Omaha Reader ME Signs Book Deal

Schaffert’s debut novel is about abandonment

Timothy Schaffert, managing editor of the Omaha Reader, has signed a contract for his debut novel, “The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters.”

The novel is to be published by BlueHen, a new literary division of publishing giant Penguin Putnam, in June 2002. “If I get my revisions completed on schedule,” Schaffert says.

Two chapters of the novel, which a piece in The Reader describes as about “two sisters damaged by abandonment,” have appeared as short stories in the literary journal Prairie Schooner.

“Undoubtedly. I’m always preoccupied by the paper,” Schaffert says of his day job. “It’s kind of like trying to write a novel while a baby squalls in the other room—a distraction from creativity, certainly, but an important distraction. My insomnia and midnight anxiety have become somewhat beneficial as I work on revisions of the novel, however, allowing for more hours in the night.”

Schaffert grew up on a farm in Hamilton County, Nebraska, the same kind of farming community about which Willa Cather wrote. He attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as an undergraduate. He holds a creative writing master’s of fine arts degree from the University of Arizona.

In addition to Prairie Schooner, his short stories have appeared in The Greensboro Review, Natural Bridge, and other literary journals. His work was “short-listed” in The Best of 1999: The O Henry Awards Prize Stories, and he has received the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, and two awards from the Nebraska Arts Council.