Fiction Writer Named 2013 Artist-in-Residence

Friday, February 08, 2013

Fiction writer Cary Holladay has been named the 2013 Artist-in-Residence at Fairmont State University.

A native of Virginia, Holladay is the author of five volumes of fiction: “A Fight in the Doctor’s Office,” “The Quick-Change Artist: Stories,” “Mercury,” “The Palace of Wasted Footsteps” and “The People Down South.” Her stories have appeared in Ecotone, Epoch, Five Points, The Georgia Review, Glimmer Train, The Hudson Review, The Oxford American, The Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, Tin House and other journals and have been anthologized numerous times in New Stories from the South: The Year's Best. She won an O. Henry Prize for “Merry-Go-Sorry,” her story about a triple homicide and the trials and convictions, which was published in Alaska Quarterly Review.

She earned an A.B. degree at the College of William and Mary. At Pennsylvania State University, she studied with novelists Robert C.S. downs, Tom Rogers and Paul West and poets John Balaban and John Haag, earning an M.A. in English with a concentration in fiction writing.

Holladay’s career has included teaching positions at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, La Salle University, the University of Pennsylvania and Rhodes College. Since 2002, she has taught at the University of Memphis, where she is an Associate Professor of English and Director of the River City Writers Series. In 2009, she was named a First Tennessee Professor. In 2011, she received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts. Holladay’s husband, the poet and fiction writer John Bensko, also teaches creative writing at the University of Memphis.

Holladay will be on campus from Feb. 25 to March 1 and again in April. She will visit classes and hold a master class in fiction writing for FSU students. She will meet with Honors and international students to discuss her 2008 novel “A Fight in the Doctor’s Office,” which the students are reading with FSU faculty member Dr. Kenneth Millen-Penn.

“We are fortunate to have a writer of Cary Holladay’s stature as our Artist-in-Residence and to work with our students who are interested in becoming writers and with all of our students who are studying literature. Cary’s stories are full of moving insights into the depths of human desire. We hope everyone will come to hear her read from her new book in April and to get to know her,” said Dr. J. Robert Baker, Professor of English, Senior Level, and Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at FSU.

In April, Holladay will give a public reading from her latest book, “Horse People,” which will be released in mid-February by Louisiana State University Press as part of its Yellow Shoe Fiction Series. Enriched by history and folklore, the volume features several generations of a family in Virginia’s horse country.

Holladay’s “The Deer in the Mirror: Stories and a Novella” also will be published in 2013, this volume by Ohio State University Press. The book has won the Ohio State University Press Prize in Short Fiction. Regional culture and legend can be found in the volume, which begins on the Virginia frontier in 1745 and culminates during the Yukon Gold Rush in 1898.

The Artist-in-Residence Program at FSU is designed to enhance the academic and curricular arts programs of the University, provide the opportunity for faculty development and growth and provide a valuable intellectual and cultural resource for the community. The program is made possible by an annual stipend from the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc.

Successful residency programs have been provided in recent years by British musician Emma Peake; stage director Jeffrey Ingman; poet Maggie Anderson; sculptor Wayne Trapp; the late local jazz legend, Johnnie Johnson; British actor Roger Jerome; freelance artist Patricia Musick; opera singers Mary Anne Talese and Stephen Lusmann; portrait artist Elizabeth McLain; writers Jaimy Gordon and Meredith Sue Willis; pianist Nada Loutfi; landscape painter Ann Templeton; singer-songwriter Larry Groce; professional dulcimer player Stephen Seifert; Russian-American soprano Dina Kuznetsova; and animator and cartoonist Gary Leib. Residencies have included mentoring of FSU students, well-received performances and exhibitions for the college and community and workshops for public school students and teachers.