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Graduate Writers To Give Wynne Home Readings

April 27, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt, Scott Kaukonen

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Every Thursday evening since early January, the formal dining room in the Wynne Home has been converted into a workshop. Not a workshop with hammers and saws, planers and vices, but rather into a creative writing workshop where the tools of the trade remain pens and paper, books, the imagination, and, these days, most likely a computer.

As a way of saying thanks to the Wynne Home for its hospitality, the students enrolled in Scott Kaukonen’s graduate fiction writing course at SHSU will give readings from the work written for the class. The readings will take place beginning at 7 p.m. on consecutive Thursday evenings, May 3 and May 10. They are free and open to the public.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate the art and craft of fiction and our experiences with that challenge this semester,” Kaukonen said. “To write serious fiction, to write fiction that engages with the world in all its beauty and complexity and brokenness remains a fundamental part of the human experience, and a difficult one. We’ve had a small class with just six students, but it’s been a group that’s worked well together and that has impressed me not just with its potential, but with the stories that it has produced.”

The students include Kim Davis, Laura Hamilton, Sylvia Heggins, Chad Meiners, John Rhine, and Lucas Wilson. Five of the students are enrolled in the graduate program in English at SHSU, while Rhine is an undergraduate honors student who was invited to participate.

“This is the third time I’ve taught the graduate fiction workshop and the third time I’ve done so at the Wynne Home,” Kaukonen said. “It’s been a wonderful place to hold the class. It provides an atmosphere that feels less like a classroom and perhaps more like a salon. We sit around the long table in the dining room to critique the student stories and to discuss books and essays about writing fiction and to find community in our shared endeavor.”

In addition to the graduate students, Kaukonen and Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion, both of whom teach in the creative writing program at SHSU, will read from their work.

Kaukonen, who serves as director of the new Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, which will officially begin in the fall, is the author of Ordination, winner of the Ohio State University Prize for Short Fiction, and is the recipient of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, the Chicago Tribune, Third Coast, Normal School, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. He will read from his novel-in-progress, The Martyrdom of Katie Deeds, on May 3.

Nowlin-O’Banion holds an MFA from New York University and a doctorate from the University of Houston. Her work has appeared in Vandal, Callaloo, Gulf Coast, the Dallas Morning News, and Conversely, as well as the anthology Literary Cash: Unauthorized Writings Inspired by the Legendary Johnny Cash. She will read from her novel-in-progress, The Greenest Grass, on May 10.

Kaukonen said he’s looking forward to the transition into the new MFA program in the fall.

“We’ve long prided ourselves in sending off our best undergraduate and Master of Arts graduate students to top-notch MFA programs,” Kaukonen said. “But now we’ll be looking to keep some of those at home. And certainly we hope the Wynne Home will continue to provide this occasional home to our workshops.”

For more information, contact Kaukonen at 936.294.1407 or kaukonen@shsu.edu.



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