The first Poetry & Prose reading of the year on September 12 will feature UH Creative Writing Program Faculty ZZ Packer and Alex Parsons and UH CW program alumnus Keith Jardim.
The reading is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. We look forward to seeing you there!
ZZ Packer, a new visiting member of the Creative Writing Faculty at the University of Houston, was born in Chicago, Illinois and was raised in Atlanta and Louisville. She attended Yale and the Writing Seminar at Johns Hopkins, The Writers’ Workshop at Iowa University, and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Her first collection of short stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was published to critical acclaim in 2003 and was a PEN/Faulkner finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. Her fiction writing has also been published in Harper’s, The Best American Short Stories 2000 & 2004, and Ploughshares, and her non-fiction has been featured in publications including The New York Times Magazine, Essence, O, The Believer, and Salon. In 2008, she was awarded the Guggenheim Prize for Fiction. She was named one of America’s Young Innovators by Smithsonian Magazine and one of America’s Best Young Novelists by Granta. Recently, she was featured in the The New Yorker’s ‘20 Under 40’ Fiction Issue and has taught at UT Austin and Texas State. Her upcoming novel explores the Reconstruction period following the Civil War and the lives of the Buffalo Soldiers.
Alex Parsons, a member of the UH Creative Writing Faculty, was chosen as one of the winners of the 2010 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. Parsons grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and earned his BA at Wesleyan University, an MFA at The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and an MA from New Mexico State University. He previously taught in the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire, where he was awarded an O'Neal Professorship for Excellence in Teaching. Parsons was formerly an editor and freelance writer in New York, Washington D.C., and South America. He is the author of Leaving Disneyland, which won the A.W.P. Series Award for the Novel, the Writers’ League of Texas Violet Crown Award and was a finalist for the PEN West Award. His second novel, Shadows of the Sun was selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers book. He worked with Paramount Pictures as a Chesterfield Writing Fellow, where he wrote several screenplays, and has also taught at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference as the John Gardner Fellow. He has received various recognitions for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, the Sherwood Anderson Prize, and a Texas Fellowship in Literature. He recently completed his third novel, El Repoman.
Keith Jardim is a PhD alumnus of the UH Creative Writing and Literature program. He was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, where his parents moved to from Guyana, South America – a region of the northern Amazon he has visited frequently, often in search of the elusive black jaguar. At UH, Jardim was a Cambor Fellow in Creative Writing and a Teaching Fellow. During his time in Houston he also taught writing workshops at Rice School of Continuing Studies and for the Inprint Literary Arts Organization. He has a BFA and MFA in literature and writing from Emerson College in Boston. Jardim’s fiction and essays on Caribbean, American, and Commonwealth literature have been published in Kyk-Over-Al, Mississippi Review, Wasafiri, Denver Quarterly, Atlanta Review, Caribbean Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, Journal of Caribbean Literatures, Short Story, and others. Jardim is currently assistant professor of English literature and creative writing at Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait. His first book, Near Open Water, a collection of Caribbean-set stories, was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2011 and short-listed for the fiction category of the OCM Bocas Caribbean Literary Prize, the most prestigious literary award in the Caribbean. He is at work on a novel and another collection of stories, Ghost of the Jaguar Sun.