The 2012-2013 Visiting Writers Series Featured Authors Paula Priamos and James Brown

November 26, 2012

The 2012-2013 Visiting Writers Series featured authors Paula Priamos and James Brown on November 1st, 2012, at California State University, Long Beach’s Soroptomist House. Priamos read the first chapter of her recently published memoir The Shyster’s Daughter (Etruscan Press, 2012), and Brown read excerpts from his acclaimed memoir This River (Counterpoint, 2011). Following their readings, audience members asked Priamos and Brown several questions about their creative processes and approaches to writing memoirs. Click here to view Priamos’s and Brown’s readings as well as the Q & A session.

Priamos graduated with her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from CSULB in 2003. Since then, she has worked diligently on her writing, which has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and the prestigious west coast literary journal ZYZZYVA. New York Times bestselling author Will Allison said the following about Priamos’s first book The Shyster’s Daughter:

In her gripping, big-hearted, and sometimes harrowing memoir, Paula Priamos searches for meaning in the life—and mysterious death—of her beloved, larger-than-life father. Along the way, Priamos proves herself to be not only a keen observer of the ways we love and bear loss, but also a first-rate storyteller. The Shyster’s Daughter will be with me for a long time.

Brown graduated with his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, Irvine. So far, his books include: Hot wire, Final Performance, Lucky Town, and Second Story Theatre & Two Encores. He has written the following two memoirs: This River and The Los Angeles Diaries. Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried (Mariner Books, 2009), has called The Los Angeles Diaries “[i]ncredibly moving. One of those rare memoirs that cuts deeply, chillingly into the reader’s own dreams. It’s a dramatic, vivid, heartbreaking, very personal story of human responsibility and guilt, and of the uncertainties and ambiguities of a writer’s life in modern America.” Brown has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction Writing and the Nelson Algren Award in Short Fiction. His writings have been featured in numerous publications, including The LA Times Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Esquire, Ploughshares, and The New England Quarterly.

Brown helped found and create the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at California State University, San Bernadino, and both he and Priamos teach at CSUSB.

The Visiting Writers Series has been a tradition at CSULB for decades, hosting many of the country’s most prominent writers. The 2012-2013 series is really something special because it welcomes back graduates of CSULB’s Creative Writing M.F.A. program who are now out in the world writing and publishing books.

All readings in the 2012-2013 Visiting Writers Series are co-sponsored by CSULB’s Department of English, English Students’ Association (ESA), HipPoetics Creative Writing Club, and Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.

L-R: James Brown, Paula Priamos, and Stephen Cooper

Photo by Michael Kimoto


Information courtesy of Dr. Stephen Cooper of the Department of English  

Compiled and edited by Cortney Smethurst