Susan Straight, an award-winning novelist and author, will present a reading and lecture Thursday, March 24, at 4 p.m. in the Hill Memorial Library lecture hall on the LSU campus. The event is free and open to the public.
A celebrated novelist, Straight’s body of work has centered on a group of characters from or connected to Rio Seco – a fictionalized version of Riverside, Calif., the city where Straight was born, raised and resides. Stories she had heard about her extended family’s migration from Louisiana to California compelled her to investigate Louisiana history and culture dating back to the 18th century. Her two most recent novels, “A Million Nightingales” and “Take One Candle Light a Room,” comprise the first two parts of a trilogy-in-progress about a group of characters who trace their lineage to the Bayou State.
Straight’s research took her to places all over Louisiana, including the historic Laura Plantation in Vacherie, the Woodland Plantation in Plaquemines Parish, sugar cane fields in St. James Parish, Bayou Courtableau and the LSU Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge. She also conducted extensive archival work at the courthouse in Opelousas and at the LSU Libraries Special Collections.
In her presentation, titled “How Research Informs the Creative Process,” Straight will discuss her adventure-filled travels across the state, the stories she heard from those she encountered and the array of historical documents from which she gleaned inspiration. She will also read from her works.
The author of seven novels, Straight has won the Milkweed Fiction Prize, a Lannan Literary Award and an Edgar Allan Poe award. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has also written two books for younger readers, “Bear E. Bear” and “The Friskative Dog.” Her essays have appeared in publications as varied as the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Family Circle, Salon, Harper’s, The Nation and many others. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.
This event is co-sponsored by LSU Libraries Special Collections, the LSU English Department, the English Graduate Student Association and New Delta Review.
For more information, contact New Delta Review Fiction Editor David Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org.