CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Antonya Nelson and Robert Boswell, who have 11 novels, nine short-story collections, a fiction-writing guide and a mantel full of awards between them – will open the Fall 2012 Carr Reading Series on Sept. 19 (Wednesday) at Author’s Corner in the Illini Union Bookstore. Nelson and Boswell, who are married, share the Cullen Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Houston.
Arley McNeney’s debut novel, “Post,” is about an elite wheelchair athlete searching for her identity after her retirement from racing. She will read on Oct. 3.
Nelson’s latest novel, “Bound,” is a New York Times Notable Book, described by O, the Oprah Magazine, as a “wise exploration of the war between our worst impulses and our better selves.” She has won the Heartland Award, the Flannery O’Connor Award, and fellowships from United Artists, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Boswell is the author of “The Half-Known World,” a book of essays about the craft of writing, and an award-winning play, “Tongues.” He is the recipient of a Guggenheim and two NEA fellowships. O describes his latest short-story compendium, “The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards,” as “an unnerving, fascinating collection.”
University of Illinois alumni Ted Sanders, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and Arley McNeney will read on Oct. 3 (Wednesday). Sanders’ debut book, “No Animal We Could Name,” was described in a Village Voice review as a collection of stories written with “a blissfully clinical precision, redolent of David Foster Wallace.” It won the 2011 Bakeless Prize for Fiction.
Bertram’s first book, “But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise,” won the Red Hen Press 2010 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award. At the University of Utah, she is the Vice Presidential Fellow in the English department.
University of Illinois alumnus Ted Sanders will read on Oct. 3. His debut book, “No Animal We Could Name,” won the 2011 Bakeless Prize for Fiction.
McNeney’s debut novel, “Post,” a nominee for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, is the story of an elite wheelchair athlete searching for her identity after her retirement from racing. McNeney played on Canada’s wheelchair basketball team from 2001-07. The team won two world championships and a bronze medal at the 2004 Paralympics. Her second novel, “The Time We Went Marching,” focuses on a mother’s struggles during the Great Depression. It was described by a Globe and Mail critic as “a stunning achievement.”
On Oct. 24 (Wednesday), the Carr series will feature Portuguese writer Goncalo M. Tavares, whose most memorable honor may not be the numerous prizes he has won, but rather the introduction he received from Nobel laureate Jose Saramago, who – while awarding Tavares the 2005 Saramago Prize – predicted that Tavares will also win a Nobel. “Tavares has no right to be writing so well at the age of 35,” Saramago said. “One feels like punching him.”
The most recent Tavares novels translated into English include “Jerusalem”; “Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique”; “Joseph Walser’s Machine,” published by Dalkey Archive Press, based at the University of Illinois; and “The Neighborhood.”
The Carr Reading Series is made possible by a gift from Robert J. and Katherin Carr, and sponsored by the U. of I.’s English department, the creative writing program and its literary journal, Ninth Letter.
Readings begin at 4:30 p.m., on the second floor of the bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., Champaign, and are open to all, free of charge. For more information, visit http://creativewriting.english.illinois.edu/carr.