For fiction writer Sarah Etter, letting her imagination mix with a dash of surrealism has led her down a curious and extraordinary path in her literature.

Etter, the second speaker in the spring University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Reading Series, enjoys combining reality and the abstract to create new worlds for readers.

“Surrealism creates a new place for readers to explore every day issues like inequality, the body and social issues through a new lens,” she said. “By combining surrealism with the human experience – love, loss, life, death – we open up a new dialogue about the nature of existence.”

Austin resident Etter is the author of “Tongue Party,” a collection of short stories that won the Caketrain Press award, and the fiction novel “The Book of X,” a story about a girl born with her stomach twisted in the shape of a knot.

She is scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. Feb. 20 in the Alcorn Auditorium inside UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

Etter also will be the first author to speak at the Porch Readings at the Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art, 1201 N. Moody St. The Porch Reading is a collaboration between the UHV/ABR Reading Series and the museum. Etter’s Porch Reading will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Sarah Etter has shown in her writing that the mind is an ever-expanding universe of imagination and emotion,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor and publisher, and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “We are excited to have her speak to our students and community.”

Etter’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals that include The Cut, Electric Literature, VICE, Guernica and Philadelphia Weekly. She is the recipient of writing residencies at the Disquiet International Program in Portugal and the Gullkistan Creative Program in Iceland. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Rosemont College.

Etter plans to do a short reading from “The Book of X” during her presentation and speak about the new type of surrealism that more writers are experimenting with in their work.

“My focus in the presentation is to give writers the permission to write fearlessly,” Etter said. “I really believe how an artist works and how a writer works should be similar. Both disciplines thrive organically and unlock new worlds when artists and writers embrace the unknown when creating art.”

Other authors scheduled for the spring are:

  • Ladan Osman, March 12 – Osman is a Somali-born poet and essayist. She is the author of “Exiles of Eden” and “The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony,” winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize; and the chapbook “Ordinary Heaven,” which appeared in the box set “Seven New Generation African Poets.”
  • Douglas Kearney, April 2 – Kearney is a poet, performer and librettist who has published six books that bridge thematic concerns such as politics, African-American culture, masks, the Trickster figure and contemporary music.
  • Rick Moody, April 30 – Moody is the author of six novels, including “The Ice Storm” and “Hotels of North America;” three story collections, including “Demonology;” and three works of nonfiction. With Darcey Steinke, he co-edited the anthology “Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited.” His most recent work is a memoir, “The Long Accomplishment.”

His work has been widely anthologized in “Best American Stories,” “Best American Essays” and The Pushcart Prize, and has been adapted into films, theater works and musical compositions. He teaches at Brown University and lives in Rhode Island.

ABR is a nonprofit, internationally distributed literary journal published six times a year.

It began in 1977, moved to UHV in 2006 and has a circulation of about 10,000. The journal specializes in reviews of works published by small presses.

Authors are available after each session to sign copies of their books. Each author also meets with students and attends a community reception.

For more information about the UHV/ABR Reading Series, call the ABR office at 361-570-4101 or go to www.americanbookreview.org.

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