Caribbean Author Opens Reading Series

The Sam Houston State University Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, editing and publishing opened their 2014-15 reading series Monday as a critically acclaimed author visited campus.

The reading started off an annual series where writers and other professionals bring their experiences to campus and share those with students, according to Scott Kaukonen, director of the MFA program.

“We see it as part of our mission as a program and as a university to continue to bring to campus a diverse range of talented writers, writers who will enrapture and thrill students with stories and language and ideas,” said Kaukonen.

The MFA reading series will bring several writers to campus this fall, including Ken Waldeman, Alaska’s Fiddling Poet and Adrian Matejka.  During the spring, the series will host the National Book Awards where finalists and winners from the contest will come to campus to speak at a series of events.

Fall speaker Adrian Matejka was a finalist in last year’s poetry division of the National Book Awards.

Caribbean author Tiphanie Yanique started the series Monday with a reading from her debut novel, “Land of Love and Drowning.” The novel, described by the BBC as a tale of  “shipwrecks, hurricanes, wartime and the roiling energies of love,” characterizes the author’s “new Caribbean” style, according to SHSU associate professor of English April Shemak.

“The works of earlier generations of writers often deal more explicitly with the legacy of European colonialism, independence movements, and nation-building, so it is interesting to read work that can be contextualized within the history of U.S. imperialism in the region,” Shemak said in a statement. “In her creative work and in interviews, Yanique challenges the perceptions of the Caribbean as primarily a tourist destination and instead demonstrates that it is an active site of ongoing intellectual and cultural production, a region that continues produce a thriving literature.”

For more information on future events in the MFA reading series, contact Scott Kaukonen at 936-294-1407.

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