Helen Oyeyemi to Speak at Inspired Writers Series Event, Oct. 27

Helen Oyeyemi to Speak at Inspired Writers Series Event, Oct. 27

The College of Arts and Sciences' MFA in Creative Writing Program will present the acclaimed British novelist in conversation with Fairfield professor and author Phil Klay on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 12 p.m. on thequicklive.com.

Media Contact: Robby Piazzaroli, rpiazzaroli@fairfield.edu, 203-254-4000 x2597

Led by Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author and instructor in the MFA in Creative Writing program, the second panel discussion event in this semester’s Inspired Writers Series will feature widely acclaimed British novelist Helen Oyeyemi on the quicklive.com.

"[She] is an incredible writer whose work blends myth and modern realities," Klay said. "Offering us not only new ways of situating ourselves in the modern world, but of interacting with the emotional and symbolic legacies of the stories we imbibe since childhood." 

According to The Guardian, Oyeyemi has crushed “fables and fairytales down to a powder and then laced her fiction with it like some kind of literary hallucinogen.” Her latest novelPeaces, takes a couple on a former tea-smuggling train where the laws of physics do not quite apply.

Oyeyemi is also the author of the story collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, along with five other novels  Boy, Snow, Bird, was a finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She received a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award and a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2013, she was named one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists.

A companion speaker series to the MFA program, Inspired Writers Series events are designed to not only provide encouragement and inspiration for writers, but also to inform, entertain, and enlighten any participant with lively discussions from top authors. All events are free and open to the public.

Later this semester, Klay will host an Inspired Writers event featuring writer-editors Katy Carl and Christopher Beha for a talk entitled "New Catholic Novelists and Editors" on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. 

A veteran himself, Klay is at the helm of the Fairfield MFA veterans’ community, leading workshops and supporting veteran writers. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province as a public affairs officer before receiving his MFA from Hunter College of The City University of New York. His short story collection Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award, and Missionaries was chosen by former President Barack Obama as one of his favorite books of 2020, and was also named one of “The 10 Best Books of 2020” by The Wall Street Journal.

Most recently, Klay compiled a new collection of his non-fiction writing called Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War, published by Penguin Press. The pieces in Uncertain Ground, collected from publications that span the last ten years, explore the chasm between the military and the civilian in American life, and the moral blind spot it has created.

The New York Times called Klay’s compilation “engrossing and important” and Publisher’s Weekly deemed it an “incisive collection . . . Enriched by the author’s military experiences and sharp turns of phrase.” The Library Journal offered that Klay’s book is “an important and eye-opening essay collection that should be a must-read.”

For information about the Inspired Writers Series, please visit thequicklive.com.

Posted On: October 24, 2022

Volume: 54 Number: 34

Fairfield University is the modern Jesuit University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s five schools.  In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.