‘Read more’: Author Carmen Maria Machado visits UA

Award-winning author Carmen Maria Machada visited campus for a lecture, reading and book signing. 

Emilee Boster, Contributing Writer

Author Carmen Maria Machado, a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, visited The University of Alabama to meet the readers and writers who empathize with her ghostwriting.

 Machado delivered a lecture and hosted a book reading and signing as part of the undergraduate creative writing program’s visiting writers initiative.

“Every audience I’ve had since I’ve gotten [to The University of Alabama] has been really incredible and just so kind and brilliant,” Machado said. “It’s been really lovely to talk to everybody.”

At her “Stories That Stand Still” lecture in the Gorgas Library Camellia Room, Machado sat in the middle of the room surrounded by writers and taught about story movement and theme development. Short stories that have little to no action in the present can still have a plot that moves the story forward through characters’ flashbacks, she said. 

During “An Evening with Carmen Maria Machado” in the UA Student Center Theater, Machado read one of her short stories and signed copies of her published books.

Lanessa Salvatore, a fourth-year graduate student studying creative writing, introduced Machado at the event and shared the personal impact Machado has had on her own creative writing journey.

Machado encouraged Salvatore through her reflective writing, but Salvatore said Machado also personally guided her to attend The University of Alabama’s Master of Fine Arts program. 

“That she is here today is both bittersweet and full circle for me,” Salvatore said. “I feel very lucky that in my last semester of my last year that she happens to be here, and that it’s how I’m finishing out. It’s been a very moving experience.

After welcoming the audience with a “Roll Tide,” Machado read an unpublished short story, which she hopes will be published by a magazine soon.

“It’s always a gift when a writer shares something new with you, especially when it’s unpublished. I think that’s a very vulnerable and kind offering,” said Acie Clark, a graduate student studying creative writing. “Whenever you get to hear one of your favorite writers reading a piece that they love, it adds a different voice to it.”

Machado shared advice for aspiring writers: “Read more. Pursue your dreams.”

To end the day’s events, Machado spoke with students and signed copies of her books “In the Dream House” and “Her Body and Other Parties.”

On Thursday, April 14, the undergraduate creative writing program’s visiting writers initiative will host “An Evening with Hanif Abdurraqib,” where the poet and essayist will read selected works, answer audience questions and sign copies of his books.