Before dawn this morning, I grabbed the book that I had reluctantly laid on my bedside table late last night, when I could no longer keep my eyes open. It was Miah Arnold’s debut novel Sweet Land of Bigamy. I eagerly devoured the remaining 30 pages of this wonderfully quirky tale of a cast of realistically drawn characters caught in a love triangle. Miah is reading at Brazos Bookstore this Thursday at 7 pm, and I’m so glad that I had a chance to read it ahead of her book launch. I’ve known Miah since she was a graduate student at the UH Creative Writing Program, and have had the pleasure of hiring her to teach many writing workshops for Inprint. Everyone associated with Inprint should take special pride in Miah’s achievement, as she was the recipient of one of our first $10,000 prizes―the Inprint Diana P. Hobby Prize in Fiction, as well as the recipient of an Inprint Cambor Fellowship and Barthelme Prize. Continue reading
In a 2009 report on reading and literacy (Reading on the Rise), the National Endowment for the Arts found that “for the first time in more than 25 years, American adults are reading more literature… This growth reverses two decades of downward trends cited previously in NEA reports such as Reading at Risk and To Read or Not To Read.” Are American’s children in sync with the adult trend towards reading more literature? At our recent strategic planning retreat, several Inprint Board members expressed concern that their children’s peers are not readers. Certainly, kids today encounter narrative through video and games to a much greater extent than I did growing up, or even 30-year-olds did. Have these forms of interactive narrative replaced reading a good book? Continue reading
One of the great pleasures in life is to get totally lost in a book. And a couple of weeks ago, I picked up Amber Dermont’s debut novel The Starboard Sea and didn’t want to set it down. Not only is it a fast-paced story with rich characters and a central mystery, set among the privileged class at a New England boarding school, but it is also, in a way, an offspring of Houston’s rich literary community.
Amber spent five years in Houston working on her PhD in fiction at the UH Creative Writing Program, graduating in the spring of 2006, after receiving a C. Glenn Cambor Fellowship and Barthelme Memorial Prize in fiction from Inprint. She went on to teach at Rice for a year, as a Parks Fellow, a position offered to one graduate of the UH Program each year. During those years of writing, the beginnings of this book were developed. And it is a very good book by any standard, worthy of two reviews in The New York Times including the cover review of the Sunday Book Review. Continue reading