Diane E Simmons
Phone: +1 (212) 220-8296
Ph.D. City English Literature University of New York Graduate Center
MA Creative WritingA City College – CUNY
BA History University of Oregon
Research and Projects
- Courtship of Eva Eldridge (Forthcoming University of Iowa Press)
A work of narrative non-fiction, The Courtship of Eva Eldridge is the story of a young farm woman who goes to work in one of the vast World War II shipyards on the Oregon coast. Here, using new assembly techniques, ships are produced faster than the Axis can sink them. Here too, Eva is changed beyond recognition, caught up in the unprecedented freedom granted women. But when the war is over, the moment of independence ends for Eva as for millions of others. Most women accept the post-war mythology which insists that, now, woman’s only fulfillment is in the home, and that careers are not only unfeminine but a threat to health and sanity. The marriage rate soars, and women of twenty-three are considered old maids.
But Eva, like a few other “transitional women,” can never quite go back. As a result, she finds herself single and marginally employed in the marriage-obsessed 1950s, the perfect target for handsome, loving Vick, who travels the West, conducting whirlwind courtships with women whose lives were upended by the war. After each lavish wedding, however, after the romantic honeymoon and a few months of domestic bless, he will vanish. With Eva, he stays a little longer, a whole year, and when he disappears, she cannot believe he has left willingly. She begins the search that will lead her to the other wives—at least ten–and deeper into the mystery of what this perfect replica of a man has meant to so many intelligent and attractive women.
Where the story comes from: When Eva died, I came into possession of her letters and papers, approximately a thousand pieces. I have used these papers, along with several years of research, interviews and site visits, to recreate the story of her transformation during the war, her encounter with Vick, her frantic search for him when he disappeared, her eventual contact with his other wives, and the astonishing role she played when he was finally arrested.
- Dreams Like Thunder,Storyline Press
- Jamaica Kincaid,Twayne U.S. Authors Series
- Maxine Hong Kingston ,Twayne
- The Narcissism of Empire,Sussex Academic Press
- Little America ,Ohio State University Press
Honors, Awards and Affiliations
- Runner-up Missouri Review Editor’s Prize
For short story “Yukon River”
- Oregon Book Award – 1993
Dreams Like Thunder – Oregon Institute of Literary Arts Award for Fiction
- Ohio State University Prize for Short Fiction
Short Fiction Collection, Little America