Creative Writing Institute Presents Faculty Reading

On May 23, the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation invited the JCU community to a reading by a group of talented authors who teach in the program. The event kicked off with an introduction by Professor Carlos Dews, the Chair of JCU’s Department of English Language and Literature as well as Director of the Creative Writing.

Author Susan Bradley Smith

Author Susan Bradley Smith

Professor Elizabeth Geoghegan read the second installment of a story called “Pura Goa Lawah,” which is forthcoming in her short story collection Eightball to be published in Spring 2019 by the Santa Fe Writers Project. The collection contains seven stories and a novella, which is the title story, “Eightball.” Named after the sacred Balinese Hindu temple in Indonesia, the story follows the fearful woman, Drishti, who after a series of events connected to her love life finds herself at a retreat in Bali. There, she reflects on her past relationships and continues her self-analysis, discovering different sides of her personality, including the obsession with organizing things.

One of the visiting professors – Susan Bradley Smith – an award-winning creative writer, essayist, and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Curtin University in Australia, is teaching Advanced Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry in Summer 2018 at JCU. She first came to Rome through the BR Whiting Fellowship, awarded by the Australia Council for the Arts “to promote Australian literature abroad.” Her most recent books are the verse memoir The Screaming Middle, the poetry collection Beds For All Who Come, and the writing and well-being memoir Friday Forever. She read four poems from The Postcult Heart: Love Poems for a Lost World that all touch upon her personal memories, including the place in Australia where she grew up (“Sticky Morning in Mullumbimby #reasonswhyileft”), a “kissing the enemy, and the damage done” (“Dressing for the End of The World), and the problem of “not being able to stop loving dead people” (“Shuffle (soundtrack for terrorism by stealth)”). She calls her poems “peace stories,” about the “awful space between love and death.”

The third writer, Michael Carroll, is currently teaching Fiction Workshop. Professor Carroll’s first collection, Little Reef and Other Stories, was published in June 2014 by the University of Wisconsin Press, and he was the 2015 winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction awarded by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has appeared in publications such as Boulevard, Ontario Review, Southwest Review, The Yale Review, Open City, and Animal Shelter. He read an excerpt from The Leisure Classless, one of eight stories from his upcoming book. Just like the other stories, this one is set in Key West, Florida, but later moves to Tuscany, where the main character, a gay American man, looks back at his family and adolescent years in the American South.