Visiting Writers Series to feature Smith on Tuesday


Michael Farris Smith is a 1994 MSU communication graduate. PHOTO: Chris Jenkins | Mississippi University for Women

Mississippi State's English department welcomes university alumnus Michael Farris Smith of Columbus as the first guest for the 2013-14 Visiting Writers Series.

Smith will read selections from "Rivers" on Tuesday [Oct. 22]. The 352-page novel, published by Simon & Schuster, is set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after a climate shift that followed 2005's massive Hurricane Katrina.

At the free public presentation, the associate professor of English at Mississippi University for Women will read at 7:30 p.m. in McCool Hall's Rogers Auditorium. Copies of the book will be for sale before and after the reading.

"'Rivers' is getting rave reviews, and Booklist says 'Smith's canvas is broader and the story even more riveting (than his award-winning short stories),'" said Becky Hagenston, MSU associate professor of English. "This particular reading is a chance to not only hear some powerful fiction and buy a terrific book, but also to meet a talented local writer and MSU alum who is earning well-deserved success."

Smith, a 1994 MSU communication graduate, earned his master's degree from William Carey College, now a university, and his doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi.

The native Mississippian has received several literary recognitions, including a Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, Transatlantic Review Award for Fiction and Brick Streets Press Short Story Award.

Smith's short fiction also has been nominated twice for the national Pushcart Prize and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, among others. Limited first edition copies of his debut novella, "The Hands of Strangers," are available from Main Street Rag Publishing in Charlotte, N.C. For more, visit

"The English department's Visiting Writers Series brings in poets and fiction writers from all over the country," Hagenston said. "These readings are great opportunities for students -- and everyone -- to discover new writers, learn more about their work, meet them and, of course, buy their books.

"We're really lucky to get Michael Farris Smith this semester," she continued.

For more information about the program, contact Hagenston at 662-325-3644 or

Learn more about MSU's Visiting Writers Series at

Leah Barbour | Public Affairs

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