Past Melanie Brown Lecturers
Margot Livesey grew up in a boys' private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught, and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of York in England she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published by Penguin Canada in 1986. Since then Margot has published seven novels: Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona and The House on Fortune Street, and The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Her eighth novel, Mercury, was published in September 2016 by HarperCollins.
Margot has taught at Boston University, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon, Cleveland State, Emerson College, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Tufts University, the University of California at Irvine, the Warren Wilson College MFA program for writers, and Williams College. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the N.E.A., the Massachusetts Artists' Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. Margot is currently teaching at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives with her husband, a painter, in Cambridge, MA, and goes back to London and Scotland whenever she can.
In the words of Michael Cunningham, "Amy Bloom is a national treasure." She is the author of three novels—Lucky Us, Away, and Love Invents Us—and three collections of short stories. Colum McCann writes that Lucky Us "is a poignant book that manages to be funny, an unflinching portrait that manages to be tender, a tough story that manages to also have jazz and grace." And the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that "Bloom’s book beautifully explores the myriad ways in which we define and create the American family, and ultimately how we carve our path when life keeps throwing obstacles in our way." Oprah chose Lucky Us as one of her top 10 books of 2014.
Bloom’s New York Times bestselling novel Away was called a "literary triumph" by the Times, while The Washington Post declared it, "desperate and impassioned, erotic and moving—absolutely hypnotic." Her first novel, Love Invents Us, was called "an unsettling tale of desire." Bloom’s short fiction includes Where the God Of Love Hangs Out, also a New York Times bestseller; Come to Me, a National Book Award finalist; and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her first nonfiction book was Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops and Hermaphrodites with Attitudes, now a staple of university sociology and biology courses. Bloom also has a children’s book, Little Sweet Potato, about appreciating one’s self and finding a community that takes all kinds. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages.
Karen E. Bender
Karen E. Bender is the author of the story collection Refund (Counterpoint Press) and the novels Like Normal People (Houghton Mifflin) and A Town of Empty Rooms (Counterpoint Press). Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Ploughshares, Narrative, Zoetrope, Guernica, The Harvard Review, and others, and have been reprinted in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South, and won two Pushcart prizes. Her stories have been read on the Selected Shorts program on NPR and she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rona Jaffe foundation. Her nonfiction has appeared in theatlantic.com, Real Simple, the New York Times Book Review, and O magazine. She is also co-editor of the anthology Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood and Abortion (Macadam Cage). She has taught creative writing for the low residency programs at Chatham University and Antioch University Los Angeles, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Tunghai University in Taiwan.
Alix Ohlin is the author of four books, most recently SIGNS AND WONDERS and INSIDE, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named a best book of the year by iTunes.ca, Amazon.ca, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has appeared in Best New American Voices, Best American Short Stories, and Best Am5erican Nonrequired Reading. She lives in Easton, PA and teaches at Lafayette College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.
Wiley Cash is the author of A Land More Kind Than Home (William Morrow/HarperCollins), which debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list in May 2012. The novel also made best fiction of the year lists for the New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal. His second novel, Stealing Home, will be released in the fall of 2013. Wiley's short fiction and essays have appeared in Carolina Quarterly, American Literary Realism, and other publications. He holds a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and he currently teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife live in West Virginia, where he is at work on a third novel.
Lan Samantha Chang
Lan Samantha Chang is the author of two novels, All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost and Inheritance, and a story collection, Hunger. Hunger was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Award and the winner of the Southern Review Fiction Prize. Inheritance won the PEN/Beyond Margins Prize for the Novel. Samantha is the recipient of a Bunting Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Award, an NEA Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has taught fiction writing at Stanford University, Harvard University, and the MFA Program for Writing at Warren Wilson College. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is professor of creative writing at the University of Iowa and Director of the Iowa Writers's Workshop.
Stewart O'Nan Reading
Stewart O'Nan was born and raised and lives in Pittsburgh. Every winter when he was a kid, he sledded at Chatham. His dozen novels include three set in Western Pennsylvania: Snow Angels, in Butler; Everyday People, in East Liberty; and Emily, Alone, in Highland Park.