UHV American Book Review announces fall lineup

The fifth year of the University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Fall Reading Series will feature five authors, including one of the trade’s most sought-after creative writing gurus, an award-winning young adult novelist from Corpus Christi, and a Fulbright-winning literary activist.

“We’re very proud to be launching the fifth year of the ABR Reading Series with an extraordinary mix of authors,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor/publisher and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “They are looking forward to coming to Victoria to share their knowledge of writing.”

Opening the Fall Reading Series on Sept. 2 is the prolific author John Dufresne, who teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program at Florida International University in Miami.

John Dufresne

His works include the short-story collection “The way That Water Enters Stone;” three chapbooks, “Lethe, Cupid, Time and Love,” “Well Enough Alone” and “I will eat a Piece of the Roof and you can eat the Window;” the novels “Louisiana Power & Light,” “Love Warps the Mind a Little,” “Deep in the Shade of Paradise” and “Requiem, Mass.;” and the story collection “Johnny Too Bad.” His short story, “The Timing of Unfelt Smiles,” was included in “Miami Noir” and in “Best American Mystery Stories 2007.”

He also has written two writers’ guides: “The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction” and “Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months,” which was released earlier this year.

“UHV and ABR are proud to welcome Mr. Dufresne, who possesses that rarest of combinations: the talents to be a great writer and a great teacher of writing,” said Thomas Williams, an ABR associate editor and chair of the Humanities Division in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “Anyone interested in hearing about how fiction comes to life on the page will be well served to attend his presentation.”

Dufresne’s free talk will begin at noon in the Alcorn Auditorium of UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson. The public is invited to attend, and light refreshments will be served.

Other writers scheduled for the Fall Reading Series are:

Diana López

Diana López, Sept. 23 - Corpus Christi native López is the author of the immensely popular pre-teen novel “Confetti Girl,” which recently was released by Little, Brown and Co. and was praised by Publishers Weekly as a novel that employs “lovely metaphors and realistic dialogue … and displays the power of optimism and innovation during difficult times.” It is a commended title for the 2010 Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Her short fiction has been featured in Chicago Quarterly Review, The Sycamore Review, New Texas and Texas Monthly. Her first novel, “Sofia’s Saints,” was published in 2002 and featured in the groundbreaking anthology “Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature.”

Amelia Gray

Amelia Gray, Oct. 21 - Gray’s writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, DIAGRAM and Caketrain, among others. Of her first book, “AM/PM,” Publishers Weekly said, “At moments screwy, prickly and pleasantly surprising, Gray’s short shorts deliver youthful snapshots about being nuts in love. … A delectable debut.” Her book, “Museum of the Weird,” is coming out in September through Fiction Collective Two, an alternative press with executive offices based at UHV.

Ann Weisgarber

Ann Weisgarber, Nov. 4 - Weisgarber has been fascinated by the gritty spirit of pioneer homesteaders ever since her first childhood trip to the American West. After graduating from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, she was a social worker in a psychiatric hospital before moving to Houston with her husband. She earned a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Houston and taught high school and then sociology at a junior college. Inspired by a cookstove in a South Dakota sod dugout and a photograph of an unnamed woman, she spent seven years writing “The Personal History of Rachel DuPree.” Ann has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa, but now splits her time between Sugar Land and Galveston. She is working on her next novel, a story about the 1900 Galveston hurricane.

E. Ethelbert Miller

E. Ethelbert Miller, Dec. 2 - Miller, a literary activist, is the board chairman of the Institute for Policy Studies. He is a board member of The Writer’s Center and is editor of Poet Lore magazine. Since 1974, he has been the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1979, the mayor of Washington, D.C., proclaimed Sept. 28 of that year as “E. Ethelbert Miller Day.” Mr. Miller was awarded the Mayor’s Art Award for literature in 1982 and received the Public Humanities Award from the D.C. Humanities Council in 1988. In 1993, the literary community of Washington awarded him the Columbia Merit Award. His novel, “In Search of Color Everywhere,” was awarded the 1994 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was a Book of the Month Club selection. Mr. Miller received the 1995 O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize. In 2004, Miller received a prestigious Fulbright award to visit Israel.

The authors who are part of the Fall Reading Series will attend roundtable discussions with UHV faculty and students, make classroom visits to area schools, give lectures open to the community, and go to receptions hosted by Friends of ABR patrons while they are in Victoria. The five authors for the Spring Reading Series will be announced in November.

Past speakers have included Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Oshinsky, author and National Book Award-winning poet Mark Doty, Chicana novelist Ana Castillo and Justin Cronin, author of the 2010 New York Times Best Seller “The Passage.”

“The American Book Review is one of the outstanding cultural programs we have at this university,” said Suzanne LaBrecque, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the Reading Series and interact with these talented authors.”

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 ABR Managing Editor Charles Alcorn at 361-570-4100 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.

Paula Cobler