Ann Cummins biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Ann Cummins
Photo: Steve Willis

Ann Cummins

Ann Cummins Biography

A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Arizona writing programs, Ann Cummins is the author of Red Ant House, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Best Book of the Year. She has had her stories published in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Quarterly West, and the Sonora Review, among other publications, as well as The Best American Short Stories 2002. The recipient of a Lannan fellowship, she divides her time between Oakland, California, where she lives with her husband, and Flagstaff, Arizona, where she teaches creative writing at Northern Arizona University.



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Interview

Ann Cummins discusses her first novel, Yellowcake, a multi-generational and multicultural story set in a former uranium milling community.

Why is your novel titled Yellowcake?

My novel is set in the uranium-rich lands of the American Southwest, the Four Corners area, including the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and the Navajo Indian reservation in northern New Mexico and Arizona. My subject is the lives of Navajos and Anglos for whom the mining and milling of uranium was a way of life from the fifties through the early seventies. Yellowcake, a controversial energy source used to power both nuclear bombs and power plants, comes from processed uranium ore. I titled my novel Yellowcake in part because the making of yellowcake was such an important element of my characters' lives, but also because it's a long-lived energy source emitting radiation for years after the ore is mined. My novel is set in 1991, twenty years after the closing of many uranium mines and mills on the Colorado Plateau, but my characters continue to feel the industry's effects in many ways — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. History and the present converge in the characters. Yellowcake, or rather the "half-life" of the processed ore, represents the echoes and consequences of historical events and how they play out in the present.


So is it ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Ann Cummins at BookBrowse
Yellowcake jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Ann Cummins but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Jennifer Haigh

    Jennifer Haigh

    Jennifer Haigh is a novelist and short story writer. She was born in 1968 in Barnesboro, a Western Pennsylvania coal town 85 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Cambria County. She attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Yellowcake

    Try:
    Baker Towers
    by Jennifer Haigh

  • Tony Hillerman

    Tony Hillerman

    Tony Hillerman, author of many novels including the Leaphorn/Chee mystery series, died in October 2008 at the age of 83.

    A past president of the Mystery Writers of America and recipient of their Edgar and Grand Master ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Yellowcake

    Try:
    Skeleton Man
    by Tony Hillerman

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Editor's Choice

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Book Discussion
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An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

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