From Project to Published: New Authors Read from Their First Novels

Posted: February 16, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

Mason alumni Liam Callanan and Nicole Reid will be on campus tomorrow to read from their newly published novels at 8 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall’s Grand Tier III.

Callanan and Reid both graduated from Mason with MFAs in Creative Writing in 2001, and both ended up publishing a revised version of their thesis. In addition to reading from their books, the authors will discuss the process of taking a project from thesis to published book.

“Fine young writers are a crop slow to grow,” says author Alan Cheuse, a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and book commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. “Some years back the MFA program rose to a new high level of possibility, with apprentice writers as good as any in the nation coming to Mason to study and compose, and we are now seeing the results.”

Callanan’s novel, The Cloud Atlas, was published by Random House this month. In the book, Callanan uses one of the strangest and least known episodes of World War II as a jumping off point: Japan’s launching of the world’s first intercontinental warheads (nearly 10,000 bomb-laden balloons). Callanan regularly contributes to WAMU 88.5 FM’s Metro Connection and has read a number of his essays on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. His short stories have appeared in a variety of literary journals, including the Crab Orchard Review, failbetter, and Phoebe.

Published by MacAdam/Cage Publishing in November 2003, Reid’s book, In the Breeze of Passing Things, tells of a Southern girl who watches her fractured family succumb to chaos as her father is consumed by mental illness. Reid’s short stories and poems have appeared in the Southern Review, Quarterly West, Meridian, Black Warrior Review, and Crab Orchard Review. She now teaches fiction at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

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