Rose McLarney has published two collections of poems, Its Day Being Gone (Penguin Books, 2014)—winner of the National Poetry Series–and The Always Broken Plates of Mountains (Four Way Books, 2012). Rose has been awarded fellowships by the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, and Warren Wilson College; was most recently the 2016 Dartmouth Poet in Residence at the Frost Place and 2016 winner of the Chaffin Award at Morehead State; and has received other prizes such as Fellowship of Southern Writers’ New Writing Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared in publications including The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, The Oxford American, Missouri Review, and many other journals. Rose earned her MFA from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers and has taught at the college, among other institutions. Currently, she is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Auburn University and Co-Editor in Chief and Poetry Editor of The Southern Humanities Review.
Catherine Lacey is the author of NOBODY IS EVER MISSING, a winner of a 2016 Whiting Award and a finalist for the NYPL’s Young Lions Fiction Award. It has been translated or is forthcoming in French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch & German. She has won fellowships and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Omi International Arts Center, Late Night Library and Columbia University and the University of Montana. Her second novel, THE ANSWERS is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux and abroad in June 2017. Her first short story collection, CERTAIN AMERICAN STATES, will follow. She was born in Mississippi and is based in Chicago.
The Conversation Literary Festival comes to Oxford. Second year MFA student Aziza Barnes is co-directing this inaugural southern literary festival featuring some of the country’s most celebrated African American writers. The Conversation comes to Oxford on Monday, October 17th and Tuesday, October 18th. Please click here for more details about the festival.
W111 Bondurant Hall
Based on the true story of Matt Bondurant’s grandfather and two granduncles, The Wettest County in the World is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after. Howard, the eldest brother, is an ox of a man besieged by the horrors he witnessed in the Great War; Forrest, the middle brother, is fierce, mythically indestructible, and the consummate businessman; and Jack, the youngest, has a taste for luxury and a dream to get out of Franklin. Driven and haunted, these men forge a business, fall in love, and struggle to stay afloat as they watch their family die, their father’s business fail, and the world they know crumble beneath the Depression and drought.
White mule, white lightning, firewater, popskull, wild cat, stump whiskey, or rotgut—whatever you called it, Franklin County was awash in moonshine in the 1920s. When Sherwood Anderson, the journalist and author of Winesburg, Ohio, was covering a story there, he christened it the “wettest county in the world.” In the twilight of his career, Anderson finds himself driving along dusty red roads trying to find the Bondurant brothers, piece together the clues linking them to “The Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy,” and break open the silence that shrouds Franklin County.
In vivid, muscular prose, Matt Bondurant brings these men—their dark deeds, their long silences, their deep desires—to life. His understanding of the passion, violence, and desperation at the center of this world is both heartbreaking and magnificent.
The Night Swimmer, Matt Bondurant’s utterly riveting modern gothic novel of marriage and belonging, confirms his gift for storytelling that transports and enthralls.
In a small town on the southern coast of Ireland, an isolated place only frequented by fishermen and the occasional group of bird-watchers, Fred and Elly Bulkington, newly arrived from Vermont having won a pub in a contest, encounter a wild, strange land shaped by the pounding storms of the North Atlantic, as well as the native resistance to strangers. As Fred revels in the life of a new pubowner, Elly takes the ferry out to a nearby island where anyone not born there is called a “blow-in.” To the disbelief of the locals, Elly devotes herself to open-water swimming, pushing herself to the limit and crossing unseen boundaries that drive her into the heart of the island’s troubles—the mysterious tragedy that shrouds its inhabitants and the dangerous feud between an enigmatic farmer and a powerful clan that has no use for outsiders.
The poignant unraveling of a marriage, the fierce beauty of the natural world, the mysterious power of Irish lore, and the gripping story of strangers in a strange land rife with intrigue and violence—The Night Swimmer is a novel of myriad enchantments by a writer of extraordinary talent.
Brandon Dean Lamson teaches literature and creative writing in the Honors College at the University of Houston. His first book, Starship Tahiti, won the Juniper Prize for Poetry and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press. Many of the poems in the collection are based on his experience of teaching inmates on Rikers Island. He is also the author of a chapbook entitled Houston Gothic (LaMunde Press, 2007) and his recent work has appeared in Poetry Daily, Brilliant Corners, NO INFINITE, Synecdoche, and Buddhadharma Quarterly. An avid yogi, he teaches yoga and meditation classes and has led workshops that explore the relationship between yoga and the creative arts.