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Best-selling Authors to Appear at the Tenth Annual Eckerd College Writers’ Conference

By Tom Scherberger
Published January 8, 2014
Categories: Academics

Best-selling authors Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried), Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog), Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island, and Live by Night) and Attica Locke (Black Water Rising and The Cutting Season) are just a few of the top names appearing for free evening readings Jan. 18−25, 2014, as part of the Tenth Annual Eckerd College Writers’ Conference: Writers in Paradise. All readings, which are free and open to the public, will begin at 8 p.m. Book sales will precede the readings at 7:30 p.m. Author signings will be held after each reading. Speakers are subject to change.

The Writers in Paradise Conference is an intensive eight-day experience of intimate workshop classes, roundtables, panel discussions, readings, book signings and cocktail receptions and is designed for those who are passionate about writing. Award-winning faculty and guest speakers also will include Jon Chopan (Pulled From the River); Lisa Gallagher (Literary Agent with Sandford J. Greenburger Associates); Ann Hood (The Obituary Writer); Diane Les Becquets (SNHU Low-Residency MFA Program Director); Laura Lippman (And When She Was Good); Laura Williams McCaffrey (Water Shaper); Peter Meinke (The Contracted World); Stewart O’Nan (Last Night at the Lobster); Lori Roy (Until She Comes Home); Les Standiford (Bringing Adam Home); Johnny Temple (Akashic Books); Danielle Trussoni (Angelopolis); Sterling Watson (Fighting in the Shade); and more.

2014 Eckerd College Writers’ Conference Evening Reading Series

(updated Jan. 3)

  • Sat., Jan. 18—Tim O’Brien with Q&A moderated by Dennis Lehane
  • Sun., Jan. 19—Dennis Lehane and Andre Dubus III
  • Mon., Jan. 20—Jon Chopan and Les Standiford
  • Tues., Jan. 21—Laura Williams McCaffrey and Peter Meinke
  • Wed., Jan. 22—No readings
  • Thurs., Jan. 23—Stewart O’Nan and Lori Roy
  • Fri., Jan. 24—Ann Hood and Sterling Watson
  • Sat., Jan. 25—Laura Lippman and Attica Locke

Sat., Jan. 18

Tim O’Brien received the National Book Award in Fiction in 1979 for his novel, Going After Cacciato. In 2005, the New York Times named The Things They Carried as one of the 22 best books of the last quarter century. It received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of The Things They Carried received one of France’s highest literary awards, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. The title story from The Things They Carried received the National Magazine Award and was selected by John Updike for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In the Lake of the Woods, published in 1994, was chosen by Time magazine as the best novel of that year. The book also received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians and was selected as one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Times. In 2010, O’Brien received the Katherine Anne Porter Award, presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for a distinguished lifetime body of work. In 2012, O’Brien received the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. In 2013, O’Brien received the Lifetime Achievement award from the Pritzker Military Library. O’Brien’s short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic, Esquire, Playboy, Harper’s, and numerous editions of The O. Henry Prize Stories and The Best American Short Stories. His novels have sold more than 3.5 million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Sat. Jan. 19

Dennis Lehane grew up in Boston. Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, he has published nine more novels with William Morrow & Co. that have been translated into more than 30 languages and become international bestsellers: Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic RiverShutter Island; The Given Day; Moonlight Mile, and Live By Night. Morrow also published Coronado, a collection of five stories and the play, “Coronado,” which has received stage productions in New York City; Chicago; San Francisco; and Genoa, Italy. Three of his novels –Mystic River; Gone, Baby, Gone; and Shutter Island– have been adapted into award-winning films.

Andre Dubus III is the author of five books: The Cage Keeper and Other Stories; Bluesman; and The New York Times bestsellers, House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir, Townie, named on many “Top Non-fiction Books of 2011” lists, including those of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Esquire magazine. His work has been included in The Best American Essays of 1994 and The Best Spiritual Writing of 1999, and his novel, House of Sand and Fog was a finalist for the National Book Award and was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. Mr. Dubus has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Magazine Award for Fiction, and a Pushcart Prize. He is a 2012 recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in more than 25 languages, and he teaches full-time at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. His new book, Dirty Love, is forthcoming in the fall of 2013.

Mon., Jan. 20

Jon Chopan is the author of Pulled from the River, which was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2012. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such places as Glimmertrain, Post Road, Hobart, Hotel Amerika, and Redivider. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg.

Les Standiford is the bestselling author of 20 books, including Bringing Adam Home, the John Deal mystery series, and the works of narrative history, The Man Who Invented Christmas (a New York Times Editor’s Choice) and Last Train to Paradise. He wrote the screenplay adaptation of Spill, which was a feature film starring Brian Bosworth. Mr. Standiford earned a B.A. in Psychology from Muskingum College in Ohio and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah. He is a former screenwriting Fellow and graduate of the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, and a recipient of the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He is the director of the creative writing program at Florida International University in Miami, where he lives with his wife, Kimberly, a psychotherapist and artist.

