Novelist kicks off spring ABR Reading Series

As a character writer, Jennifer duBois has found herself asking a foundational but profound question when creating a new character: Who is this person?

Jennifer Dubois

“It feels to me that there is a tendency to moralize characters and write a vision of a world we would like to see,” said duBois, who will be the first speaker in the spring University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Reading Series. “We have to be resistant to the thinking that we have everyone’s number.”

duBois, a novelist and assistant professor at Texas State University, will speak at 11 a.m. Jan. 30 in the Alcorn Auditorium inside UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The event is free and open to the public.

“Jennifer duBois has an exquisite way of creating profoundly complex characters in her novels that leave the reader wanting to know more,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor and publisher, and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “I am looking forward to hearing more about her creative process.”

Jeffrey Di Leo

duBois, whose novels have won several awards, including a California Book Award for Fiction and the Housatonic Book Award, said her characters are partially inspired by real people, such as Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess champion, and Amanda Knox, the American woman who was convicted and then acquitted in the murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, while studying abroad in Italy more than 10 years ago.

duBois plans to read a passage from her third novel, “The Spectators,” and spend time talking with the audience during her presentation.

duBois said she hopes those who attend her presentation will walk away with the reminder that writing is a joy and meaningful in its own terms, whether a writer has his work published or not.

“There will be times when people will be critical,” she said. “Remember that no matter what happens, you have a private relationship with your art, and nothing external can ever touch that.”

Other authors scheduled for the spring series are:

Sarah Etter, Feb. 20 – Etter is the author of “Tongue Party.” Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and publications that include The Cut, Electric Literature, VICE, Guernica and Philadelphia Weekly. She is the recipient of writing residencies at the Disquiet International Program in Portugal and the Gullkistan Creative Program in Iceland. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Rosemont College, and she lives in Austin.

Ladan Osman, March 12 – Osman is a Somali-born poet and essayist. She is the author of “Exiles of Eden” and “The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony,” winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize; and the chapbook “Ordinary Heaven,” which appeared in the box set “Seven New Generation African Poets.” She has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, Luminarts Foundation and Michener Center for Writers Fellowship, among numerous other nominations.

Douglas Kearney, April 2 – Kearney is a poet, performer and librettist who has published six books that bridge thematic concerns such as politics, African American culture, masks, the Trickster figure and contemporary music. His most recent work, “Buck Studies,” was awarded the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker Award for Poetry, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award and the silver medal for the California Book Award in Poetry.

Rick Moody, April 30 – Moody is the author of six novels, including “The Ice Storm” and “Hotels of North America;” three story collections, including “Demonology,” and three works of nonfiction. With Darcey Steinke, he co-edited the anthology “Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited.” His most recent work is a memoir, “The Long Accomplishment.” His work has been widely anthologized in “Best American Stories,” “Best American Essays” and The Pushcart Prize, and has been adapted into films, theater works and musical compositions. He teaches at Brown University and lives in Rhode Island.

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 10,000. The journal specializes in reviews of works published by small presses.

Authors are available after each session to sign copies of their books. Each author also meets with students and attends 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.

Amber Aldaco