Michael Parker Visits Catawba College
On Tuesday, February 8, 2011, Catawba College welcomed acclaimed fiction writer Michael Parker for a reading of his latest and ongoing literary collections. Catawba’s English Department sponsored the event, ensuring the reading was free and open to the public.
Parker is a Professor in the MFA writing program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, as well as the author of five major novels entitled Hello Down There, Towns Without Rivers, Virginia Lovers, If You Want Me To Stay, and The Watery Part of the World. He is also the author of two short story collections: The Geographical Cure and Don’t Make Me Stop Now.
Dr. Janice Fuller, an English Professor and writer-in-residence of Catawba College, introduced Michael Parker with warm words and high praise. Fuller is the Professor for the English course called Contemporary American Poetry and Prose, in which the students enjoy a series of short stories from Don’t Make Me Stop Now.
Parker’s readings included excerpts from his latest works-in-progress, Five Thousand Dollar Car and The Watery Part of the World. Both excerpts, combined with Michael Parker’s natural humility and subtle sparks of wit, demonstrated how this North Carolina author came to produce such raw reflections of the human condition.
Those in attendance enjoyed a Question and Answer session with the author, bringing aspects of his craft, form, and choice of content into light. Parker spoke on functions of dialogue, colloquialisms, and the differences in writing in North Carolina and areas of West Texas.
Parker advised aspiring writers to learn to listen. “If you do enough listening, if you’re observant and really listen not just to what people say, but how they say it, your story’s dialogue will do the work for you.”
Parker signed books after the readings, staying to chat with students and faculty of Catawba College.