Northeast Pennsylvania native Sara Pritchard will read from her new collection of stories, Help Wanted: Female, at an event marking the book’s publication on Thursday, June 20 at Wilkes University. The event, sponsored by Etruscan Press and the Wilkes University Graduate Creative Writing Program, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Kirby Salon of Kirby Hall on the University campus. Pritchard will read at about 4:30 p.m. She will be joined by her husband, Kevin Oderman, who will read from his novel, White Vespa, which was published in 2012 by Etruscan Press. The event is free and open to the public.
Pritchard, a member of the faculty in the Wilkes creative writing program, is the author of the novel-in-stories, Crackpots, winner of the Bakeless Prize for Fiction in 2002 and a 2003 New York Times Notable Book of the Year. In 2007, she published the critically acclaimed linked-story collection, Lately. Her stories have been published in many literary magazines, including Green Mountains Review, Tusculum Review, Arts & Letters, Northwest Review, Chattahoochee Review, Bellingham Review, Spittoon, and New Letters. Her story “Two Studies in Entropy,” one of the stories in the new collection, won the New Letters Alexander Cappon Award for Fiction and the Readers’ Choice Award in 2008, and a Pushcart Prize in 2009.
The ten stories in Help Wanted: Female depict mostly women—young and old—needing and/or offering help in many forms. From the opening story—“Two Studies in Entropy”—where a woman inadvertently blows up her house by setting off flea bombs and failing to extinguish the pilot light on her furnace—to the melancholy “The Man In The Woods,” where an elderly widower confronts his worst nightmare, the stories explore family secrets, anger management, grief, depression, alienation, loss, love, devotion and the secret life of dogs. Pritchard’s stories almost always have comic relief, even when they’re terrifying, and she writes with memorable imagery and deep empathy for her characters, human and canine.
Pritchard was the Thornton Writer-in-Residence at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va., during Fall 2012. Born in the Hazleton area and with strong ties to the Wyoming Valley, Pritchard graduated from Susquehanna University with a bachelor’s degree in English and earned the Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction from West Virginia University. She is married to writer Kevin Oderman, who also teaches in the Wilkes program, and they make their home in Morgantown, W. Va.
Oderman, who joins Pritchard at the reading, also teaches in the Wilkes creative writing program and is a professor of English at West Virginia University. In his novel, White Vespa, an American ex-patriot hopes to quell his grief for a long lost son in the stillness of his photographs of the Dodecanese Islands of Greece. Oderman frequently incorporates his own travel experiences into his work. His first novel, Going, grew out of those experiences, and his literary nonfiction about travel is being gathered into a volume, Cannot Stay. He has lived abroad as a Fulbright Fellow, teaching at Aristotle University in Thessalonki, Greece, and at Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan.
About Etruscan Press
Etruscan Press, an affiliate of Wilkes University, is a nonprofit cooperative of poets and writers working to produce and promote books that nurture the dialogue among genres, achieve a distinctive voice, and reshape the literary and cultural history of which we are a part. Founded in 2001 with initial funding from the Oristaglio Foundation, the press publishes five to six literary works each year in the genres of poetry, creative nonfiction, essay, translation and fiction. To date, 40 titles have been published, 29 of them carrying the Wilkes University logo. Since its inception, three Etruscan Press publications have been finalists for the National Book Award. Visit their Web site at www.etruscanpress.org.
About Wilkes University Graduate Creative Writing Program
The Wilkes University Creative Writing Program is an accredited, nationally recognized program offering both an M.A. and an M.F.A. in creative writing with five areas of concentration: fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting and playwriting. A low-residency program, students spend eight-day residencies in January and June on campus and complete the project semesters online. For more information, please visit http://wilkes.edu/pages/creativewriting or call 570-408-4527.