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Catherine Dent To Read From New Story Collection

Published on March 10, 2014

Catherine Zobal Dent, assistant professor of English and creative writing, will read from her new short story collection, “Unfinished Stories of Girls,” at 7 p.m. March 13 at Isaacs Auditorium in Seibert Hall at Susquehanna University.Catherine Zobal Dent She will be joined by Ann Piper, associate professor of art, whose artwork is featured in the book. The event is free and open to the public.

The 16 stories of Dent’s debut collection, to be published by Fomite on May 1, are framed by the quiet yet violent towns, fields and riverbeds of tidewater Maryland. The reader is invited inside the lives of people who are trying to figure out the gleaming, marshy world. A girl in the tiny town of Cordova believes she is receiving holy instructions to save men through sex. An Oxford housekeeper serves time in prison for forging employers’ signatures. A jewelry clerk and an undercover cop from Cambridge live in a doomed TV marriage. The tidewater community stews in its guilt over a hit-and-run accident that leaves a child dead.

Each story is paired with a drawing or painting by Dent’s friend and colleague, Ann Piper.

“Ann’s art speaks to me,” says Dent. “Her paintings and drawings are simultaneously narrative and symbolic. And so emotional, so visceral. One thing I like about the pairings is that they increase the possibilities for each story. Unlike illustrations, which can have the effect of narrowing the imagination, the visual and literary pairings stretch the imagination further.”

Dent teaches workshops in fiction writing, as well as literature and composition courses. Her fiction and reviews have appeared in numerous journals, including Harvard Review, North American Review, Green Mountains Review and PANK. She is the faculty president of the Forum of Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE) and is adviser of the FUSE chapter at Susquehanna and the undergraduate journal, Susquehanna Review.

Piper teaches studio art at Susquehanna, and her work has been shown in exhibitions nationwide. She is the recipient of many awards, including an artist’s residency in Roswell, N.M., and has been featured in publications such as “The Perception of Appearance: A Decade of American Contemporary Figurative Drawing,” curated by Norman Lundin.

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