Alissa Nutting reads a selection of her work at the event. (Northern Review photo/ Kasy Long).

Ohio Northern University creative writing students Tessa Cross and Ricki Ervin showcased their latest works and other students got helpful advice about the literary-writing process from a visiting guest writer during the first reading event in October for the English Department’s Fall Reading Series.

Alissa Nutting is an assistant professor of creative writing and English literature at John Carroll University. She is the author of the short story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls and her debut novel, Tampa. She is currently working on her second novel.

For the reading, Nutting chose to present an excerpt from her work-in-progress novel, which focuses on a young woman who returns to her father’s house after divorcing from her husband. She finds that her father purchased a full-size doll for companionship and other adult activities. The excerpt was comical, with the entire group of listeners laughing at the situations in the reading.

“At least I know people like my stuff,” Nutting jokingly added after she finished her reading.

Creative writing students and faculty members asked Nutting questions about her approach to the writing process after she completed the reading.

She explained, “Writing is very hard. But you begin with writing the book for two or more years, and then it’s time to hire an agent and send it off to a publisher. It’s a scary moment, but it’s also a relief that you have finally reached that moment after working so long.”

I had the privilege to work with Nutting during an individual one- on-one workshop on October 16. She offered advice for a fictional piece that I am currently trying to publish. She definitely knows about the writing world, and as an inspiring writer myself, I appreciated her words of wisdom.

“Writing is extremely hard, but if you try to write every day and focus on improving your stories, you can be an accomplished writer, too,” Nutting said.

The English Department’s other reading series event for the fall semester included Polaris Literary Magazine’s annual Scary Rapid Fire Reading for Halloween and visiting poets Christopher DeWeese and Heather Christle in December.

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