Only 28 years old, Theodora Ziolkowski is a Best New Poet and Pushcart Prize nominee; she has been published in more than two dozen online and print journals and magazines; and early this year she published her first novella, On the Rocks, with Texas Review Press.
“Theodora is a force of nature, impressive at any age,” said Kellie Wells, director of the UA creative writing program. “But what makes her especially remarkable is that she has published quite a lot and in several genres.”
While Theodora came to UA to focus on poetry, she now writes across genres spanning from long-form fiction to prose—and she even experiments with fairy tales and fantasy fiction.
“Writing in more than one genre allows me two very different ways to communicate,”Ziolkowski said. “I always have more than one project going on across genres. Ping-ponging between deep, concentrated work in each allows me to usually wrap up these projects around the same time and move on to a new batch.”
As a writer with a thorough creative process, Theodora often finds unifying shared human experiences, such as feeling embarrassment or pride, to be the pulse of her writing process. Just months after publishing her first novella, Theodora is already hard at work on two other publications.
“I want to write as often as possible,” Ziolkowski said. “If I can find a sweet pot in whatever form or genre I’m working in, I’m happy.”
While working on her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston, Ziolkowski has been writing and teaching nonstop. The second edition of her book, On the Rocks, will be published in Spring 2021, and will include new material, such as a forward and introduction.
She has new work forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Cimarron Review, and Rattle, and recently served as the poetry editor for the esteemed Houston-based literary journal Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, as well as fiction editor for the online journal Big Fiction.
This year, Ziolkowski was awarded the Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing at the university, which is awarded to students who have made a significant impact on the literary community of Houston. In addition, Ziolkowski taught classes at Inprint, Grackle and Grackle Writing Enterprises, and Writespace, and served as the visiting fiction writer for Houston Baptist University’s MFA in Creative Writing Retreat.