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Guest Post by Laura Szumowski

In The New York Stories, I came up with 40 illustrations to go along with Ben Tanzer’s collection of short stories. Each of the 17 stories has an illustrated chapter head plus one additional illustration, both inspired by the content and subject matter of the story. I also added six full-color illustrations throughout the book to highlight particularly vivid images from the text, and to convey the overarching themes of the book.

While I consider this project separate from my larger body of work, illustrating The New York Stories took me down a new path, artistically. Before Jason approached me about this project, I hadn’t had the opportunity to illustrate other work. I write and illustrate nonfiction books about women’s health, but for me writing and illustrating were always locked together. I absolutely loved having the sole duty of illustrator, and really enjoyed the challenge of working with different material. What I like most of all is getting to know a narrative and then problem solving the best way of framing it with illustrations. Whether that’s lighthearted or dark, I find both equally gratifying.

I would love to do more illustration projects. I’ve also just finished updating Tip of the Iceberg: A Book About the Clitoris, the first title in my series of women’s health guidebooks. It’s now in its third printing, and has been expanded by 16 pages including a historical timeline of the vibrator, which I am particularly fond of.



Laura Szumowski is an illustrator and the author of a series of guidebooks about women’s health, including the forthcoming Tip of the Iceberg: A Book About the Clitoris. She is also the author of the popular travel guide We Should: A Selective Guide to Chicago. Laura currently manages ZMK Press, a nonfiction small press located in Chicago, and blogs at zoomousekey.


Tip of the Iceberg > http://zmkpress.com/books/iceberg.html
We Should > http://zmkpress.com/books/weshould.html
ZMK Press > http://zmkpress.com
zoomousekey blog > http://zoomousekey.wordpress.com/
Laura Szumowski > http://lauraszumowski.com/

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Davis Schneiderman is a multimedia artist and writer and the author or editor of eight print and audio works, including the novels Drain, Abecedarium, and Blank; the co-edited collections Retaking the Universe: William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization and The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism’s Parlor Game; as well as the audio-collage Memorials to Future Catastrophes. His first short story collection, there is no appropriate #emoji—with collaborations from Lance Olsen, Cris Mazza, Kelly Haramis, Stacy Levine, Tim Guthrie, Andi Olsen, and Megan Milks—will be released in Fall 2019.

His work has also appeared in numerous publications, including Fiction International, The Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, and TriQuarterly.

He is Krebs Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Lake Forest College.

3 thoughts on “Guest Post by Laura Szumowski

  1. Laura, so lovely to see you here at Big Other! One question, though: are you particularly fond of the vibrator or the history of the vibrator? Or both?

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