Alums and Creative Writing

Delighted to see that a graduate from the class of 2017 has recently published her debut novel with St. Martin’s Press. Jenny Fran Davis’s ’17 Everything Must Go has recently come out — the first of her two book deals with the prestigious publisher. In a recent interview Jenny says that:

“Most of the literary analysis that Flora does in the book comes out of work that I’ve done in classes at Wesleyan and in high school. It’s a really neat thing to be a student while writing a book, because you can slip into these modes of double-thinking, thinking as both a literary analyst and a writer. Suddenly everything you read is applicable and pertinent. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë) and Emily Dickinson are foundational and contribute to a particular canon of writing by and about women, but I found myself thinking about more contemporary novels as I wrote, as well as media texts like newspaper and magazine articles (I read a ton of Rookie) and e-mails and texts from friends. I loved studying Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar), Jacqueline Susann (Valley of the Dolls), and Toni Morrison (Beloved and The Bluest Eye) with Sally Bachner in my Women’s Lib, Women’s Lit class, and reading Roxane Gay in a Writing through Trauma student forum was very exciting and momentum building.”

You can read the full interview here.

Jenny’s book is on the YA shelves, not far from that of another Wesleyan alum, Daniel Handler ’92. The creator of Lemony Snicket has a new novel out, All the Dirty Parts. Daniel’s “raunchy and original” novel is on my reading list for winter break, and it promises to be provocative and thoughtful.

Readers can also look forward to Shapiro-Silverberg Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Amy Bloom‘s new novel, White Houses, to be published in the spring by Random House. Amy ’75 re-imagines the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok — friends, lovers and participants in a grand historical moment. The novel is steeped in that history, and shines with beautiful, deeply felt prose.

I’ll just note one more work in progress: Quiara Alegria Hudes, Wesleyan’s Distinguished Professor of Writing and Theater, is away from campus working on a number of projects. Her plays, Water by the Spoonful and The Happiest Song Plays Last, are currently being staged in Portland. She wrote the book and lyrics for Miss You Like Hell, which will premiere at New York’s Public Theater in March.

There are PLENTY more alums doing great things in this sphere…. Add your favorites to the comments, if you’d like.