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D&E writers’ series hosts two authors

ELKINS — Two award-winning writers will be featured in the 23rd annual Davis & Elkins College Writers’ Series this week in a mix of virtual and in-person presentations.

Carol Tyler, a critically acclaimed graphic memoirist, nonfiction writer and cartoonist, presented a virtual workshop and reading on Monday, while nonfiction author Jessie Van Eerden will read from her latest book on Thursday.

The event is free and open to the public.

“We selected these authors because we thought they would appeal to a wider audience and their genres reflect some of the exciting things happening in the literary world today,” said D&E Assistant Professor of English Dr. Sebastian Williams.

Tyler is an 11-time Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist known for her autobiographical stories. Her series “You’ll Never Know” (later collected as “Soldier’s Heart”) is commonly seen as part of an emerging graphic memoir movement alongside Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home,” Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” and Art Spiegelman’s “Maus.”

The “You’ll Never Know” series was referred to as “a vivid, affecting, eccentrically stylish frame built around a terrible silence” by the New York Times and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Alongside Sergio Aragones, Tyler was named a Master Cartoonist in 2016, earning a Cartoonist Studio Award from Slate Review that same year.

Tyler has also regularly published work with Fantagraphics Books, including award-winning collections such as Fab4 Mania (2018) and The Job Thing (1995). She currently teaches a course on graphic novels at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) and is a Residency Artist with the Ohio Arts Council.

Eerden is the author of three novels, “Glory Bound” (Word Farm Press, 2012), winner of the Forward Editor’s Choice Fiction Prize, “My Radio Radio” (WVU Press, 2016), and the prize-winning “Call it Horses” (Dzanc Books, 2021).

Her portrait essay collection “The Long Weeping” won the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award, and her work has appeared in Best American Spiritual Writing, Oxford American, New England Review and other venues. Eerden has been awarded the Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction, the Milton Fellowship and a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellowship.

A West Virginia native, she teaches at the Jackson Center for Creative Writing MFA program at Hollins College in Hollins, Virginia, and is former Director of the MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Eerden will read from “Call it Horses” from 7-8 p.m. Thursday in Halliehurst Great Hall. A book signing will follow. The novel won the 2019 Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction.

Set in small-town West Virginia in the twilight of the eighties, “Call It Horses” tells the story of three women – niece, aunt and stowaway seeking an escape from everything they’ve known.

Both writers will visit various classes at D&E during their stay to present talks and workshops.

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