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Writers series features PSU faculty

January 27, 2012 12:00AM

The Pittsburg State University Distinguished Visiting Writers Series will feature two of the university’s own when fiction writers Lizanne Minerva and Lori Baker Martin read from their works on Thursday, Feb. 2. The seventh annual faculty reading will take place at 7 p.m. in the Governors Room of the Overman Center and is free and open to the public. Following the reading, there will be a reception in the Heritage Room of the student center.

Minerva, an instructor in the English Department, will read from some of her recent short stories. Minerva, who writes about the complex workings of families, said reading inspires her to write.

“Nothing motivates me to write more than a great book or story,” Minerva said. “Right now, I'm reading Jeffrey Eugenides' “The Marriage Plot,” and am inspired by how well he portrays characters who I know or have been.”

Minerva is from Tallahassee, Fla. She is a recipient of the Ernest Hemingway Fellowship in fiction at Indiana University where she earned an MFA in creative writing in 1992. Later she earned a Ph.D. in creative writing at Florida State University. Minerva has taught fiction and literature at Missouri State University and currently teaches at PSU. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals such as Puerto del Sol, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Apalachee Quarterly, and others. She is working on a collection of short stories about mothers and children.

Lori Baker Martin, an instructor in the English Department, says her love of writing comes from having been born into a family that loved and honored books and storytelling.

“My family didn’t have much money, but my parents always made sure I had books,” she said. “I grew up hearing great storytellers, too. My grandmother, for example, knew just when to pause for dramatic effect, or speed up the pacing, when to add detail, when to be spare. Listening to her was an early lesson in creative writing.”

Martin, from rural Edna, Kan., graduated in 2011 from The Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She earned an MA in English literature from PSU in 2009. Martin has taught at the University of Iowa and Labette Community College and is now teaching creative writing and literature at PSU.

Martin has been published in Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, and upcoming in The Little Balkans Review. She has received awards in the Cincinnati Review Schiff Prose Contest, Kansas Voices, and she won the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction for her collection of short stories.

Martin is currently working on her first novel, “Bitter Water,” which is set in Civil War-era Carthage, Mo., and Edna, Kan.

This is the first event this semester in the annual Distinguished Visiting Writers series, which brings nationally acclaimed authors, poets and writers to PSU. The series is sponsored by the English Department and the Student Fee Council.

©2012 Pittsburg State University