McNeese State University is home to the oldest Master of Fine Arts program in Louisiana and one of the oldest in the southeast. In celebration of the program’s 40th anniversary, McNeese’s Department of English and Foreign Languages will host three readings by notable alumni Eric Nguyen, Morri Creech and Adam Johnson April 7-9. These events are open free to the public.
“For 40 years the McNeese MFA program has been guided by the vision of its founder, John Wood, to both center and celebrate the practice of writing,” says McNeese MFA director Amy Fleury. “John’s belief in the power of art radiates through everything we do here. Over the years we have been fortunate to have attracted excellent writers to study with us and it is gratifying to watch as our alumni contribute so impactfully to American literature. All the beautiful novels, poems and stories of our students and alumni are a testament to what we’ve been able to accomplish with the Master of Fine Arts program. It is a privilege to be a small part of these immense successes.”
On Thursday, April 7, 2015 graduate and author Eric Nguyen will give a reading at 7 p.m. in the La Jeunesse Room of the Holbrook Student Center. His first novel, “Things We Lost to the Water” (2021), was longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize and named Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year, a Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year and one of the “Fifteen Books to Watch for” by The New York Times. Nguyen has been awarded fellowships from Lambda Literary, Voices of Our Nation Arts and the Tin House Writers Workshop. He is the editor in chief of diaCRITICS.org.
On Friday, April 8, 1998 graduate and poet Morri Creech will give a reading at 7 p.m. in Stokes Auditorium in Hardtner Hall. Creech is the author of four collections of poetry, “Paper Cathedrals” (2001), “Field Knowledge” (2006), “The Sleep of Reason” (2013), a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, and “Blue Rooms” (2018). Creech, who is currently the writer-in-residence at Queens University in North Carolina, has won several awards for his poetry, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Modern Poetry Foundation.
1996 graduate and author Adam Johnson will finish the series with a reading on Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m. in Stokes Auditorium. His novel, “The Orphan Master’s Son” (2012), was the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the California Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His novel, “Fortune Smiles” (2015), was the winner of the National Book Award and the Story Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Johnson’s other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Stegner Fellowship. Currently, Johnson is the Phil and Penny Knight Professor in Creative Writing at Stanford University in California.
Persons needing accommodations as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the ADA Coordinator at 337-475-5428, voice; 337-475-5960, fax; 337-562-4227, TDD/TTY, hearing impaired; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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