NWU Visiting Writers Series Presents William Henry Lewis
Thursday, April 3, William Henry Lewis will be visiting te Nebraska Wesleyan campus for a Q&A with students & a reading that evening. Lewis is the author of two collections of short stories, I Got A Man in Staunton (Harper Collins, 2005) & In the Arms of Our Elders (Carolina Wren, 1995). I Got a Man in Staunton was a finalist for the PEN Faulkner Prize for Fiction, was a Fiction Honor Book for 2005 by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and included in Kirkus Reviews listing for Best Books of 2005. He is currently teaching in the MFA program at University of Maryland.
Some responses to Lewis' work:
"There is greatness here, all over the place, plain and simple. Sentence by sentence, this deeply felt and lyrical collection proves that Lewis is a master of the short story. I Got Somebody in Staunton has more warmth than almost any recent book I can remember; I'd urge it on anyone."
"The art of the short story is closest to poetry...you start in the middle and end before its over. You entice the reader with your warmth and keep her with your intelligence. The art of the short story is seduction. And how lovely it is to visit ever so briefly with William Henry Lewis. I Got Somebody in Staunton just cries out for a rainy day where you can cuddle this loving vision of urban life while being excited by this new and amazing voice."
"Lewis is not a trendy hip-hop stylist or a viciously satirical postmodernist with a knack for making fun of America's racial obsession. He is a quieter sort of writer who reminds us that beneath the hype are ordinary people?"
--Washington Post Book World
Lewis beautifully renders the odd quiet moments before and after life?s explosive events. Lewis creates unique characters?individuals defined by much more than their race, whose complexity leads to surprising destinations.
William Henry Lewis was born in Denver, and grew up in many cities, most significantly Chattanooga. His writing has appeared in America's top literary journals and several anthologies, home and abroad, including Best American Short Stories of 1996. His first book, In the Arms of Our Elders, was published by Carolina Wren Press in 1995 and has since seen three printings. His second collection of stories, I Got Somebody in Staunton,(Amistad/HarperCollins April, 2005), was honored as a finalist for the PEN Faulkner Prize for Fiction, and has been named as a Fiction Honor Book for 2005 by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and included in Kirkus Reviews listing for Best Books of 2005. Staunton was also selected as the city of Richmond?s GoRead book for 2006. Lewis has been honored with a grant from the Virginia Commission of the Arts, and awards from the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, The Black Cacus of the American Library Association, and the University of Virginia. Most recently, Lewis has been awarded a 2008 Creative Writing Fellowship in prose fiction by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has taught at the University of Virginia, Denison University, Mary Washington College, Trinity College, the College of the Bahamas, and Colgate University. Lewis teaches in the Masters of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland, College Park.