Tues., Jan. 21

Laura Williams McCaffrey was born and raised in Vermont. She attended Barnard College of Columbia University, then returned to Vermont and eventually became a school librarian, answering to the names “Ms. Librarian,” “Library Lady,” and sometimes simply “Ms. Library.” She now writes and teaches writing full-time. Her short stories have been published in Solstice Literary Magazine, Soundings Review, and YA Review Network. Her third novel, which will be released by Clarion Books, is a dystopic fantasy for teens. She is the author of two children’s fantasy novels, Water Shaper and Alia Waking. Water Shaper was selected for the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age 2007 list. Alia Waking was named an International Reading Association Notable Book and was nominated for the annual Teens’ Top Ten Books list and for Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award. Laura teaches at Solstice, the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College, as well as at Pacem School and Homeschool Center. She lives in a small house in the woods with her husband, regionally acclaimed musician Colin McCaffrey, and their daughters.

Peter Meinke is Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, Florida. His new collection, Lucky Ones, will be his eighth book in the prestigious Pitt Poetry Series. His work has appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, and dozens of other magazines. He has published over 20 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The latest, Truth and Affection, published last year by the U. of Tampa Press, is a collection of his Poet’s Notebook columns with his wife Jeanne’s drawings, from Tampa Bay’s alternative newspaper, Creative Loafing. His poetry has received many awards, including two NEA Fellowships and three prizes from the Poetry Society of America. His book of short fiction, The Piano Tuner, won the 1986 Flannery O’Connor Award. Mr. Meinke directed the Writing Workshop at Eckerd College for many years and has often been writer-in-residence at other colleges and universities.

Wed., Jan. 22

No readings

Thurs., Jan. 23

Stewart O’Nan’s first story collection, In the Walled City, received the Drue Heinz Prize. Winner of the Ascent and Columbia Fiction Awards, he is the author of 13 novels, including the novel-in-stories, Everyday People. His work has appeared in Granta, Outside, Ploughshares, Glimmertrain, and many other journals.

Lori Roy’s debut novel, Bent Road, was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author, named a 2011 New York Times Notable Crime Book, and named a 2012 notable book by the state of Kansas. Bent Road has been optioned for film by Cross Creek, with Mark Mallouk to adapt and Benderspink to produce. Her second novel, Until She Comes Home, was recently named a New York Times Editors Choice.  Lori currently lives with her family in west central Florida.

Fri., Jan. 24

Ann Hood is the author of ten novels, including the bestsellers Somewhere off the Coast of Maine, The Knitting Circle, and The Red Thread. She has also written two memoirs, Do Not Go Gentle: My Search for Miracles, and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2008; a collection of short stories, An Ornithologist’s Guide to Life; and The Treasure Chest, a ten book series for middle readers. A regular contributor to The New York Times and NPR’s The Story, her essays and short stories have appeared in The Wall Street Journal; The Paris Review; The Washington Post; O; Glimmertrain; Tin House and many other publications.  The winner of two Pushcart Prizes, the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, and Best American Spiritual, Travel, and Food Writing Awards, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island. The Knitting Circle will soon be an HBO movie starring Katherine Heigl.

Sterling Watson is the author of six novels, including The Calling; Deadly Sweet; Blind Tongues; Sweet Dream Baby; and Weep No More My Brother. His most recent novel, Fighting in the Shade, was published in 2011 by Akashic Books and has been described by Dennis Lehane as, “A brilliant, fearless look at the savage rites of passage that exist in the fraternity of American sports. A book as gripping and unforgettable as any in recent memory.” Mr. Watson’s short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner; The Georgia Review; The Los Angeles Times Book Review; The Michigan Quarterly Review; and The Southern Review. He was director of the Creative Writing Program at Eckerd College for 20 years and is the College’s Peter Meinke Professor Emeritus of Literature and Creative Writing.

Sat., Jan. 25

Laura Lippman is the author of eleven novels featuring Baltimore private detective Tess Monaghan, seven stand-alone novels, and a short story collection. Her six most recent books have all been New York Times bestsellers. Ms. Lippman has won numerous literary prizes for her work, including the Edgar®, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity Awards. A recent recipient of the first-ever Mayor’s Prize, she lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, David Simon, their daughter, and her stepson.?

Attica Locke’s first novel, Black Water Rising, was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize in the UK in 2010. It was nominated for a 2010 Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a Strand Magazine Critics Award. The novel was also a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. In addition, Attica has spent many years working as a screenwriter, penning movie and television scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, HBO, and Dreamworks. A graduate of Northwestern University, she was a Fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmakers Lab. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.

For timely updates and photos, check out the Writers in Paradise Facebook page. For a complete calendar of upcoming Eckerd College public events, please visit