Discipline: Literature – fiction

Laura Spence-Ash

Discipline: Literature – fiction
Region: Hopewell, NJ
MacDowell Fellowships: 2024

Laura Spence-Ash’s debut novel, Beyond That, the Sea, was published by Celadon Books in March, 2023. The novel received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, was an Indie Next pick, and The New York Times said, "The plot… is rooted in the home-front upheavals of World War II, but it’s also a timeless exploration of what it means to create a family, of how dreams can die and be reborn in surprising ways."

Her short fiction has appeared in One Story, New England Review, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. Her critical essays and book reviews appear regularly in the Ploughshares blog. She received her M.F.A. in fiction from Rutgers–Newark.

Spence-Ash edited and revised her second novel, Body Burden, while she was at MacDowell. It traces the lives of three women over the course of the 20th century and the way in which each of their lives was touched by radium.



Laura Spence-Ash worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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