Reading series announces spring lineup of authors

Lacy M. Johnson
Carlin Romano
Debra Di Blasi
Matt Bell
Michael Joyce

The Spring 2018 University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Reading Series will present a group of five writers, starting with an author who uses her personal story of surviving domestic violence to confront a national epidemic.  

Jeffrey Di Leo

“The American Book Review is honored to bring these talented individuals to UHV and the community,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences, and ABR editor and publisher. “Each of these people bring an exciting, individual perspective on specific topics or the world as a whole. I look forward to hearing each of their presentations.”

The visiting authors will read selections from their work followed by a question-and answer session. Most of the readings will begin at noon in the Alcorn Auditorium inside UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Matt Bell’s reading will begin at 7 p.m. in the UHV Center for the Arts, 204 N. Main St. All of the events are free and open to the public.

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

Lacy M. Johnson, Jan. 25 – Johnson is a Houston-based artist, curator, professor, activist and author of the memoir “The Other Side.” Known for its frank and fearless confrontation of the epidemic of violence against women, the memoir was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. She also is the author of “Trespasses: A Memoir.” Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Tin House, Creative Nonfiction and many other publications. She teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University and Sierra Nevada College. Johnson’s presentation was rescheduled from the fall after it was delayed by Hurricane Harvey.

Carlin Romano, March 1 – Romano is a professor of philosophy and humanities at Ursinus College. He is best known for his book, “America the Philosophical,” a 672-page overview of the United States as a philosophical culture. The New York Times Book Review, in a front-page review, called it “ambitious … convincing … an encyclopedic survey of the life of the mind in the United States.” Romano joined the Ursinus faculty in 2010 after a long career in both literary journalism and philosophy. As a journalist, Romano served as book editor and then book critic of The Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years, and he is the editor of, and a contributor to, Philadelphia Noir, a volume of 15 original short stories in the acclaimed Akashic Noir series. He is writing a book about the force and influence of Asian philosophies in the 21st-century globalized world. 

Debra Di Blasi, March 22 – Di Blasi is the author of six books, including “Prayers of an Accidental Nature,” “The Jiri Chronicles” and “Drought & Say What You Like,” which won the Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award. She recently completed a flash fiction collection and a hybrid memoir that was a finalist in Four Way Books’ Larry Levis Poetry Prize and a semifinalist in Seneca Review’s Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Award. Her writing has appeared in The Iowa Review, Triquarterly, Notre Dame Review, Pleiades, The Collagist, New South, Kestrel, Wigleaf, The Los Angeles Review, Chelsea, Boulevard and Virga, among others, and in notable anthologies of innovative writing. She is a former publisher, educator and art columnist.

Matt Bell, April 12 – Bell is the author of the novels “Scrapper” and “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods,” as well as the short story collection “A Tree or a Person or a Wall,” a nonfiction book about the classic video game “Baldur’s Gate II,” and several other titles. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, Conjunctions, Fairy Tale Review, American Short Fiction and many other publications. A native of Michigan, he teaches in the creative writing program at Arizona State University.

Michael Joyce, May 3 – Joyce’s 13 books include seven novels, most recently “Foucault, in Winter, in the Linnaeus Garden,” a collection of poetry titled “A Hagiography of Heaven and Vicinity,” two book-length poetic sequences titled “Biennial” and “Paris Views,” a mixed collection of media essays and short fiction from SUNY, and two influential collections of essays about digital media from the University of Michigan Press. Some of his hypertext fictions include “On the Birthday of the Stranger” in the inaugural edition of Evergreen Review online, as well as “Twilight, A Symphony” and “Twelve Blue.”  His first print novel, “The War Outside Ireland,” won the Great Lakes New Writers Award.

ABR is a nonprofit, internationally distributed literary journal published six times a year. It began in 1977, moved to UHV in 2006 and has a circulation of about 10d,000. The journal specializes in reviews of works published by small presses.

Authors will be available after each reading to sign copies of their books. Each author also will meet with students and attend a community reception.

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.