Creative Writing Professor is Topic of L.A. Times Article

By Briana Van Havermaat, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

Susan Straight Distinguished Professor of Creative WritingSusan Straight, a Creative Writing Professor at UCR, was the topic of interest in a December 25th Los Angeles Times article entitled “Faces to Watch 2006.” The article delves into the idea that Straight doesn’t play with narration or create strange linguistic puzzles within her works, but rather explores territories that some may see as inappropriate. For instance, people may be skeptical about a white woman in her 40s writing about the lives of black characters.

However, Straight has always challenged the notion, “write only what you know.” She feels it’s necessary to explore emotional issues that affect her personally. The majority of opposition to her work has been disregarded because of critical praise she has received for her lyrical prose style, and the unique way she portrays her characters.

The Times is anticipating the release of her new novel, A Million Nightingales in March of this year. In the novel, she describes the struggles of a mixed-race girl in 1800s Louisiana who gains her freedom from slavery, and tries to raise her son, who remains a slave.

The Times stated that, “With every book, the canvas seems to grow, suggesting that there’s no limit to where Straight will take readers next.”

Straight has won the Gold Medal for Fiction from the San Francisco-based Commonwealth Club for her fifth novel, Highwire Moon. This novel was also a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award. She also received a prestigious Lannan Foundation Award in 1999 and a 1997 Guggenheim Fellowship.

For more information on Susan Straight visit the Creative Writing website.

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