November 12, 2010

‘Riders on the Storm’ Author to Read, Discuss Novel Set at CWRU

Susan Streeter Carpenter

The turbulent ’60s evoke memories of unrest, war protests, flower power and more. Susan Streeter Carpenter, the author of the historically based book, Riders on the Storm, was among those individuals touched by the events that rocked the nation and Cleveland.

Carpenter will read and discuss the process of research and writing her first novel, set on the campus of Case Western Reserve University during those times, when she visits next Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Guilford House Parlor.  The Department of English is sponsoring the free, public event. More information is available online.

The writer was eating dinner with six friends in Glenville when news came about the 1968 student takeover at Columbia University.  This event ignited a story idea that simmered for decades, pulling from experiences on and off campus and eventually becoming her novel.

Bottom Dog Press published Riders on the Storm, earlier this year. 

“The book is set in Cleveland in the not too distant past— a past that some of us can remember,” said Mary Grimm, chair of the English department and also a novelist.

“At Reserve, I experienced time ratcheting forward as it does in the book: The nature of the world last week was utterly different than it was this week, and there was no going back,” Carpenter said in an interview with English Department staff member Susan Grimm.

Carpenter recalls joining other students and blocking Euclid Avenue to protest the University Circle Development Corporation’s proposed loop highway that would run between “new” dorms and the Main campus.

In Carpenter’s writings, she draws from her many life experiences from a creative writing faculty member at Bluffton University to an anti-poverty worker, health care administrator and independent radio producer.

For almost 20 years she was involved with the Antioch Writers’ Workshop as director, board member and faculty. Now she is assistant professor of English at Bluffton University, specializing in fiction writing.

Honored for her fiction, Carpenter has received an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize nomination and two first-place Westheimer awards from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities for an early version of her novel.

She has published short stories in journals such as The Long Story, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Snake Nation Review, Kalliope, and Crab Orchard Review. Her story “Elk Medicine” appears in The Best of the West ’09, edited by Scott Horton and James Thomas, published by the University of Texas Press. She has also published essays and poetry. See the Department of English interview online.

Posted by: David Wilson, November 12, 2010 10:25 AM | News Topics:

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