WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., March 7, 2017 — West Virginia author Jessie van Eerden will share her work with campus as West Liberty University presents its annual Hughes Lecture on Wednesday, March 22.
“I am so honored to be part of the longstanding Hughes Lecture Series. As a West Virginia native who has returned to the state to direct the low-residency MFA program founded by Dr. Irene McKinney at West Virginia Wesleyan College, in recent years I have grown more and more in awe of the rich literary heritage that thrives in this state and region. That living heritage is so necessary, maybe now more than ever,” van Eerden said.
The title of her lecture is “One Being Implicates the World: Portraiture Across Genres” and it will take place at 11 a.m., March 22 in the Alumni Room, College Union.
Later that day, van Eerden will present a 7:30 p.m. reading of her work, also in the Alumni Room. Both events are free and open to the public.
The author also will visit the creative writing fiction class workshop on Thursday and share her skills with West Liberty University students.
“We are so pleased to present Jessie to campus and we encourage the public to join us for the Hughes Lecture or her reading,” said Dr. William Scott Hanna, who has taught at WLU for nine years as a member of the English Department of Humanities.
A West Virginia native, Jessie van Eerden holds a bachelor’s in English from West Virginia University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa.
Her work has appeared in The Oxford American, River Teeth, Image, Bellingham Review, Willow Springs, Rock & Sling, Appalachian Heritage, Ruminate, and other publications. Her prose has been selected for inclusion in Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia (Vandalia Press); Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean (Ohio University Press); Red Holler (Sarabande); Dreams and Inward Journeys: A Rhetoric and Reader for Writers, Seventh Edition (Longman); Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical (Cascade Books); and Best American Spiritual Writing (Houghton Mifflin).
She was selected as the 2007-2008 Milton Fellow with Image and Seattle Pacific University for her first novel, Glorybound (WordFarm, 2012), winner of ForeWord Reviews’ 2012 Editor’s Choice Fiction Prize. Her second novel, My Radio Radio, is published by Vandalia Press (2016), and her collection of portrait essays, The Long Weeping, is forthcoming with Orison Books in fall 2017.
She has taught for more than 15 years in college classrooms and in adult literacy programs. A resident of West Virginia, she also maintains a following on Twitter (@jessievaneerden) and Goodreads.
Van Eerden will have both of her novels for sale at the Hughes Lecture Series and also will have on hand information about the MFA program that she directs.
The Hughes Lecture Series began in the 1970s and is named after Dr. Raymond Grove Hughes, a beloved teacher who joined West Liberty in 1931. Thanks to his endowment gift, the series has brought a wide range of authors and speakers to WLU, including: Dr. Ralph Abernathy, confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Eugene McCarthy, U. S. Senator and presidential candidate in 1968; and John Simon, noted film critic and West Virginia writer and NASA scientist Homer Hickam.