Award-winning author to present at Visiting Writers Series

By Christina Ausley | Staff Reporter 

As part of The University of Alabama’s Visiting Writers Series, author Sarah Manguso will take the mic for an evening of novel inspiration. 

From autobiographies, investigations of friendship and suicide, a personal memoir, an assembly of short stories and an assortment of poems, Manguso has offered up a taste of just about everything in her work. She has appeared in multiple editions of the Best American Poetry series, and is recognized on an international level. 

“Manguso has won a Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize for her work, and has taught writing at a number of schools, including Princeton, NYU and Columbia,” said Kevin Waltman, assistant director of the undergraduate creative writing program. “It's that combination, her acclaimed writing and her experience teaching, that makes her a perfect fit for our Visiting Writers Series.”

The Visiting Writers Series has been a longtime cornerstone of the English department, welcoming a variety of visiting writers of both national and international reputation. The series similarly supports up-and-coming authors and a diverse educational opportunity for all student writers. 

“The Visiting Writers Series has been a part of the English Department for as long as anyone can remember,” Waltman said. “But this time, we’ve chosen Manguso because, first of all, she’s a superb and accomplished writer, but also because we thought she would generate interest for graduate and undergraduate students alike.”

The main event will include a reading and book signing on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. While in Tuscaloosa, Manguso will also visit a variety of creative writing classrooms, and will attend a conference with graduate students in creative writing. 

“The reading itself is always the highlight, but I'm also looking forward to her perspectives on writing that she'll discuss with our students,” Waltman said. 

Manguso is looking forward to her time on campus alongside like-minded and aspiring student writers.  

“I'm looking forward to spending time in a community of people who are interested in reading and writing,” Manguso said. “I hope, as I do whenever I travel, to learn from them something I couldn't otherwise learn.”

Additionally, Manguso’s hopes to inspire emerging writers seeking motivation and purpose within their work.

“I write to answer the question ‘how can I continue?’” Manguso said. “Which keeps emerging in various milieus – in youth, in love, in illness, in grief, in parenthood, in failure, in getting old.”

This semester, the Visiting Writers Series will also feature poets Kaveh Akbar and Safiya Sinclair on Feb 12. Former Alabama MFAs Jenny Gropp and Lili Loofbourow will offer a dual visit and reading on Feb. 27 and Matt Bell will round out the series with a reading on April 3. 

For more information on visiting writers, visit https://english.ua.edu/grad/cw/visitors

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