A Good Week For Michener Alums
Raves for Kevin Powers, Alix Ohlin closer to Giller Prize
By Kimberley Jones,
6:17PM, Thu. Sep. 6, 2012
Two graduates of UT’s Michener Center for Writers made the news this week for their novel work.
Just weeks after graduating from the Michener program last spring, Kevin Powers came out of June’s BookExpo America with great buzz for his debut novel, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company). This week that buzz turned into something of a roar with a host of adulatory reviews published in The New York Times (“brilliantly observed and deeply affecting”), The Guardian (“essential reading”), and NPR (“moody, petulant, often darkly beautiful”), among others.
An Iraq war vet, Powers brings personal experience and a poet’s ear to his evocative, frankly gutting coming-of-age-under-fire story. The Yellow Birds comes out next Tuesday, Sept. 11; his national book tour launches with an Austin conversation and reception cosponsored by the Michener Center, Texas Book Festival, and Texas Monthly. (Alas, the full-and-runneth-over RSVP list is closed.)
Meanwhile 2001 graduate Alix Ohlin capped off a terrific summer – wherein her not-one-but-two June releases, novel Inside (Borzoi Books) and short story collection Signs and Wonders (Vintage Contemporaries Original), made O Magazine’s Summer Reading List – with this week’s news that Inside has made the longlist for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize, which awards $50,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection. Jury members Roddy Doyle, Gary Shteyngart, and Anna Porter will announce the winner on Oct. 1.