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Antonya Nelson

May 3, 2012

Students will have a unique opportunity this fall to work with nationally recognized creative writer Antonya Nelson. She is the third recipient of the Mary Rogers Field Distinguished University Professor of Creative Writing.

Peter Graham, associate professor of English and associate chair of the department, says that Nelson, who has a national reputation, will be a valuable addition to the faculty. “We are extremely fortunate that she’ll join us in the fall. She’s not only a great writer, but also a great writing teacher,” he says.

Nelson, a short story writer, novelist and creative writing professor, is author of four short story collections and four novels, including her most recent book, Bound (2010). Nelson's work has appeared in magazines, including The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s Magazine and Redbook among others, and has been anthologized in the O. Henry Prize Stories and The Best American Short Stories.

Nelson teaches creative writing at the University of Houston and has taught courses in the Master of Fine Arts Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Isabella A. Capasso ’14 is enrolled in Nelson's class this fall and is excited about the opportunity to work closely with her. “I hope to learn how to better control my writing, how to edit and revise effectively, and how to make my writing achieve what I intend it to.”

In addition to teaching a course for 15-20 students, Nelson will give a public reading and craft talk, attend dinners and lunches, and visit other classes. Many professors in the English department will teach Nelson’s books. So, she will visit those classes and talk with students who are reading her work.

“She’ll be integrated right into the community, and this will be a huge benefit not only to students but also to faculty and staff members,” Graham explains.

During a craft talk, a writer shares how a piece of writing works. “Students and faculty members can learn how to structure stories better, improve characterization, or layer their work with more metaphors. For those of us who want to aspire to the success that Nelson’s had, this is a great opportunity,” Graham says.

It was the James and Marilou Kelly Writers Series that first brought Nelson to campus last year. “We are so fortunate to have the Kelly Writers Series,” Graham says. “All three Mary Rogers Field Distinguished Visiting Professors have been to campus as guests of the series. Antonya’s first visit enabled us to get to know her. She likes the DePauw environment. We are very happy to be able to invite her back.”

Poet Crystal Williams was a visiting professor in spring 2010, and author Ian Frazier was on campus this spring.

For more information, visit the English Department website.

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