By Jordan Beach
Reinhardt University’s MFA Summer Reading Series, bringing acclaimed authors to the picturesque campus, is merely days away. The public is invited to attend any or all of the readings held June 20-29. Here is a look at the first few days of the Summer Reading Series.
John Williams, June 20, 7-8:30 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center
Recently retired from LaGrange College, John Williams is an author and playwright. He published his novel, “Lake Moon,” in 2003 by Mercer University Press. The novel delves into self-realization and self-destruction through the story of a band and its young members who are looking for recognition and fulfillment. “Lake Moon” is set in the 1960s and shows how its characters struggle with self-doubt, naivete and addiction while they pursue music.
Williams most recently started a blog called “Word from Elsewhere,” combining his innermost contemplation about the world through his perspective, with the accompaniment of his own photography.
Anne Corbitt, June 20, 7-8:30 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center
Anne Corbitt, MFA Fiction graduate from the University of Mississippi, is the author of “Rules for Lying.” The story follows a police investigation in Atlanta against a boy named Kevin, and it causes the characters of this novel to question their memories, actions and allegiances, yet they all have something to hide.
Corbitt’s work has also appeared in “One Story,” “The Greensboro Review,” “Fifth Wednesday” and “Fourth River,” among others. She teaches writing courses at Kennesaw State University.
Ray Atkins, June 20, 7-8:30 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center
Ray Atkins of Rome, Georgia is an English instructor at Georgia Northwestern Technical College who lives on the banks of the Etowah River. Atkins has published five books, including his most recent and his first creative non-fiction book entitled “South of the Etowah,” released in 2016. Atkins has earned a number of honors for his works, including Georgia Author of the Year for “The Front Porch Prophet” in 2008 and the Sam Award for Fiction, along with the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year for Fiction for “Camp Redemption.” “Sweetwater Blues,” his fourth novel, was a Townsend Prize nominee.
Robert Olmstead, June 21, 7-8:30 p.m., Falany Performing Arts Center
Robert Olmstead has published eight novels, the most recent being the trilogy of Henry Childs, including “Coal Black Horse,” “Far Bright Star” and “The Coldest Night,” which Casey Affleck have optioned for a film. “Far Bright Star,” a novel that Booklist declared as one of the top 10 westerns of the decade, will be directed by Affleck and star Joaquin Phoenix.
Olmstead has earned many accolades over the course of his writing career, including two Ohioana Book Awards, Amazon Top 100, Kirkus Top 25, Publisher’s Weekly Top 100, a Spur Award for Best Novel from the Western Writers of America, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction, a No. 1 Pick from Booksense, Senior Arts Fellowships from Ohio and Pennsylvania, Idaho Press Club Award and Black Warrior Review Fiction Award.
Denise Duhamel, June 21, 7-8:30 p.m., Falany Performing Arts Center
Denise Duhamel, professor at Florida International University in Miami, published her most recent poetry book in 2017, entitled “Scald.” The poems of this book engage feminism by committing and battling with different principles and beliefs. Her other publications include “Blowout,” a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, “Ka-Ching!,” “Two and Two,” “Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Duhamel’s work is anthologized in several literary magazines, including “Ploughshares,” “New Ohio Review” and “The Great American Poet.”
Earl Braggs, June 22, 7-8:30 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center
Earl Sherman Braggs is a professor of English at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and is the author of nine poetry collections, including “Hat Dancer Blue,” winner of the Anhinga Poetry Prize, “Younger Than Neil” and “In Which Language Do I Keep Silent: New and Selected.” Braggs has won the Jack Kerouac International Literary Prize and the Goucester County Poetry Prize. He was a finalist in the James Jones First Novel Contest. He also was the recipient of the Anhinga Prize and was unable to accept the Cleveland State Poetry Prize for the same manuscript.
Braggs’ latest poetry collections include “Syntactical Arrangements of a Twisted Wind” and “Oliver’s Breakfast in America” (a book-length poetry novella).
Megan Sexton, June 23, 7-8:30 p.m., Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center
Megan Sexton teaches English at Georgia State University and is co-editor of “Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Art.” Her published collection of poems, “Swift Hour,” received the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry. Her writing, poetry and nonfiction, has been published in “Poetry,” “Ploughshares,” “The Iowa Review,” “The Southern Review,” “The Literary Review,” “Poetry Daily” and elsewhere. The author has received a fellowship from Hambridge Center and has also been nominated for the PEN/Newman First Amendment Award.