UHV announces lineup for American Book Review Fall Reading Series

Steve Tomasula Paisley Rekdal Mat Johnson Norma Cantú Jake Adam York


The University of Houston-Victoria is celebrating the seventh year of its American Book Review Fall Reading Series with five diverse authors who have written novels, poetry, essays, nonfiction novellas and even comic books.

The authors chosen for the upcoming season will focus on themes such as racism, culture and contemporary issues.

“Each year, we try to choose authors who experiment and push the literary boundaries,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor/publisher and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Science. “To date, our nationally recognized reading series has brought more than 50 writers to the UHV and Victoria communities. We’ve once again pulled together a diverse group of authors excited to share their works of art with UHV students, faculty, staff and the community.”

The first guest in the series is Steve Tomasula, who will come Sept. 13 to UHV. He is the author of the novels “The Book of Portraiture,” “IN & OZ,” “VAS: An Opera in Flatland” and “TOC: A New Media Novel.” Known for pushing the envelope with his various styles, Tomasula’s writing has been called a ‘reinvention of the novel,’ crossing visual as well as written genres. He often incorporates narrative forms like comic books, travelogues, journalism or code to Hong Kong action movies or science reports.

Tomasula is an associate professor at the University of Notre Dame. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work as well as a fellowship from the prestigious Howard Foundation.

Other writers for the UHV/ABR Fall Reading Series will be:

Paisley Rekdal, Sept. 27 – Rekdal is an award-winning author of poetry and essays who often explores the topic of biracialism. She has written four books of poetry, “Animal Eye,” “The Invention of the Kaleidoscope,” “Six Girls Without Pants” and “A Crash of Rhinos,” and two collections of essays, “Intimate: A Hybrid Memoir” and “The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee.” Rekdal is an associate professor of English at the University of Utah. She has won numerous awards, including the Amy Lowell Travelling Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship and many more.

Mat Johnson, Oct. 10 – Johnson is author of the novels “Pym,” “Drop” and “Hunting in Harlem,” the nonfiction novella “The Great Negro Plot” and the comic books “Incognegro” and “Dark Rain.” He frequently writes about race and culture issues. Johnson is an assistant professor for the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. He is a recipient of the U.S. Artist James Baldwin Fellowship, Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and John Dos Passos Prize for Literature.

Norma Cantú, Nov. 8 – Cantú publishes pieces about a number of academic subjects as well as poetry and fiction. She specializes in Latina and Latino literatures, Chicana and Chicano literatures, border studies, folklore, women’s studies and creative writing. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, Cantú’s “Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera” chronicles her childhood experiences on the border. Cantú is a professor of English and U.S. Hispanic literature at the University of Texas-San Antonio. She has co-edited four books and edited a collection of testimonials by Chicana scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

Jake Adam York, Nov. 29 – York is the author of three books of poems: “Murder Ballads,” winner of the 2005 Elixir Press Prize in Poetry; “A Murmuration of Starlings,” winner of the 2009 Colorado Book Award in Poetry; and “Persons Unknown. ”York is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at the University of Colorado Denver, where he co-edits “Copper Nickel,” a journal of art and literature. He was a 2011-2012 Visiting Faculty Fellow at Emory University’s James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference, where he worked on a study about the civil rights movement in sculpture, painting, music and literature.

The UHV/ABR Fall Reading Series will provide the community with unprecedented access to writers, editors, critics and academic experts in an intimate environment, said Jeffrey Sartain, ABR managing editor and lecturer for the UHV School of Arts & Science.

“Victoria has a great arts community with residents who are supportive of the ABR Reading Series and understand the value it brings to the area,” Sartain said. “We are glad to share these nationally recognized authors with Victoria.”

The free, on-campus talks will begin at noon in the Alcorn Auditorium of UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The public is invited to attend, and light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited.

Authors will be available after each reading to sign copies of their books, which can be purchased at the events.

ABR is a nonprofit, internationally distributed literary journal that is published six times a year. It began in 1977, moved to UHV in 2007 and 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 Sartain at 361-570-4254 or go to

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.

Katy Walterscheidt 361-570-4342