Karen Russell’s “Cosmic Strangeness”

January 30, 2015, by

RM4_0854-001I drive into the concrete city, heading down Louisiana until I hit Texas Avenue.  It is only six. I am early for a reading at the Wortham Center that won’t start until seven-thirty.  I am meeting friends nearby.  Plus, I have secret ambitions for parallel parking.  It never ends up happening, but I can imagine it.

As I am looking for a space, I see Rich Levy, executive director of Inprint, walking with Karen Russell, the author of Swamplandia, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. I know who she is because I have been handing out slick advertisements with her picture on them to my students all week.  I tell them there is nothing like hearing an author read her own work.

It is not too cold, but she has on black boots and a coat anyway.  She is from Florida.  She and Rich are walking and laughing.  She looks so young to me! I think of how famous this writer has become, and what that must feel like.  The brochures have told me that “Russell was the youngest of the 2013 MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ fellowship recipients, and she has been included in The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35, and Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.”  As I see her walking and laughing, I think what a big deal she is, but she isn’t acting like it.  Continue reading

A Telling Story: Lacy M. Johnson’s The Other Side, Nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award

January 27, 2015, by

The Other Side Cover Galley Mech.inddLast week Houston’s literary community was buzzing. Houston writer Lacy Johnson was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for her book The Other Side: A Memoir. We are thrilled for Lacy who is an alum of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program and a former recipient of an Inprint Fondren Foundation Fellowship. Lacy now serves as University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts’ Director of Academic Initiatives. We asked Houston writer and University of Houston Creative Writing Program PhD candidate Austin Tremblay to share his thoughts about Lacy and her memoir with us.

“I have something important to tell you” is a familiar lead-in, especially for writers. We might say this to fellow storytellers, friends, family, or the stranger two barstools down, and we might mean that we have good news, a severe warning, or an epiphany. What we will always mean, though, in spite of these variables, is that we have a story to tell. And we think you, storyteller, friend, family, stranger, should listen.

I have something important to tell you: Lacy M. Johnson’s memoir, The Other Side, has been named a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. It is incredibly exciting that this work has received such a nod. It’s a harrowing book, often difficult to read due to the nature of its subject matter. And yet, it’s a heralded book, and difficult to put down. As Johnson’s website describes, The Other Side is “the haunting account of a first passionate and then abusive relationship, the events leading to Johnson’s kidnapping and imprisonment, her dramatic escape, and her hard-fought struggle to recover.” Continue reading

Physician turned writer, Michael Lieberman talks about his work

January 19, 2015, by

mwl-head-shot-color-1 copy 2This month Mike Lieberman, Houston poet and novelist, came out with his third novel, The Women of Harvard Square. We caught up with Mike this week to talk to him about his prolific writing life.

For those of you who do not know him, in addition to his literary accomplishments, Mike is a former research physician who chaired the department of pathology at Baylor College of Medicine for many years and was also the founding director of The Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute. He is a member of the Inprint Advisory Board and on the Board of The Jung Center of Houston. A graduate of Yale College, he received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Mike is warm and engaging and he will talk about The Women of Harvard Square and sign copies this Thursday at The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose, at 5:45 pm. The reading is open to the public.

Inprint: Tell us a little bit about The Women of Harvard Square and how it compares to your other novels. Continue reading