A USM professor and author launches his first poetic novel
Fri, 03/25/2022 – 09:57 | From: David Tisdale
Dr. Olivia Clare Friedman, Nina Bell Suggs Endowed Professor at the Center for Writers, housed in the School of Humanities English Program at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), published her first novel this month. poetically titled, Here lies (Grove Atlantic, March 2022). A book launch celebration, where she will read and sign copies, will be held at The Author Shoppe (140 E. Front St.) on Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m. in downtown Hattiesburg.
Dr. Friedman’s debut novel delves into grief, memory, and motherhood in an alternate Louisiana ravaged by climate change.
“Here lies is a book about the effects of climate change. It’s about mourning and mourning rituals, yes, and it’s also hopeful. It’s about mourning the dead and being alive,” Dr. Friedman said. “The inspiration to write it came from a conversation with a friend about this ‘what if’ idea of government mandated cremation, and she had a really big reaction. I had struck a chord That’s when I knew I wanted to write about it.
As for the novel’s plot, Dr. Friedman says she knew she wanted to focus the story on one specific person.
“That’s where the emotional resonance for me really comes from – that attachment to the character. My main character, Alma, started to take shape and become a living person. I already miss writing to her,” he said. -she adds.
The experience of writing his first novel is a dream come true that will forever be etched in Dr. Friedman’s memory.
“My family have been very supportive of me, as I wrote most of this book when my daughter, who is now 2½, was a baby. It was and is a special time for me and my husband,” she said. “The publication of this novel is definitely a dream come true of mine.”
Kai Harris of The New York Times Book Review praised the novel and wrote, “[The
reader] becomes immersed in the layered, luscious prose of Friedman, the vibrant colors of Alma’s world, the flowers so real you could smell their rank, the air overflowing with sweet, candied stench.
Dr. Friedman will share her expertise as a speaker at the 2022 Tennessee Williams and New Orleans Literary Festival on March 26 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and will participate in two literary discussions. The first is titled “Staking a Claim: Debut Novelists”, where she will discuss with three other debuting authors how the characters in their novels fight climate change, racism, displacement and supernatural forces to make room for themselves and their families. The second is titled “Trying to Wash Us Away: Coastal Erosion and Climate Change”, where she will discuss with two other authors the process of writing about the pressing issues of climate change and its human cost in fiction and non-fiction. .
Dr. Friedman is the author of the collection of stories, Disasters in the first world (Grove Press/Black Cat, 2017) and the collection of poetry, The 26 hour day (Emerging Issues, 2015).
His fiction appeared in The Paris review, The O. Henry Prize Stories, Grantaand McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, among other publications. She is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and the Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship from Colgate University.
To learn more about Dr. Friedman and his novel, visit him personal website.