Pushcart Prize-winning author begins UHV/American Book Review Fall Reading Series

Kim Herzinger, a Pushcart Prize-winning critic and fiction writer, will kick off the University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Fall Reading Series on Aug. 28 with a talk about the writings of the late Texas author Donald Barthelme.


Kim Herzinger
"He was the greatest writer to ever come out of Texas and one of the most influential fiction writers of the 1960s and 1970s," said Herzinger, who has edited Barthelme's uncollected and unpublished works.


Herzinger's talk, "Donald Barthelme: Finding a Place Where Everything is Different," will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in the Alcorn Auditorium of the UHV University West Building, 3007 N. Ben Wilson. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served following the speech.


Donald Barthelme
Barthelme was raised in Houston and worked as a reporter for The Houston Post. In 1962, he moved to New York City to take up writing full time. His short stories frequently appeared in The New Yorker. Time magazine named his book "City Life" one of the best books of the year in 1970, and Barthelme won a National Book Award in 1972 for his children's book "The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine."


Herzinger said that Barthelme's work pushed the envelope of what people expected in fiction. His stories formed verbal collages and typically avoided traditional plot structures.


"He left Texas to go to New York to find himself as a writer and go someplace no one had ever gone before with their writing," Herzinger said.


Later in life, Barthelme split his time between Manhattan and Houston and helped establish the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, which offers poets, fiction writers and nonfiction writers intensive training in creative writing and literary studies.


"We are honored to have such a talented author as Kim Herzinger at UHV to help explain to us the work of Donald Barthelme and how he has influenced today's fiction writers," ABR Managing Editor Charles Alcorn said.


Herzinger previously was a professor at the University of Southern Mississippis Center for Writers and is now the owner of Left Bank Books, a Manhattan bookstore specializing in rare books and first editions. He won the Pushcart Prize, which honors works published by small presses, in 1991 for his short story "The Day I Met Buddy Holly." He also is the author of the book "D.H. Lawrence in His Time."


He has edited three volumes of Barthelme's previously unpublished and uncollected works: "Flying to America: 45 More Stories," "Not-Knowing: The Essays and Interviews" and "The Teachings of Don B.: Satires, Parodies, Fables, Illustrated Stories, and Plays."


"Kim Herzinger will start our Fall Reading Series off on the right note with his depth and range of knowledge about contemporary literature and Donald Barthelme," said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor/publisher and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. "He is the first of the nationally recognized authors that we are fortunate enough to have coming to Victoria this semester."


Other writers scheduled for the Fall Reading Series are:

  • Rubn Martinez, Sept. 11 Martinez, an Emmy award-winning journalist, is the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is an associate editor for Pacific News Service and a former news editor at LA Weekly. His book "Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail" was published in 2001 and follows a Mexican migrant clan into and across the United States. His essays, opinion pieces and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other national newspapers. As a political commentator, he has appeared on "Nightline," "Frontline," "All Things Considered" and other news programs.
  • Mark Doty, Oct. 21 Doty is the author of eight books of poetry and four volumes of nonfiction prose, including "Dog Years," a New York Times 2007 bestseller. He is the only U.S. poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize in the U.K. Doty has been given fellowships from the Guggenheim and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has won the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction.
  • Antonya Nelson, Nov. 20 Nelson has published five short-story collections and three novels. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper's and in anthologies such as "Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards" and "Best American Short Stories." Nelson was the recipient of the 2003 Rea Award for the Short Story (Lifetime Achievement) as well as National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships. Her books were named New York Times Notable Books for five years, and in 1999, The New Yorker called her one of the "20 young fiction writers for the new millennium."
While in Victoria, the reading series authors will attend roundtable discussions with UHV faculty and students, make classroom visits to area schools, give lectures open to the community, and go to receptions hosted by Friends of ABR patrons. Past speakers have included Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Oshinsky, author and Iranian refugee Farnoosh Moshiri, Mexican American author Dagoberto Gilb and American Book Award recipient Graciela Limon.


"I encourage everyone to come to the Fall Reading Series and meet and listen to these wonderful authors," UHV President Tim Hudson said. "They no doubt will inspire us to pick up a book and learn more about the world around us."


ABR is a nonprofit, internationally distributed literary journal that is published six times a year. It began in 1977, moved to UHV in 2006 and now has a circulation of about 8,000. The journal specializes in reviews of works published by small presses.


For more information about the UHV/ABR Reading Series, call Alcorn at 361-570-4100.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler