Freshman Voltaire's Coffee: Professor Valentine presents Swamplandia! By Karen Russell
Fri, August 26, 2011 • 7:00 PM
Matt Valentine, Swamplandia! By Karen Russell; August 26.
Karen Russell dazzled readers with the short stories in her first collection, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. One of the youngest writers on the New Yorker's "20 Under 40" list, Karen Russell is more than a notable prodigy. Her novel Swamplandia! is not just good for a young writer—it is masterful writing by any measure. Set deep in the Everglades, the novel tells the story of the Bigtree family, who run a tourist attraction featuring alligators (and alligator wrestling). The family is beset by tragedy and adventure.
Matt Valentine teaches a junior seminar on creative writing for the Plan II Program, as well as an elective course on photography. His writing and photography have been published in several newspapers, magazines and books. Most recently, his photos have appeared in the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Valentine also hosts the Joynes Reading Room Literary Series, which brings the very best writers from throughout the US and abroad to UT Austin to read from and discuss their work. (Karen Russell, the author of Swamplandia!, will be among the future visiting writers in the Joynes Reading Room.)