Chatham News

Author, Alix Ohlin, Visits Chatham As 2014 Melanie Brown Lecturer

PITTSBURGH – On Thursday, September 25, at 8 p.m. in the Mellon Board Room on Chatham University’s Shadyside Campus, the Chatham University MFA in Creative Writing program welcomes Alix Ohlin as the Melanie Brown Lecturer. Melanie and Fred R. Brown established the Melanie Brown Lecturer at Chatham in 2008 to support a two-day campus visit by an established author whose fiction writing is guided by a strong sense of place.

The event is free and open to the public. Contact Erin Hutton at for more information.

Alix Ohlin, 2014 Melanie Brown Lecturer
Alix Ohlin, 2014 Melanie Brown Lecturer

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,, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has appeared in Best New American Voices, Best American Short Stories, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She lives in Easton, PA and teaches at Lafayette College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

Praise for Alix Ohlin:

“Ohlin’s combination of smooth prose, thematic reach and structural ambition makes for a novel that is both easily accessible and demanding in the best of ways… What’s true of all good fiction applies even more emphatically here: Inside, though fully satisfying the first time through, all but demands a second reading. It’s something most readers will be more than happy to do.” — Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette, on “Inside”

“A short-story collection rich in piercing insights and slow-burning emotional truths…it shines with true-to-life situations and gorgeous writing.” — Newcity, on “Signs and Wonders”

“With language intensely evocative and keenly focused on the nuances that define each of us as individuals, Ohlin delves into the lives of her characters—even in her shortest pieces—and reveals a depth to them, a poignancy, that is deeply affecting.” — Victoria Brownworth, The Baltimore Sun, on “Babylon and Other Stories”

About The Melanie Brown Lecture and Melanie and Fred Brown:
Melanie and Fred R. Brown are life-long residents of western Pennsylvania. Avid readers, the Browns began collecting contemporary American and international literary fiction and mysteries in the early 1980s. In February 2010 they generously donated the collection to Chatham University. The Melanie and Fred R. Brown Special Collection of Literary Fiction is permanently housed in the Jennie King Mellon Library, the primary research, study, and resource center for the Chatham community. The donation of their treasured book collection only enhanced the Browns’ relationship with Chatham, which began with the establishment of the Melanie Brown Lecturer in 2008. Each year the endowed fund supports a two-day campus visit by an established author whose fiction writing is guided by a strong sense of place.

About Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing Program
Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing program consists of both an on-the-ground full-residency program and a low-residency, online program with concentrations in travel writing, teaching, publishing, or nature writing in addition to a primary genre focus (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children’s writing).  The program offers innovative field seminars that include travel to such places as Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, and Germany. The Words Without Walls program, in which MFA students go into the Allegheny County Jail to teach inmates creative writing, is one of several social outreach programs developed and run by Chatham MFA students that offer transformative experiences for both students and an underserved population. In 2007 Poets & Writers named the MFA one of “Nine Distinctive Programs” and The Atlantic Monthly named it one of five innovative/unique programs in the country in its “Best of the Best” graduate program listings. In 2009, The Writer named it one of ten programs that offer a specialty focus. For more information, visit