MUPress Author Garth Greenwell returned to Oxford, OH last week to teach a graduate workshop and visit the undergraduate capstone course. He also read from his acclaimed book What Belongs to You, which was recently named PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. Greenwell spoke on the importance of place in storytelling, an element he considers crucial yet sometimes under-acknowledged.
“Place seems to me central to everything” – Garth Greenwell
Greenwell’s long standing relationship with the university began in 2010 when is novella, Mitko, was selected by former Miami Professor David Schloss to win the Miami University Press Novella Prize. It was Greenwell’s first fiction publication. This novella was eventually becoming part one of the expanded What Belongs to You.
“I think of fiction as first and foremost an exploration into place,” he said to the graduate fiction workshop. Students later generated prose investigating a place from their own history and shared that work. Students also read and discussed short stories from the likes of Flannery O’Connor and Nam Le through this lens of place. It was a short but intense week.
On Tuesday, he gave a reading from What Belongs to You. Poetry MFA candidate Tammy Atha called his reading “emotional, passionate, and captivating—to say the least.” She went on to say “Greenwell can effectively hit his reader in the gut and then truly care for the wound. A talented, raw, and fantastic prose writer.”
This blogger, for one, agrees in full. It was a pleasure to meet and work with Garth. Few have such an eye for compassion and sincerity.
English Department Ambassador
English Creative Writing, English Literature, & AYA English Education ’17
MU Press Intern