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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?Before I taught at LSU, I taught at Johns Hopkins and at Goucher College, among other institutions.
What brought you to LSU?I was hired as instructor in the English department when my husband was hired as assistant professor. Later, I was promoted to assistant professor.
What is your research interest?I am interested in creative writing, fiction, primarily.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?I started the New Delta Journal. I directed the MFA program and made innovations including a cooperative arrangement with a major writers conference where our students showed their work to New York editors and agents. I also participated in the selection, hiring and retention of stellar creative writing faculty. My direction contributed to the stature of the LSU MFA in creative writing as one of the top 30 creative writing programs in the country. My former creative writing students have gone on to publish very well and to teach at more than 60 different institutions.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?I liked the students. They were always open-minded and ready to explore. They loved stories, they often had great stories to write.
What are your major accomplishments?In 2009, I was awarded the Robert Penn Warren Award from the Southern Fellowship of Writers for all of my writing. Other authors who have received this award, which is given every other year by a college of 50 esteemed Southern writers, include Cormac McCarthy, Dorothy Allison, Lee Smith and Allan Weir. Giving a reading to the fellowship gathering in Tennessee was the highlight of my career so far. I have published two novels and three books of stories. Seven of my individual stories have received awards or prizes — named among the "Best" New Stories of the South. I have been published in the New Yorker, Mademoiselle, Oxford American, Image Journal and the Southern Review. My most recent novel, "The Not Yet," has been hailed as a "impressive genre debut" in the field of speculative/science fiction.
My grants include the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Writers, the ATLAS Award for Louisiana Artists and a year's fellowship at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College/ Harvard University. In 2010, the association of Spanish Professors of English and American Studies chose me as their plenary speaker at their national conference, held in Almeria, Spain. My fiction was the subject of panels and lectures.