- Five graduates of The University of Southern Mississippi's nationally
renowned Center for Writers are adding another layer of prestige
to the program's history of literary excellence.
In 2003, major
New York book houses will publish works by these writers, all former
students in the prestigious program directed since 1977 by acclaimed
author Frederick Barthelme.
everyone we've graduated has done very well in one way or another,"
said Barthelme, who for the last 26 years has helped to make the
Center for Writers one of the most productive and renowned programs
at Southern Miss. "They all teach, or write, or edit, or produce
television as careers. We're very proud of all the Southern Miss
graduates we've shepherded into the working world."
Jr. will see the publication of his first novel, Approximately Heaven,
be released in July by The Free Press, a division of Simon and Schuster.
A graduate of Southern Miss's Honors College as well as of the doctoral
program in creative writing, Whorton teaches at Northeast State
Weekly called Whorton's first book "a neo-picaresque road novel"
that relies on the charms of its main character's "befuddled,
Of the Center
for Writers, Whorton said: "Seems like everyone in the country
knows about the creative writing program there. It's ranked in the
top 10 percent nationally, but for some reason it doesn't get a
lot of attention locally."
graduated from the Center for Writers almost 10 years ago and has
since taught literature and writing at Georgetown College in Kentucky.
His debut novel, I was Howard Hughes, will be released in August
by Bloomsbury USA.
press kit describes Carter's writing as possessing "a deft
comic touch and an outstanding command of narrative style."
that during his time at the Center for Writers, he "looked
forward to the weekly fiction workshop the way most people look
forward to going to the movies or the Saturday football game.
class, Rick Barthelme led a discussion that took the core of what
was good in our stories and used it to tell a more remarkable, or
stunning, or beautiful story. Going through that week after week,
you learn to do that yourself," Carter said.
who earned a master's in 1994 from the Center for Writers and currently
teaches at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, had his third
book, Goodnight, Nobody, published in February by the Atlantic Monthly
Press. Described by Esquire as "a writer of the first rank,"
Knight has also published short fiction in the New Yorker, GQ and
other fine literary magazines. Publisher's Weekly said, "Delicately
wrought characters and quiet, satisfying observations mark Knight's
impressive second collection of short fiction."
new book, Rough Amusements, was released in April by Bloomsbury
USA. In a review of the novel, Booklist said: "Fascinating,
engaging and exhilarating, this 'urban historical' by novelist Neihart
is an 'entertainment,' a mix of footnoted references, real-life
figures and imaginary characters that purports to tell the 'true
story' of A'Lelia Walker, daughter of millionaire Madam C.J. Walker,
who pioneered personal-care products for African-American women."
his master's at the Center for Writers and later took a second master's
from the Johns Hopkins University, alma mater of three of the faculty
members at the Center for Writers. These include Frederick Barthelme
(M.A. '77), whose 15th book will be published this fall by Counterpoint
Press; Mary Robison (M.A. '77), winner of last year's Los Angeles
Times Book of the Year Award; and Steven Barthelme (M.A. '84), who
teaches fiction writing and nonfiction prose writing.
whose debut collection of stories, Here in the World, was released
to critical fanfare in 2000, is back this fall with FAR, to be published
by Counterpoint Press. Her new novel is a story about a woman reluctant
to adopt traditional female roles of marriage and motherhood, which
results in alienation from her Italian-American family and community.
all over the country come to study with the Center's distinguished
faculty. This year the center had applicants from Cornell University,
Johns Hopkins University, Harvard, New York University, the University
of California, the University of Texas, Columbia, Millsaps and a
Miss stands with many of the finest universities in the country
in creative writing, which is why we attract students from these
schools," Steven Barthelme said. "At the same time, many
of our best writers, like Michael Knight and James Whorton, are
is hoping to bring his successful graduates back as participants
in the Center's Reading Series, which has before included Pulitzer
Prize winners, Nobel Prize winners, National Book Award winners,
a Poet Laureate and hundreds of gifted writers from all over the
nation. Michael Knight is scheduled to visit in the fall to give
a reading and lead a fiction workshop. Others are being scheduled
gives us greater pleasure than our students' succeeding," Frederick
Barthelme said. "That's what a university is all about, and
that's what our faculty in English is all about. We're in the classrooms
with the students day in and day out, working with them, trying
to help them realize their potential."