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Released April 6, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- The University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers will begin its 2004 Visiting Writers Series on April 15 with a reading by Diane Williams.

Williams, an acclaimed fiction writer and editor of the literary journal Noon, will read at 7 p.m. at the home of Southern Miss English professor Dr. Angela Ball.

Ball's home is located at 4 Waverly Walk in Hattiesburg. The reading is free and open to the public.

Williams specializes in the short-short form and has published five story collections since 1990, including Romancer Erector (Dalkey Archive Press, 2001); Excitability: Selected Stories (Dalkey Archive Press, 1998); The Stupefaction (Knopf, 1996).; and others.

The Visiting Writers Series is one of the cornerstones of the creative writing program at Southern Miss. In 1999, it was among the top 10 percent of all graduate creative writing programs in the U.S. News & World Report survey of colleges and universities, putting it among the top 30 programs in the country.

"There are enormous benefits to having, as visitors to our campus, nationally and internationally known writers of the first rank," said Frederick Barthelme, director of the Center for Writers. "This program allows our graduate students, who themselves come to (Southern Miss) from all over the nation, from such excellent universities as Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UVA and others, to become acquainted with some of the remarkable literary fiction writers and poets of our time."

Williams' fiction has appeared in such journals as Conjunctions, 3rd Bed, Boston Review, BOMB, Colorado Review, and Denver Quarterly. She has also published in anthologies such as The Pushcart Prize, Flash Fiction, and A Convergence of Birds, an anthology of literature inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell.

She is the founding editor of the prestigious literary annual Noon and was a co-editor of StoryQuarterly, one of the country's foremost literary magazines, from 1985-1997.

In praise of Williams' most recent work, Romancer Erector, fiction writer Ben Marcus has said, "This is the writing of the future, a prose of sophisticated disturbance and sorrow." Lydia Davis, a fellow practitioner of the short-short, compares Williams' work to that of Jane Bowles and Laura Riding and praises her as "one of the very few contemporary prose writers who seem to be doing something independent, energetic, heartfelt."

For more information, contact Rie Fortenberry at (601) 266-5600.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM