Smith to wrap up Fall Visiting Writers Series

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Kevin Young signs copies of his book after his poetry reading in the International Center on Oct. 2. Michael Kavitz/Printz
Kevin Young signs copies of his book after his poetry reading in the International Center on Oct. 2.
Michael Kavitz/Printz

The Center for Writers at The University of Southern Mississippi will host the final presentation in the Fall Visiting Writers Series with a visit from Michael Farris Smith of Columbus.

Smith will present a fiction reading on Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the International Center Room 101. The event is free and open to the public.

Smith is the author of “Rivers” and “The Hands of Strangers.”

A graduate of Mississippi State University and the Center for Writers at Southern Miss, he has won numerous awards including Transatlantic Review Award, Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, Brick Streets Press Short Story Award and Alabama Arts Council Fellowship Award for Literature.

“His fiction is powerful and lovely and local,” said Jennifer Brewington, a graduate student studying English. “I think folks would really love to hear fiction that is so rooted in Mississippi. I have a soft spot for Southern fiction, and I am incredibly eager to hear his work as well.”

The Center for Writers has hosted internationally acclaimed authors for over 30 years with the Visiting Writers Series. It’s goal was to bring a mix of writers to expose students to different writing styles to improve their writing.

“I have loved every one of the readings I’ve attended. Professional writers read their work aloud and interact with the audience,” Brewington said. “These events allow a more personal interaction with writers than most of us have the opportunity to experience. I am impressed by the quality of writers our faculty has been able to attract to USM this year. It is an event that fits nicely within the USM and Hattiesburg community’s enthusiasm for art.”

Kevin Young, the author of “Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels” and the winner of an American Book Award and Jelly Roll, read one of his original poems on Oct. 2 as the first installment of the Fall Visiting Writers Series.

Young was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Paterson Poetry Prize.

“This reading with Kevin Young is a great opportunity to see and meet a published writer,” said Elena Tomorowitz, a graduate student studying English and creative writing. “When the English department hosts a visiting writer, something magical happens–we all put down our own work, engage in the art of an inspirational writer, and later, conversations about writing and poetry fill the room.”