Ask a Book Question: The 31st in a Series (Who is Wells Tower?)

November 10, 2004 | 3 books mentioned 2 2 min read

Lou writes in trying to track down some info on a young writer:

What can you tell me about the writer Wells Tower? I’ve only seen three published works by him, but his writing is quite amazing. His piece in the newest Pushcart Prize was brilliant.

I hadn’t heard of Wells Tower before Lou wrote in with this question, but after doing a little research, and reading some of his work, I would definitely say that Tower is a writer to keep an eye on. When his first published story appeared in the Paris Review in 2001, Tower was in the MFA program at Columbia according to Maud Newton’s interview with the executive editor of the Review, Brigid Hughes. Since then he has continued to do well. His Pushcart prizewinning story “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” appears in The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and he has a story in McSweeney’s 14. He has also written some substantial non-fiction for the Washington Post Magazine, including a great article called The Deep End — “At 13, George Romero is beginning to navigate a world of romance, danger and possibility. The Wheaton-Glenmont Pool is a good place to start.” And another called Rhyme & Reason — “Can a rapper whose street cred is complicated by a college degree become the next big thing in hip-hop?” The only other thing I was able to dig up on Tower is that he was once in a band called Hellbender. If Mr. Tower ever happens upon this blog, I hope he will email me so we can find out what he’s up to. Thanks for the question, Lou! Keep them coming everybody!

Update: A number of Tower’s pieces are now available at his publisher’s website. In addition, Tower’s short story collection, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned comes out in March. He also appeared in our Year in Reading in 2008.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. I read an article by Wells Tower in the latest Outside magazine (April issue?)about his travels with his father. The last trip they took was to Greenland and Iceland and his brother did the Iceland leg with them. It seems he and his father do yearly trips in exotic places and things rarely go right. I literally laughed out loud a few times it was so hilarious. The guy could be the next Bill Bryson if he wanted to stick with a travel topic… except he might actually be funnier. His description of two women in a bar in Greenland (one nicknamed "Ernest Borgnine" and the other "Don Knots") was classic. It's worth buying the mag just for this article even if you don't go outdoors. Swing by your local "Borders" or "Walmart" and check it out before the next issue hits.

  2. I couldn't help but post after reading your blog on Wells Tower. My family was fortunate to meet Mr. Tower when he did a story on my father for the Washington Post in the summer of 2006.
    He was very kind, unassuming, and intelligent and my family has only good things to say about him. He did most of the asking but we were able to get some info out of him, including his participation in the band Hellbinder. If you could meet him, you'd know immediately why that is too bizarre for words. He is the classic stereotypical reporter and the two images just don't mix :)
    I also want to add that he was very meticulous in his research, spending more than a month with Dad. In the end, he was true to the integrity of the story. Not everyone tells it exactly like they see it when it isn't what the public, or their editor, wants to read.
    If ever he comes knocking on your door, wanting to capture a piece of your life on paper, go for it…you won't regret it!

    PS Here is a link to the article he wrote on my dad, Mike Ferree:

    Wells, if you ever read this, thank you again!

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.