Hand writing with fountain pen


Book Ends deadlines, eligibility, and application procedures. 

Upcoming application deadline: September 19, 2024 (5:00 p.m.)

Co-sponsored by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Office of the Vice President for Research, Books Ends—Obermann/OVPR Book Completion Workshop supports University of Iowa faculty from disciplines in which publishing a monograph is required for tenure and promotion. The award is designed to assist UI faculty members with significant research responsibilities turn promising manuscripts into important, field-changing, published books.

Book Ends brings together four senior scholars for a candid, constructive three-hour workshop on a faculty member’s book manuscript. The award provides a $500 honorarium for two external senior scholars ($500 for each). We will also ask two University of Iowa senior faculty members to participate, as an opportunity to learn about and support the work of a colleague. The Director of the Obermann Center or a representative for the Center will work with successful applicants to select the outside reviewers and organize the workshop. Usually, one of the University of Iowa colleagues will act a facilitator, using the guide we have developed for authors and readers. Reviewers will be asked to provide substantive written comments, and the workshop will be recorded for the author’s use during the revision process. Our goal is for each author to leave the workshop with concrete suggestions for revision, advice about appropriate presses, and a timeline that will lead to a revised manuscript ready for presses to review within six months.

We will host workshops for up to four UI faculty members in 2024–25. This project supports faculty members completing first books within a timeframe that aligns with deadlines for tenure review, associate professors on the verge of seeking promotion to full professor, and full professors with mature drafts of monographs.

We thank the Vice President for Research for co-sponsoring this initiative, and we look forward to this exciting opportunity to create new intellectual connections, to enrich scholarly research, and to assist faculty members to advance in their careers. 

Interested? Attend the info session on August 28!

From previous awardees:

"My Book Ends conference provided me with the feedback necessary to revise my manuscript and land a contract at University of California Press. So grateful for this program! There are so few opportunities for this kind of feedback in the pre-tenure book writing process." —E Cram (Communication Studies & GWSS)

"The workshop was tremendous. What an opportunity to have long-admired senior scholars and brilliant Iowa colleagues come together to discuss my work! The conversation was deeply rich, and I have a wealth of ideas about next steps. It was clear that everyone involved had participated in a similar workshop and knew well the genre. The comments were well pitched for next steps." —Brady G'Sell (Anthropology & GWSS)

"Even though I do not yet have reports back from external readers for [the press with which the book is under contract], I feel I already have a meaningful sense of how I might begin revisions. When the reports do come in, I doubt they will be as richly detailed and supportive as the feedback the Book Ends conference provided." —Christopher Goetz (Cinematic Arts)

collage of photos of past recipients of the Book Ends award


Recipients of the Book Ends award.

In the News

photo of Everard Hall eating lunch in a cemetery (photo credit: Dessert, 2015, Thalassa Raasch)

Witnessing the Gravedigger

Monday, November 13, 2023
Who’s your local gravedigger? Do you know? Do you have one? The residents of Cherryfield, Maine, do—and it’s not the dirty, shadow-clad figure you’re picturing. It’s local resident Everard Hall, smiling and ball-capped in a plaid work shirt. There’s a harmonica in his pocket and dancing boots in his pickup. Everard (pronounced “EVer-ard”) is one of the few remaining gravediggers in the U.S. who dig by hand—and he does it year-round across northeastern Maine. Using picks, shovels, chains, and winches to haul out rocks, ice, hardpan, roots, clay, and sand, he insists on doing the job with care and precision. It’s not surprising that UI photography professor Thalassa Raasch feels the exact same way about documenting Everard’s work. Her in-progress collection of photos and essays, In Over My Head, documents the unexpected beauty of Everard’s work as a gravedigger and explores the profound thresholds between solitude and community, life and death.