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Get to know Reinhardt’s creative writing guest authors

By Jordan Beach 

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Top row, left to right: Mary Anna Bryan, Gray Stewart, George Singleton, Dr. Eustace Palmer.
Bottom row, left to right: Craig Amason, Valerie Boyd, Rob Merritt.

The MFA Summer Reading Series is underway at Reinhardt University with Robert Olmstead, Denise Duhamel, Earl Braggs and Megan Sexton participating in readings this weekend. See related story here.  

All Summer Reading Series events are free and open to the public. 

Beginning Monday, the Summer Reading Series will bring seven additional authors to showcase their works.  

Mary Anna Bryan, June 24, 7-8:30 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center 

Mary Anna Bryan is a mother to four children and a former high school English teacher. She graduated from Agnes Scott College, completing graduate work at the University of Georgia, and currently resides in Lawrenceville. Bryan has enjoyed writing since a young age, often writing stories as a child and writing short stories throughout her career. Since retiring, she wrote and published her novel, “Cardinal Hill,” in which Bryan said is set in “an era marked by patriotism, loyalty, and personal honor—values I believe worth remembering.” 

Gray Stewart, June 25, 7:30-9 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center 

Gray Stewart’s debut novel, “Haylow,” earned him the 53rd Annual Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2017. The story gives a snapshot of this history of the South, following Travis Hemperly and the discoveries he makes of his family’s past, along with his own challenges being a minority for the first time at his new job at a historically black college in Atlanta. The fiction novel explores the environs of Atlanta during the 20th century to show the ways the South has changed yet also stayed the same.  

Stewart studied Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University. From 2000-2010, Stewart taught a fiction workshop at Morehouse College. 

Valerie Boyd, June 25, 7:30-9 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center  

“Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston” is a critically acclaimed biography written by Boyd. The book, which discusses the life of the “Their Eyes Were Watching God” author, has won the Southern Book Award and the American Library Association’s Notable Book Award. She is currently putting together a collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker’s personal journals, which will be published as “Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker in 2018.” 

Boyd is a professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Georgia, where she is the founder and director of their new low-residency MFA Program in Narrative Nonfiction. She has worked as the arts editor at “The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,” and written articles for “The Washington Post,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “Creative Nonfiction,” “The Oxford American,” “Paste,” “Ms. Essence” and “Atlanta Magazine.” 

Craig Amason, June 27, 7-9 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center 

Craig Amason is director of the Lillian E. Smith Center at Piedmont College, a center that serves as an educational center and artist retreat at the historic home of the Georgia author in Clayton. Amason also holds the title of college archivist for Piedmont, and was previously director at Andalusia for 13 years before starting with Piedmont in 2014. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in History from Georgia College in Milledgeville. Amason earned his Master of Librarianship from Emory University. 

Dr. Eustace Palmer, June 27, 7-9 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center 

Dr. Eustace Palmer has authored four novels, including “A Hanging is Announced,” “Canfira’s Travels,” “A Tale of Three Women” and “A Pillar of the Community.” His critical works include more than sixty published articles. In 2010, he was regarded by “The Patriotic Vanguard” as “one of Africa’s intellectual heavyweights and academic giants.” His many accolades include the African Literature Association’s Distinguished Member Award and Georgia College & State University’s Distinguished Professor Award. Palmer currently teaches at GCSU. 

Rob Merritt, June 28, 7-9 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center 

Rob Merritt is professor and Chair of the Bluefield College English department in Virginia. He attended UNC Chapel Hill for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and his Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky. He has also taught American poetry and poetry writing at Jiangsu Second Normal University in Nanjing, China. 

Merritt has articles published on Pound, Joyce and Yeats and has published the critical book, “Early Music and the Aesthetics of Ezra Pound.” He has also published “View from Blue-Jade Mountain,” “The Language of Longing” and “Landscape Architects.” His poetry has appeared in many journals and collections, and he is a member of the National Association for Poetry Therapy. Merritt has served as a fiction judge for the annual Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition since 2012. 

George Singleton, June 29, 4-7 p.m., Reinhardt University Theater

George Singleton is the published author of seven collections of stories, two novels and a writing advice book. He has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow. Additionally, Singleton won the Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2010 and inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2014. He is also a member of the SC Academy of Authors. Singleton is currently the John C. Cobb Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Wofford College. 

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