Today@Sam Article

MFA Faculty Member To Read From Latest Book

Sept. 14, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Lane Fortenberry

The Sam Houston State University MFA Program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing will celebrate the launch of Assistant Professor Olivia Clare’s newest book, “Disasters in the First World” (Black Cat/Grove Atlantic), with a reading and book signing on Sept. 19 in Austin Hall beginning at 5 p.m.OliviaClare630

Clare, who joined the faculty at SHSU last fall, has published widely, both in prose and poetry. Her stories have appeared in such venues as Granta, Southern Review, n+1, Boston Review, and Ecotone, while her poetry can be found in Poetry, Southern Review, London Magazine, FIELDand elsewhere.

Clare won an O. Henry Prize for her first published story, “Pétur,” in 2014, and has an impressive background. She has a MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. in literature with a creative dissertation from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she was a Black Mountain Institute Fellow.

In addition to her new book of short stories, Clare is also the author of the poetry collection “The 26-Hour Day” (New Issues). Her awards include a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award (in fiction), the Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship from Colgate University (in poetry), a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the Tin House Writers' Workshop, the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program.

Additionally, she serves as co-fiction editor of the Texas Review.

In a New York Times review, Andrew Ervin writes of “Disasters in the First World,” “The best of the [thirteen] stories in Olivia Clare’s debut collection flout convention and work in mysterious ways. Two in particular—‘Pétur’ and ‘The Visigoths’—will probably be anthologized and taught and cherished for years to come.”DisastersintheFirstWorld630

“It’s a pretty good day when the New York Times talks about your work and does so in glowing terms,” said Scott Kaukonen, associate professor and director of the MFA program at SHSU. “But it’s just one small indicator of the quality of the stories here, and the trajectory of Olivia’s young career. We know she’s talented as a writer and we know she’s terrific in the classroom, but we also believe that this is just the beginning.”

Publisher’s Weekly describes Clare’s characters as “believable in their frailty and vulnerability. [. . .] the clarity and strength of her voice gives these stories a lingering power.” 

Ching-In Chen, assistant professor of creative writing at SHSU, said, “Pay attention to the beauty and terror of daily life which Olivia Clare's work asks us to bear witness to. Through her powerful words, Olivia Clare evokes mysterious and strange worlds which are unforgettable. This will be a reading not to be missed.”

The reading and book signing of “Disasters in the First World” is open and free to the public.

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