MFAW-WA alumna Tina Ontiveros’s thesis, rough house: a memoir, has been accepted for publication by OSU Press and has a scheduled pub date of September 29, 2020.  Congratulations, Tina!

In rough house: a memoir, Tina Ontiveros casts an uncompromising gaze at the lumber towns and backwoods of her childhood, bringing readers irresistibly along in her journey to adulthood through the fulcrum of intergenerational poverty and violence. Firmly rooted in the Pacific Northwest at the end of the twentieth centuryTina’s story generously expands to timeless and universal themes. Every once in a while a book comes around that speaks plainly and certainly about the strength and joy that can be forged from struggle, affirming our shared humanity and the redemptive power of love. This is that book. 

Tina Ontiveros is a writer of immense courage and skill, and she’s just getting started. OSU Press is honored to introduce rough house to the world.

Advanced Praise for rough house:

What is it like to be a refugee in your own country, to be a child in exile from safety, lost from landmarks again and again, waking each day to search for some provisional sense of home? Tina Ontiveros takes us on that journey, where “it’s difficult to place memories in a childhood of migrations”—migrations from house to house season by season, from fury to joy in a moment, and from confusion to provisional certainties hard-won growing up. When W.H. Auden talks about a writer’s “clear expression of mixed feelings,” he could have been describing this book’s power to put you inside the mind of a child beset by constant contradictions, her admiration and intermittent love for a parent beset by alcohol and given to destruction. In spite of her struggle, there is something so plucky and honest about this book’s narrator, you will be converted to a new view of your own troubles. You will look at your own life through the lens of this book, knowing with Ontiveros that “certain beauties can only be seen in the complication of hardship.” This kid’s got the goods to survive, and this book’s got a big story for you.

—Kim Stafford, author of Singer Come from Afar

rough house is truly one of the best books I’ve read this year. Tina’s story of growing up in trailers and logging camps throughout the Pacific Northwest is a tough, hard, sometimes horrifying read, but brilliant spots of love and joy throughout show that family is family is family. Family makes us who we are now and, regardless of where you grew up, or who grew you up, Tina’s life story will surely resonate with every reader in one way or the other. 

—René Kirkpatrick, Buyer, University Bookstore Seattle

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