Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing reading at The Brown Hotel on First Friday

Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series, with the closing day of the reading events taking place on June 2 on the Republic Bank First Friday Hop with readings by faculty and alumni of Spalding’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.

Festival events will be held at Spalding’s Egan Leadership Center or at the Brown Hotel. Plenty of free parking is available for the campus readings. All readings and events are free and open to the public.

The reading schedule may change without notice. Check Facebook for updated information: For more information, call 502-873-4400 or email

4:15-5:30 p.m. Friday, June 2. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni. (Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway, 1st floor, Citation Room)

Book signing to follow. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore.

Reading to feature:

Linda Parker (’03, fiction), Oliver’s Song

Oliver’s Song: Della Boudreaux, a recovering alcoholic, estranged from her family, pulls herself up from ruin and onto the road of redemption. After earning a law degree from Tulane, she returns to Mobile, Alabama and establishes her new office at the foot of Mobile’s historic Bankhead Tunnel. Her first client, a young jazz pianist named Ollie Fitzsimmons, presents her with a mystery—why has a bass case with a haul of illegal drugs been left in Ollie’s care? And why is there an old violin stuffed in the case along with the drugs? Della Boudreaux is a survivor—wise, witty, and often inspiring. Oliver’s Song offers plenty of surprises and takes traditional women’s fiction in a few new directions.

Al DeGenova (’05, poetry), Black Pearl

In this daring book of poems, Albert DeGenova takes us on a personal journey through the physical, sensual world, viewed through the lens of desire. His poems, always unfolding in the present moment, vividly describe interactions that range from loving and intimate to misdirected and even destructive. While this is a world in which intimacy and connection can be approached but never fully realized, DeGenova delivers a completely satisfying piece of work. Like the relationship described in the poem “Intimacy Cocktail,” Black Pearl is a “well-blended cocktail of sweat and sex and tears and foibles served over ice.” From Mike Puicanpoet and Board President/Guild Literary Complex

Mary Popham (’03, fiction), Love Is a Fireplace

Examining love for many years, one finds torment, tangles and happy endings. The people and settings in Love is a Fireplace vary from a rural store clerk in the late fifties to a high-school girl’s first date-first kiss; a Marine dancing with his best pal’s girl to a trucker and his girlfriend getting hi-jacked for a best-seller; a middle-aged caterer still suffering a long ago divorce to a businessman new in town checking out a party in his apartment complex; a cheating girlfriend sending an errant email to a husband worrying about his sleepwalking, Jesus Christ Superstar-obsessed wife, and others. Love does not always offer happy circumstances; however, readers young, old, of all persuasions, and nationalities are interested. Watch how the embers take hold, how the flames build, how the fireplace consumes.

Kathleen Thompson (’03, poetry), Time & Distance

Kathleen Thompson has mastered poetic form while capturing the enduring quality we admire in the best of poets and poetry–heart. The imagery is at once moving and exact as she places the reader at the scene, the moment, the point of observation, reflection, and transformation.Kathleen shares her heart with readers. Ultimately, while the title concedes that life is short, it is rich in all it offers to those, like Kathleen, who are willing to take time to observe and cherish each moment, each person, each experience. -Susan Shehane

David Dominé (’13, fiction), Voodoo Days at La Casa Fabulosa

When food writer David Dominé buys a three-story Victorian house, little does he know it is located in an enchanted neighborhood, one full of gargoyles and gas lamps, hidden courtyards, towers, turrets, and gingerbread trim. The 1890s structure he will call home becomes known as La Casa Fabulosa–or the fabulous house in Spanish–because of its elaborate façade. His is just one of hundreds of striking dwellings in an area famous for its fanciful architecture and 19th-century charm, however. The neighborhood is also replete with colorful characters–an assortment of vagrants, cross-dressers, gypsies, and random misfits that make life interesting, to say the least. There are even rumors of modern-day witches and voodoo queens. When strange noises and puzzling smells start to keep him awake at night, and bizarre coincidences punctuate his days, he discovers that enchantment can take many different forms. The oddballs and oddities, the weird and wonderful he encounters in this enchanted neighborhood come to life in Voodoo Days at La Casa Fabulosa.

Nancy Chen Long (’13, poetry), Light Into Bodies

2017 NEA Fellowship in Poetry. Light into Bodies has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry and is forthcoming from University of Tampa Press. Taken as a whole, Light into Bodies grapples with issues of identity, the fluid and evolving nature of identity, and how identity can be contextual. It explores individual identity and how that identity changes through time and influence.

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