Acclaimed writers visit English department


The Center for Writers at The University of Southern Mississippi kicked off its first presentation of the Visiting Writers Series on March 1st.

The English Department Center for Writers regularly invites internationally acclaimed fiction writers poets and to Hattiesburg for public readings, workshops and individual conferences with Center graduate students.

Antonya Nelson, award-winning author and creative-writing teacher, is this year’s featured guest speaker.

Nelson has taught in the Warren Wilson College MFA Writers Program, and currently teaches University of Houston’s creative writing program. She authored “Sherlock Helmes: the best mathematician the country has ever seen,” “In the Land of Men,” “Talking in Bed,” Nobody’s Girl: A Novel,” “Living to Tell: A Novel” and “Female Trouble.” Her notable works have appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s and Redbook, among others.

With the success of her short stories, fiction writings and books, Nelson was recognized in “Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories.” USM Center for Writers faculty members formed a wish list of potential visiting poets and fiction writers t. Andrew Milward, co-director of the Visiting Writers Series, said Nelson was high on their list for quite some time.

“Antonya Nelson is one of the most renowned story writers and teachers of fiction writing working today,” Milward said. “That’s a tremendous benefit to USM students.”

Milward said Nelson visited USM nearly a decade ago and left an everlasting impact on the students of the university.

The Visiting Writer Series will include readings of Nelson’s work, question and answer forums and book signings at the end of her appearance. English students and fiction writers from all over the USM community anticipate this year’s series.

“Meeting other writers and discussing their work is a key part of developing as a writer because it shows an example of how inspiration can become a successful product,” said Emma Reeves, a junior English major.

Reeves said there is value in all kinds of writing and that by having a guest speaker, students are able to step out of their comfort zones and expand their skills.

“I hope this shows our students that literature isn’t just something that happens in the classroom,” Milward said. “It’s part of a larger community of writers and artists that happens outside of the classroom in events like ours.”