UHV/American Book Review releases spring 2017 author lineup

James L. Magnuson
Vivian Gornick
T. Geronimo Johnson
Martha R. Serpas
Duane Niatum

The spring 2017 University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Reading Series will feature authors who specialize in storytelling, poetry and essays and are involved in projects ranging from Harlem street theater to a coastal erosion documentary.

Jeffrey Di Leo

“Not only are the spring authors distinguished writers, but they also have great stories to tell about their life experiences,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor and publisher, and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “These writers will expose UHV students and the community to a variety of writing genres and styles. This should be another thoroughly entertaining series.”

Visiting authors will read selections from their novels, essays, poems and stories in the Alcorn Auditorium inside UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The auditorium has hosted 94 writers to date from across the U.S. The readings will begin at noon and are free and open to the public.

Jeffrey Sartain, ABR managing editor and a UHV assistant professor of English, said the visiting writers will demonstrate what it means to be an author in American contemporary literature.

Jeffrey Sartain

“Contemporary literature is an incredibly rich field of study, and these five authors are good examples of how wide-ranging and interesting American literature can be,” he said.

Authors scheduled for the UHV/ABR Spring Reading Series are:

James L. Magnuson, Jan. 26 – Magnuson has served as director of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin for the past 22 years. He is the author of nine novels, most recently “Famous Writers I Have Known” and “Windfall,” as well as a screenwriter and playwright. The first play he ever produced, “No Snakes In This Grass,” was performed in street theaters of Harlem in the 1960s and recently was revived at the Lincoln Center. He has been a Playwright in Residence at Princeton University and has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for his fiction writing.

Vivian Gornick, Feb. 16 – Gornick is an essayist and memoirist whose books include the memoirs “Fierce Attachments” and “The Odd Woman and The City,” and the essay collections “The End of the Novel of Love” and “Approaching Eye Level.” She lives in New York, a city to which she said she is joined at the hip.

T. Geronimo Johnson, March 9 – Born and raised in New Orleans, Johnson is the best-selling author of “Welcome to Braggsville” and “Hold It ’Til It Hurts,” which was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. He has taught writing at Arizona State University, University of Iowa, University of California Berkeley, Western Michigan University and Stanford University, and was selected for a Stegner Fellowship and an Iowa Arts Fellowship. He lives in Berkeley, Calif.

Martha R. Serpas, April 6 – Serpas has published three collections of poetry, “Côte Blanche,” “The Dirty Side of the Storm” and “The Diener.” Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Image and Southwest Review and has been anthologized in the “Library of America’s American Religious Poems” and “The Art of the Sonnet.” Active in efforts to restore Louisiana’s wetlands, she co-produced “Veins in the Gulf,” a documentary about coastal erosion. She teaches at the University of Houston and serves as a hospital trauma chaplain.

Duane Niatum, April 27 – Niatum, a member of the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, has been writing poems, stories and essays for more than 50 years. He is published widely in the U.S. and abroad. Niatum has published eight books of poems, including “The Pull of the Green Kite.” Duane’s writing is connected with the Northwest landscape. The legends and traditions of his ancestors help shape and animate his poetry. He has made a lifelong study of European and American Indian art, literature and culture.

The fall reading series will conclude Thursday with a presentation by Monica Drake, an associate professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland and author of the novels, “Clown Girl” and “The Stud Book.”

ABR is a nonprofit, internationally distributed literary journal 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 the ABR office at 361-570-4101 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.

Jeremy Shapiro