Fiction writer Thisbe Nissen was the 19th Zale writer-in-residence, visiting Tulane in both the fall and spring semesters of the 03/04 academic year. (She fell ill with the flu during her first visit, in October, so returned in February to meet with students again.)
During her two-part Zale residency, Thisbe Nissen led interactive workshops, was interviewed by the then Dean of Newcomb College, Cynthia Lowenthal, and gave a public reading from her short story collection. The writing workshop involved roaming the city and campus to search for texts to serve as as “portals for fiction and poetry” once the workshop reconvened. During a publishing workshop, Nissen gave advice on applying to MFA programs, and sending out work to literary journals: she talked about how to deal with rejections and acceptances, and how to write a proper cover letter.
Her first short story collection Out of the Girls’ Room and Into the Night (1999), published not long after she graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop, established Nissen as a writer to watch. She followed this with two novels, The Good People of New York (2002) and Osprey Island (2005), both of which explore the complications of relationships in New York – the first in the city itself, the second in a Long Island beach location. (Nissen herself is a native New Yorker.)
Nissen – who is also coauthor of the book The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook: They Came, They Cooked, They Left (But We Ended Up with Some Great Recipes – recently accepted a position teaching creative writing at Western Michigan University.