Lorraine López’s new novel, The Realm of Hungry Spirits, published by Hachette

Lorraine López’ new novel, The Realm of Hungry Spirits, was recently published by Hachette.  

About the novel:

For Marina Lucero, whose father transformed his life through meditation and whose mother gave hers to a Carmelite convent, spirituality should come easily. It doesn’t. After a devastating relationship leaves her feeling lost and alone, she opens her home to a collection of wayward souls– the abused woman next door and her alcoholic sister, her aimless nephew and his broken-hearted best friend. Her house now full but her heart still empty, Marina then turns to the wisdom of Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, even a Santeria priest who wants to cleanse her home.

As Marina struggles to balance the disappointments and delights of daily life, she’ll learn that, when it comes to inner peace and those we love, a little chaos can lead to a lot of happiness.

Early reviews:

“López imagines believable characters and observes their world with literary insight. An entertaining appreciation of one woman’s journey, sometimes ribald and funny, sometimes ironic and self-deprecating.” (Kirkus Reviews )

“This story of a faith-propelled, irrepressible Chicana bursts with life as it comes to an eminently satisfying, all-encompassing conclusion. López, author of The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters (2008), shows good storytelling skills once again.” (Booklist )

“Through snappy dialogue and rich detail, López (The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters) creates characters who are lovable even at their most irritating, and the perpetually ridiculous demands of Marina’s ‘hungry spirits’ provide moments of hilarious dark comedy.” (Publishers Weekly )

Poems by Cundieff-Pexa recognized

Second year MFA poetry student Melissa Cundieff-Pexa’s poem, “Prelude for Wren,” was runner up in the Iron Horse Literary Review‘s Discovered Voices Competition.  The poem appears in the current issue.   Winners of the competition receive a small cash prize and free advertising for any book they publish within the next two years.

Cundieff-Pexa’s poems, “Postscript” and “Dear Richard Hugo,” will appear in the winter issue of The Coachella Review and “Ars Poetica” is in the current issue of Fairy Tale Review.

Poems by Mark Jarman featured on The Writers Almanac & Poem-A-Day

The Writer’s Almanac

On March 17,  during his daily radio program, The Writer’s Almanac, Garrison Keillor read a poem by Vanderbilt’s Mark Jarman.    The poem, “Prayer for Our Daughters,” appears in Jarman’s most recent collection,  Bone Fires:  New and Selected Poems.

The Writer’s Almanac usually features short observations about and anecdotes from the lives of writers whose birthdays coincide with the broadcast, and it takes note of other historical or literary events that have occurred that day.  Then Mr. Keillor rounds out his broadcast with a poem, which he has chosen.  Podcasts of the broadcast are available on line.

Poem-A-Day

On April 5, Poem-A-Day, the Academy of American Poets daily selection, featured the poem  “Dispatches from Devereux Slough,” also by Mark Jarman, also in Bone Fires.


Garrison Keillor is going to read a poem of mine on the Writers Almanac on March 17.  The poem is “Prayer for Our Daughters” and it’s in Bone Fires:  New and Selected Poems.  I just heard yesterday about it.  Could we post this on the website?

Garrison Keillor is going to read a poem of mine on the Writers Almanac on March 17.  The poem is “Prayer for Our Daughters” and it’s in Bone Fires:  New and Selected Poems.  I just heard yesterday about it.  Could we post this on the website?

Garrison Keillor is going to read a poem of mine on the Writers Almanac on March 17.  The poem is “Prayer for Our Daughters” and it’s in Bone Fires:  New and Selected Poems.  I just heard yesterday about it.  Could we post this on the website?

Other recent faculty publications

Mark Jarman’s Bone Fires

Mark Jarman, Director of the Creative Writing Program at Vanderbilt, has given an interview with Maria Browning for Chapter 16, a publication of Humanities Tennessee.  In that interview, he talks about, among other topics, the process of putting together his recently published collection of new and selected poems, entitled Bone Fires, and about some of the autobiographical and spiritual concerns that inform his work.

Kate Daniels’ A Walk in Victoria’s Secret

Tony Earley New Member of Fellowship of Southern Writers

Vanderbilt fiction writer Tony Earley has been elected a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.   The news comes just a few weeks after the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ 2011 Hanes Award for outstanding literary achievement by a Southern poet went to Vanderbilt poet Kate Daniels.

The Fellowship of Southern Writers (FSW), founded in 1987 by a group of distinguished Southern writers, claims as its purpose to recognize and encourage literature in the South.  FSW founding members included: Cleanth Brooks, Fred Chappell, James Dickey, Shelby Foote, John Hope Franklin, Walker Percy, Reynolds Price, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, and C. Vann Woodward.

The Fellowship is composed of 50 active members.  To be considered for membership a writer must have been born and raised, or have resided for a significant part of his or her life in the South (or have written works that in character and spirit embody aspects of the Southern experience).  Current members of FSW include: Madison Smartt Bell, Wendell Berry, Rita Dove, Gail Godwin, Allan Gurganus, Mary Lee Settle, Dave Smith, Eleanor Ross Taylor, Henry Taylor, and Charles Wright.

Earley has written four books, including two novels, Jim the Boy and The Blue Star, a short story collection, Here We Are In Paradise, and a collection of personal essays, Somehow Form a Family. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Story, Harper’s, Granta, Esquire, Witness and TriQuarterly; and they have been anthologized in New Stories from the South, The Scribner’s Anthology of Short Fiction, Best American Short Stories, among other collections. Named by Granta as one of the twenty best young American novelists in 1997 and by the The New Yorker as one of twenty writers to watch in the twenty-first century in 1999, Earley won a National Magazine Award for his short story “The Prophet from Jupiter” and the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. He received his BA from the Warren Wilson College and his MFA from the University of Alabama. He is the Samuel Milton Fleming Professor of English at Vanderbilt.