Wish You Were Here: Love and Longing in an American Heartland is a collection of essays whose settings encompass the diversity of the Heartland—from wooded hills to verdant croplands, from tightly knit small towns to booming suburbs—Jack considers how growing up in rural, agricultural America helped shape his life and the lives of his Missouri and Iowa ancestors, inviting readers to reflect on the wellspring of connections between place and personality, demographics and destiny, at work in their own lives.
Zachary Michael Jack has published more than twenty award-winning books in a variety of genres, including fiction, poetry, literary journalism, creative nonfiction, and personal essay for adults and young adults alike, in addition to his work as an active playwright. Zachary’s fiction has earned national runner-up honors in its class in the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award; his poetry has been awarded the Prentice Hall Prize, and his nonfiction has received nominations for the Pushcart (Best of the Small Presses) Prize, the Theodore Saloutos Award, the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, the Herbert Warren Wind Award, and the Shambaugh Award. The author and his work have been featured in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, the Washington Examiner, the Indianapolis Star and the Des Moines Register, among many others. Zachary’s eclectic books have been favorably reviewed by industry-leading opinion-makers such as The New York Review of Books, Publisher’s Weekly, Choice, Kirkus, Foreword Reviews, and others. Both his fiction and nonfiction have been shortlisted by major national publications for best book of the year honors in genres ranging from literary sports journalism, to fictional novels, to young adult nonfiction.
Zachary is the seventh generation in his family to make his home in rural Iowa. An associate professor of English and a member of the graduate and undergraduate interdisciplinary faculties in Liberal Studies and Leadership Studies, Zachary teaches aspiring creative writers, publishers, literary agents, editors, and arts entrepreneurs as a core faculty member in the graduate Writing, Editing, and Publishing, Masters of Liberal Studies (MALS) program at North Central College, as well as teaches graduate seminars in demographics, place studies, and sports leadership for the Masters in Leadership Studies (MLD) program. Zachary’s work with young adults and teens includes presentations, workshops, and literary outreach events at the public libraries, schools, and not-for-profits.