© 2021 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Married Authors Take On Family, Heartbreak and Addiction in New Short Story Collections

Creative Commons: Pixnio


Malinda McCollum and Anthony Varallo are both graduates of the Iowa Writers Workshop, enthusiasts of the short story form, and authors of their own, new story collections. They’re also married to each other.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to McCollum and Varallo about what draws them to short stories, both as writers and readers, and how the pair successfully manage writing projects, full teaching loads at the College of Charleston, and parenting

McCollum also reads from her new short story collection “The Surprising Place.” Almost all of the collection's 12 stories take place in Des Moines and explore topics including heartbreak, addiction, and abuse through a series of recccuring characters.

“In life, we do often come up against people or situations that are unexpected and that shake us to our core,” McCollum says. “And I think a lot of my stories are interested in. What do we do when that happens. How do we react. Who do we reach out to, or who do we push away.”  

Varallo also brings listeners two micro stories from his flash fiction collection, “Everyone was there.” Most of the stories featured in the collection are less than 500 words in length, and explore the everyday through the lens of parenting and growing up.  

McCollum is scheduled to read from “The Surprising Place” at Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City on July 23.

Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Dennis Reese is the mid-day host for Iowa Public Radio