Saturday, April 28, 2012
April 28-29, 2012: Great American Writers, Right Now
To follow up this week’s series on five very talented American authors and five of their best short stories, and make clear how much these traditions continue—as well as how lucky I am to have the gig I do—here, in no particular order, are five great young authors who happen to be students of mine to boot:
1) Maranda Cucchiara: Like each of the first four student writers here, Maranda is a graduating senior in our English Studies department; her focus has been on Professional Writing, and as that website and her soon-to-be released novel Vivian, Falling reflect, she’s already well on her way to the professional part (having been working on the writing part for a long time now).
2) Tyler Welsh: Tyler is many things—a very talented actor and director who has been an integral part of our FSU Theater program throughout his time here, a funny funny guy whose podcasts make excellent use of that sense of humor, a pop culture connoisseur and critic, and just a unique and compelling voice. I expect big things!
3) Kristina Testagrossa: As is the case for a lot of the talented young writers and artists I’ve met, Kristina’s creative writing is developing alongside a number of other interests—her candlemaking company, her journalistic work (such as the pieces for the Fitchburg State student newspaper linked at her site), her blogging. Old-school writers might see that as a description of someone focused too broadly—but I see it as a body of work that she’ll carry forward into her future career, whatever it includes.
4) Rob Gosselin: Rob’s a seriously multi-talented guy too, as that website reflects. But if I had to bet on what he’ll be most successful doing (while still doing all these other things too, ‘cause that’s how he rolls), I’d go with poet. He’s hugely talented, but most of all what I see is the passion he has for it—for writing it, for reading it, for hearing it, for being around it. Rob had another career before coming back to school, and I think his poetry feels like a gift to him—and it does to me too!
5) Jessica Gemmell Afshar: Jessica doesn’t have a website yet, but we’re working on that (UPDATE: Now she does, and it's at the link!). She’s been a student in the Fitchburg State MA in English program for a few years now, and is about ready to finish her Master’s and figure out what’s next. I guarantee a couple things about that answer-in-progress: it’ll include writing across many genres (short fiction, creative non-fiction, literary and cultural analysis, poetry); and it’ll be compelling and engaging and fresh and well worth your time. Watch this space for more!
One of the best things about being a teacher is feeling that America’s future is in very good hands—and I’d say the same about American literature, thanks to folks like these young writers.
More next week,
PS. Any writers, young or not, whose work or voice you’d highlight?
4/28 Memory Day nominee: Harper Lee, who only published one novel, but what a powerful and significant American novel it is!4/29 Memory Day nominee: Iwao Takamoto, the Japanese American animator who went from a childhood in the Manzanar internment camp to designing Scooby-Doo and Fred Flintstone, directing Charlotte’s Web, and positively influencing the lives and imaginations of countless millions of American children.