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Southern Miss Visiting Writers Series to Feature Courtney Eldridge Feb. 4 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, January 29, 2010
Contact Tearanny Street, 601.266.6823   

The University of Southern Mississippi Center for Writers will host a reading Thursday, Feb. 4 featuring critically acclaimed fiction author Courtney Eldridge.

The reading, the first of the Center’s 2010 Visiting Writers Series, is scheduled for 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the International Center on the Hattiesburg campus. Eldridge also will lead a fiction workshop Wednesday, Feb. 3 for graduate students in the creative writing program.

Colorado native and former New Yorker now living in Buenos Aires, Eldridge is the author of the novel, “The Generosity of Women” and a short story collection, “Unkempt.” Author Mary Gaitskill says of the novel, “The Generosity of Women is wonderful, dramatic, comic, deeply felt and possessed of a beauty that is both quotidian and rare.”

Frederick Barthelme, director of the Center for Writers, also praised Eldridge’s talents. "Courtney Eldridge is a striking new voice on the literary horizon,” he said. “Whenever I find one of her stories in print I know I’m in for trouble -- in the best possible way. She’s a talent to be reckoned with.”

Eldridge has earned fellowships from the UCross Foundation and the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Her work has been published in numerous literary journals, including “McSweeney’s,” “Mississippi Review,” “Nerve,” “Salt Hill Journal,” “Pierogi Press,” “Hayden’s Ferry Review,” “The Chattahoochee Review” and others.

She has been a contributor to “The New York Times Magazine” and “BOMB Magazine”  and is working on another novel, “The Saccades Project,” and a work of non-fiction, “The Diary of Flight.”  Her website allows readers to witness and participate in her book writing process.

Eldridge was raised in Colorado, but it was not until her early 20s that she developed an interest in fiction writing. While traveling through Europe, Eldridge discovered the work of prominent modernist writers like Gertrude Stein and Samuel Beckett and became fascinated by the snippets of conversation she overheard. She soon found herself turning those snippets into stories.   

“The best thing that anyone can say is that they laughed out loud reading my story,” Eldridge said during an interview with Michael Aggers for ‘Interview.’ “That will keep me going for another three months.” Aggers, who is an editor at “The New Yorker,” described “Unkempt” as “seductive” and “unusual.” He described Eldridge’s unique style as a process of “turning streams of consciousness into rivers of promise.”

The Visiting Writers Series is one of the cornerstones of the Center for Writers and has brought more than 150 nationally regarded writers of literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry to campus for the community’s benefit.The Center for Writers is the graduate creative writing program at Southern Miss and is housed in the Department of English. It has awarded more than 275 master’s and doctoral degrees through the department since 1977 and ranks in the top 10 percent of creative writing programs nationwide in a “U.S. News & Business Report” survey.Admission to the Eldridge reading is free.

For more information, contact the Center for Writers at 601.266.5600; online

Courtney Eldridge

About The University of Southern MississippiThe University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast;
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