by Leonard Gill
Before award-winning novelist, short-story writer, and essayist Richard Bausch, who holds the Moss Chair of Excellence in the creative writing program at the University of Memphis, makes his move, he's bidding Memphis a fitting farewell. The move will be to Chapman University's Wilkinson College of the Humanities in Orange, California, outside Los Angeles. The farewell will be in the form of a reading and booksigning on Wednesday, April 25th, inside the U of M's University Center at 8 p.m.
Any end of semester is bound to be a busy time for students and teachers alike. This spring has been extra busy for Bausch. He's overseen student work. He and his wife Lisa have put their house up for a sale (and sold it). And this month, Bausch had a workshop in the Bahamas to lead. But he's made time for a few thoughts on the U of M's writing program, which he joined in 2005. And he's had some thoughts on Memphis as well.
Here, then, those thoughts, prompted by a few questions by email:
"I love this city and will always love it. I loved it the first time I came here, with the 'godfather' of us all, poet and novelist George Garrett, to read in the River City Writers Series, one of the oldest reading series in the country. And I loved it when I came back — twice: touring my novel In the Night Season and again touring my collected stories.
"Since 2005, I got to work with some amazing students — and the present group is the best I've EVER worked with anywhere. I wish I could take them all with me. But I'll be returning next year for their thesis defenses. I will not leave one of them untended, since I've been working with them all this past two years. And then my daughter Maggie is here too, in the writing program, and I'll be coming back to spend time with her, of course.
"In terms of accomplishment, my proudest one, I think, is the creation of the Moss Workshop, which met once a year each year through my time here. Our present program coordinator came from that experience, as did several of our MFA students and graduates.
"My students are beginning to publish now — four of them in my present workshop have sold stories. (And not from anything I did particularly, either, except to marvel at the quality of the stories and tell them to send them out.) They are all the real thing, and they will all have books, too.
"It's been a hell of a ride for going on seven years."
For answers to any questions about Richard Bausch's reading and booksigning on April 25th, contact Erin Pounders at firstname.lastname@example.org.