Creative Writing

Jessica Thummel, MFA ’12, Publishes Debut Novel

UNCW alumna Jessica Thummel is celebrating the release of her first book. Thummel (MFA ’12) won the 2016 Dundee International Book Prize for her novel The Cure for Lonely, which tells the coming-of-age story of a young transgender man who moves from Kansas to San Francisco during the 1980s HIV epidemic.

Thummel says her time at UNCW prepared her for the challenges of life as a working writer. “Working with Ecotone and watching the birth of Lookout Books gave me a unique perspective on the industry, demystifying everything from the slush-pile to the inner workings of an editorial meeting,” she says. Furthermore, she credits the MFA program with helping her develop the thick skin required to pursue publishing. “One of my very first classes, [faculty member] Wendy Brenner brought in a manila folder full of rejection letters. At the time, I hadn’t even heard of the Paris Review—so I had no idea what treasures these were—but it burnt into my mind. Rejection wasn’t bad, but necessary.”

The Cure for Lonely can be found in bookstores across the U.K. and via the Freight Books website. While publishing rights are still being settled in the U.S., American readers can purchase the book via Amazon.