Virginia Quarterly Review, Glimmer Train, The American Scholar, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. He’s been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a Charles Pick Fellow at the University of East Anglia, and a Literature Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. His debut novel, Daphne, will be published by Norton/Liveright and Granta Books in Feb. 2018. He teaches at the University of Chicago and the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in Rome.
The longer version… I was born in Southampton, England, and grew up there and in County Limerick before my family emigrated to America, where we lived in rural Wisconsin. I did my graduate work at the University of Virginia, after which I've held post-graduate fellowships at Stanford University and the University of East Anglia. I’ve lived in Chicago, Brighton, Madison, San Francisco, Berlin, Norwich, and Brooklyn, among other places. After a year-long fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, I’m back on the full-time faculty in the writing program at the University of Chicago. I'm also often in New York, the UK, and Rome.
Power Ballads draws on my experiences touring and recording with several bands. More recently my work has focused on migration and the intersection of culture and politics. I’ve reported on spirit worship and democratic reforms in Myanmar, nomadic sports and post-Soviet national identity in Kazakhstan, and The Gambia’s outsize role in the European migration crisis. My advocacy work is centered around teaching English and college prep workshops at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in Rome. In Dec. 2017, I lead a project to reform the JNRC’s languages curriculum through a grant from the Fulbright Specialist Program, an effort I plan to continue in coming years. Feb. 2018 sees the publication of my debut novel, Daphne, about a young woman who suffers from a neurological condition that paralyzes her whenever she feels strong emotion.
honors & Awards