Nell Zink, International Woman of Mystery


Nell Zink’s debut novel, The Wallcreeper, offers a dark coming-of-age story of a married woman not all that dissimilar from Zink herself. Zink has lived a global lifestyle, picking up and moving to various cities on a whim. Matthew Jakubowski spoke with Zink over at the Paris Review:

I was a very excitable waitress, but management valued me for my strange talent of taking drink specials seriously. They would order us to sell fuzzy navels at lunchtime, and I would obediently sell twenty fuzzy navels while the other waitstaff ignored them. My life changed forever in 1989, when a friend of my mother’s shanghaied me into taking the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s test of clerical aptitude. Apparently 98.9 percent was an unusual score.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →