Tara Ison

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Tara Ison is an American novelist, short story writer, and essayist. She is the author of three novels: Rockaway (Soft Skull Press, 2013), The List (Scribner, 2007), and A Child out of Alcatraz (Faber & Faber, 1997), which was a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.[1] A collection of essays, Reeling Through Life: How I Learned To Live, Love & Die at the Movies, was published by Soft Skull Press in January 2015, and was the winner of the 2015 PEN Southwest Award for Creative Nonfiction. Her short story collection, Ball, was published by Soft Skull Press in Fall 2015.


Ison's short fiction, essays, poetry and book reviews have appeared in Tin House, Salon,[2] O, The Oprah Magazine, Electric Literature,[3] The Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, Nerve, Black Clock, TriQuarterly, The Santa Monica Review, PMS: poemmemoirstory, Publishers Weekly, The Week, The Mississippi Review, LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, and numerous anthologies. She is also the co-writer, with Neil Landau, of the 1991 cult classic movie Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.[4]

Ison is the recipient of a 2008 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship and a 2008 COLA Individual Artist Grant, as well as multiple Yaddo fellowships, a Rotary Foundation Scholarship for International Study, a Brandeis National Women's Committee Award, a Thurber House Fiction Writer-in-Residence Fellowship, the Simon Blattner Fellowship from Northwestern University, and a California Arts Council Artists' Fellowship Award.

Ison received her MFA in Fiction & Literature from Bennington College. She has taught creative writing and screenwriting at Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Goddard College, Antioch University Los Angeles, and UC Riverside Palm Desert's MFA in Creative Writing program. She is currently Associate Professor of Fiction at Arizona State University.[5]


Book Cover of Reeling Through Life.jpg
  • Ball: Stories
  • Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies' Winner, 2015 PEN Southwest Award for Creative Nonfiction[6]
  • A Child out of Alcatraz
  • The List
  • Rockaway


  1. ^ "Book Prizes – Los Angeles Times Festival of Books". Los Angeles Times. April 19, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ Ison, Tara. ""Too stupid to be c*nts": The new normal of toxic male entitlement on campus". Salon. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Ison, Tara. ""Ball" by Tara Ison, Recommended by Rick Moody". Electric Literature. Electric Literature. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ "ASU Directory Profile: Tara Ison". Arizona State University. November 15, 2007. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ https://pentexas.org/2016/02/04/winners-of-the-2015-pen-southwest-book-awards/

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