UT MFA “Lectores” Speaker Series Sets January Schedule

Published: Dec 5, 2012

The University of Tampa MFA in Creative Writing speaker series, “Lectores,” will feature eight nights of reading with some of the most interesting contemporary writers in the world during the MFA students’ January residency.

Denis Johnson, National Book Award-winner for Tree of Smoke and widely regarded as a cult writer for his 1992 book Jesus' Son (later made into a major motion picture), is the headliner. Johnson will read on Friday, Jan. 4, on the UT campus. The following night local theater troupe A Simple Theatre will perform one of his plays, "Psychos Never Dream," at the Jaeb Theatre at the Straz Center.

Other guest writers include Ben Lerner, prize-winning poet and author; Deborah Treisman, fiction editor of the New Yorker; and Eli Horowitz, former editor of McSweeney's. The local guest writer is Enid Shomer.

The series also features readings by the MFA program teaching faculty, including British novelist Tibor Fischer, novelist Jessica Anthony, Sarasota-area writer Tony D'Souza, poet Arielle Greenberg, Southern short story writer Jason Ockert, fiction writer Mikhail Iossel, poet and prose writer Terese Svoboda and local writer Erica Dawson.

All readings and events are free and open to the public. All begin at 7 p.m. in their respective venues. The full series follows:

  • Thursday, Jan. 3, Oxford Exchange, 420 W. Kennedy Blvd. — Reading with poets Arielle Greenberg and Ben Lerner. Arielle Greenberg writes poetry, creative nonfiction, scholarship and literary criticism, with a focus on innovative poetics, contemporary literature by younger writers, gender politics and cultural studies — and often the places where those interests intersect.

    Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry, The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), Angle of Yaw (2006) and Mean Free Path (2010). He has been a National Book Award Finalist, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain and a Howard Foundation Fellow. His novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, was published by Coffee House Press in 2011.
      
  • Friday, Jan. 4, Vaughn Center 9th Floor — Opening Reading of the UT MFA in Creative Writing: Denis Johnson and Erica Dawson. Denis Johnson is the author of five books of poetry, nine novels, a story collection, a nonfiction book and several plays. His novel Tree of Smoke was the 2007 winner of the National Book Award. Johnson’s short story collection Jesus' Son (1992) has a tremendous cult following and is widely regarded as one of the most important American short story collections of the past 20 years. Jesus’ Son was adapted into the 1999 film of the same name and named one of the top 10 films of the year by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Roger Ebert.
        
    Erica Dawson recently finished work on her second collection of poems, The Small Blades Hurt, as well as an essay, “The Fictive Who: Abjection, Authorship, and Inwardness in Astrophil and Stella.” Her debut collection of poems, Big-Eyed Afraid, was published in 2007. Dawson is an assistant professor of English at UT.
      
  • Saturday, Jan. 5, Jaeb Theatre at the Straz Center — Staged Reading of Denis Johnson’s play “Psychos Never Dream” by A Simple Theatre. The reading will be followed by discussion with Johnson and Creative Loafing Editor David Warner.
      
  • Sunday, Jan. 6, Vaughn Center, Reeves Theater — Publishing Panel with Eli Horowitz and Deborah Treisman. Eli Horowitz is the co-creator of The Silent History, an experimental digital novel. He was the managing editor and then publisher of McSweeney’s for eight years, and is the coauthor of The Clock Without a Face, a treasure-hunt mystery, and Everything You Know Is Pong, an illustrated cultural history of ping-pong.

    Deborah Treisman became fiction editor of The New Yorker in 2003, after joining the magazine as deputy fiction editor in 1997. She is the host of the award-winning New Yorker fiction podcast, and the editor of the anthology 20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker.
      
  • Monday, Jan. 7, Falk Theatre — Reading with fiction writers Jessica Anthony and Jason Ockert. Jessica Anthony's first novel, The Convalescent (McSweeney's/Grove) was an ALA Adult Notable Book, a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection, and an Editor's Choice in the San Francisco Chronicle. Anthony is also the author of the multimedia novel Chopsticks (Penguin/Razorbill).

    Jason Ockert is the author of Rabbit Punches and the forthcoming short story collection, Neighbors of Nothing. His stories have appeared in several journals and anthologies including New Stories from the South and The Best American Mystery Stories.
      
  • Tuesday, Jan. 8, Vaughn Center 9th Floor — Reading with fiction writer Mikhail Iossel and novelist and poet Enid Shomer. Mikhail Iossel was born in Leningrad, U.S.S.R., where he worked as an electromagnetic engineer and belonged to a circle of underground ("samizdat") writers. He immigrated to the United States in 1986. After receiving a master’s degree in English/creative writing from the University of New Hampshire, he was awarded a Wallace Stegner fellowship in fiction at Stanford University.

    Enid Shomer is a prize-winning poet and fiction writer. Her first collection of stories, Imaginary Men, won both the Iowa Fiction Prize and the LSU/Southern Review Prize, both given annually for the best first collection by an American author. Tourist Season, her second collection, won the Florida Gold Medal and was selected for Barnes & Noble’s “Discover Great New Writers” series. She is also the author of four books of poetry.
      
  • Wednesday, Jan. 9, Falk Theatre — Reading with novelists Tony D’Souza and Terese Svoboda. Tony D'Souza is a novelist and freelance journalist. He's published three novels with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Whiteman (2006), The Konkans (2008) and Mule (2011), which was praised by Vanity Fair and optioned for film by Warner Bros.

    Called "disturbing, edgy and provocative" by Book Magazine, Terese Svoboda’s work is often the surreal poetry of a nightmare yet is written with such wit, verve and passion that she can address the direst subject. Her most recent novel is Bohemian Girl.
      
  • Thursday, Jan. 10, Falk Theatre — Reading with novelists Tibor Fischer and Amy Hill Hearth. The son of Hungarian refugees, Tibor Fischer was born in Stockport in 1959. His first novel, Under the Frog, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1993. He is the author of four other novels, The Thought Gang, The Collector Collector, Voyage to the End of the Room and Good to be God, as well as a collection of short stories, Don’t Read This Book If You’re Stupid. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, his work has been published in 25 languages.

    Amy Hill Hearth is a New York Times bestselling author and a Peabody Award-winning writer who specializes in oral histories and biographies. Hearth "saw her work gain national prominence" (Contemporary Authors, 2009) with the publication of her first book, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, a collaboration with two centenarian sisters who were the daughters of a man born into slavery. Hearth is a UT alumnus.

The UT MFA in Creative Writing program, which was established last spring, works by bringing students for 10-day residencies in January and June and then facilitating individual mentorship between students and writing faculty from a distance.

The Lectores series is co-sponsored by Creative Loafing, Oxford Exchange, The Poynter Institute, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa Bay Times and WMNF-89.5FM.

For more information, go to www.ut.edu/mfacw/lectores.