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Lamar Literary Festival hosts readings

Lamar University’s Department of English and Modern Languages, Lamar Literary Press, and the Office of the Provost will sponsor readings by two prominent fiction writers as part of its Lamar Literary Festival series.

Elizabeth Harris, a novelist and short story writer whose newest book, “Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman,” won the Gival Press Novel Award and has recently been released to critical acclaim, will read from her novel Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Maes Building, room 108. Copies of the book will be available for purchase after the reading, or can be found online.

Reviewers have called her novel “a sophisticated act of sisterhood … quietly insightful and beautifully written,” “a work profound and unshakable. A masterpiece,” and “among the most vivid, textured, immersive, and compelling literary evocations of a bygone world (whose spirit nonetheless still moves, for good and ill, in our own).” Harris’ collection of short stories, “The Ant Generator” (University of Iowa Press), won the John Simmons Prize. Harris taught fiction writing at the University of Texas in Austin, where she lives with her husband, Warwick Wadlington, a literary critic and author of several books about American literature.

Beaumont native Lisa Sandlin will read from her Beaumont-based mystery, noir novel “The Do Right,” Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Maes Building room 108. Copies of the book will be available for purchase after the reading, or can be found online.

Born in the Gulf Coast oil town of Beaumont, Sandlin lived there before and after a transfer sent her family to Naples, Italy, for three years. A graduate of Rice University, she lived many years in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Once she had earned an M.F.A. in writing at Vermont College, Sandlin packed a small car and headed for Nebraska in January. She taught at Wayne State College 1997-2009, with semester leaves to teach at The University of Texas and Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her fiction has appeared in Shenandoah, Southwest Review, Crazy Horse, StoryQuarterly, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere and her nonfiction in The New York Times Book Review and in anthologies. Her books include “The Famous Thing About Death,” “Message to the Nurse of Dreams” (winner of the Violet Crown Award from the Austin Writers League and the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters), “In the River Province,” and “You Who Make the Sky Bend,” a collaboration with New Mexican retablo artist Catherine Ferguson. She has received an NEA Fellowship, a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize, and she teaches at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Texas monthly tapped her as one of its "10 Writers to Watch."

For more information on the Lamar Literary Press visit lamar.edu/literary-press. To learn more about programs offered by the Department of English and Modern Languages visit artssciences.lamar.edu/english-and-modern-languages.