UHV/American Book Review Reading Series to showcase faculty

Diana Lopez
Anthony Madrid
Saba Razvi

University of Houston-Victoria faculty members will be the featured authors for the first time in the next UHV/American Book Review Reading Series presentation.

Author Carina Chocano originally was scheduled to speak Thursday but could not attend for health reasons. University administrators hope to have her come at a later date.

Thursday's event will feature works by Diana López, a UHV associate professor of creative writing; Anthony Madrid, an assistant professor of 20th century literature and director of the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program; and Saba Razvi, an assistant professor of English and creative writing. The readings will be from 11 a.m. to noon in the UHV University West Alcorn Auditorium, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The event is free and open to the public.

Jeffrey Di Leo

“I’m thrilled to see UHV faculty members presenting for the first time as part of the UHV/ABR Reading Series,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor and publisher, and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “Diana, Anthony and Saba are top-notch writers whose work needs to be more widely known among our students. I’m sure attendees will be amazed by their presentations. UHV is a great environment for writers, and these faculty members presenting at the event will show that through their readings.”

Lopez visits schools and showcases her popular children’s novels such as “Nothing Up My Sleeve” and “Coco: A Story About Music, Shoes and Family,” an adaptation of Disney’s latest movie. Attendees will hear cross-genre works and not just one type of writing, she said.

Although Lopez typically focuses on fiction novels, she wants to surprise the audience with something different during the event.

“I love writing children’s books, but I do write short story pieces for adults, so I think I’ll present one of them to have a little change of pace,” Lopez said. “It will be something the audience will not expect.”

Lopez has written several books, including “Confetti Girl” and “Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel.” Her latest publication is “Lucky Luna,” a featured title in this year’s Scholastic Book Fairs. The Spanish edition, “Luna Fortuna,” will be released in January.

 “I look forward to presenting because it’s a chance for us to let the students and community know that although we teach writing, we also practice it,” she said. “It’s also a way to celebrate UHV talent with the community.”

Madrid plans to read several of his poems and speak about how to write rhyming poetry. He enjoys addressing the critiques and evaluations of poetry and the mechanisms behind it, and hopes attendees will learn from that.

“When I was a student, I very much wanted to sit in judgement of my professors, and now they can do that at the next UHV/ABR Reading Series,” Madrid said. “I think it’s healthy for students and our community to hear what professors’ personal works sound like, and it adds that personal touch that may be missing during the day-to-day functions of teaching.”

This event also is an opportunity for him to get outside of his daily routine and not lose track of the larger picture of what he does, Madrid said.

“I want students and the community to attend this series and experience visionary aspects of the university to make it something of which they are proud of,” Madrid said. “Having extracurricular events like the reading series is something not many organizations have. I’m proud of that, and I’m excited to present.”

In the past, Razvi has helped host readings of Emily Dickinson’s and William Blake’s poetry in the UHV Meet the Poet Series. The series allowed Razvi to bring poetry into the community in a way that focused on appreciation and exploration of poetry in a broad manner, she said. Razvi writes poetry, criticism and fiction. Some of her published works include “In the Crocodile Gardens” and “Of the Diving and the Dead,” and her research interests comprise a wide range of poetry and fiction. 

Other writers scheduled for the fall UHV/ABR Reading Series are:

Don Lee, Nov. 15 – Lee is the author of the novels “Lonesome Lies Before Us,” “The Collective,” “Wrack and Ruin” and “Country of Origin,” and the story collection “Yellow.” He has received an American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize. He teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at Temple University and splits his time between Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Shelley Jackson, Dec. 7 – Jackson is an American writer and artist known for her cross-genre experiments, including her 1995 hyperfiction, “Patchwork Girl,” which used tissue, scars, the body and the skeleton as metaphors for the juxtaposition of lexia and link. She also is the author of several children’s books and the short story collection “The Melancholy of Anatomy.” In 2003, she launched the “Skin Project,” a novella published exclusively in the form of tattoos on the skin of volunteers, one word at a time. Jackson’s first novel, “Half Life,” was published by HarperCollins in 2006. “Half Life” went on to win the 2006 James Tiptree Jr. Award for science fiction and fantasy.

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 8,000. 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.

Ashley Strevel 361-570-4342