Author Bret Lott Named Sams Distinguished Writer in Residence


MACON – Bret Lott has been named the 2012 Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Writer in Residence at Mercer University. An established author and essayist, Lott is currently a professor in the Department of English at the College of Charleston. As part of his appointment, Lott will be in residence at Mercer March 19-April 30, teaching a course for undergraduates.

During his residency, he will give several presentations and readings. On Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Newton Chapel, Lott will be interviewed by Dr. Scott Walker, executive director of Mercer’s Center for Life Purpose and Lott’s former pastor. Lott will also offer a discussion on the craft of fiction writing, titled “On Precision,” on March 27 at 7 p.m. in the Medical School Auditorium. Finally, Lott will offer a reading of a nonfiction piece, titled “At Some Point in the Future What Has Not Happened Will Be in the Past,” on April 10 at 7 p.m. in the Medical School Auditorium.

Lott’s most recent novel, Dead Low Tide, was published in January. He is known nationwide for his novel, Jewel, which was originally published in 1991 and was reissued in 1999 when Oprah Winfrey chose it for her book club. With the success of Jewel, Lott had many of his novels reissued. Lott has also written the novels Ancient Highway (2008), A Song I Knew By Heart (2005) and The Hunt Club (1998). In addition to his 11 books of fiction, Lott has published two books of nonfiction and edited three anthologies — Eyes to See, Not Safe But Good: Stories Sharpened by Faith and A Year in Place. In 2005, Ballantine Books published his memoir, Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer’s Life.
“Bret is a good fit for our community because of three things that Dr. Ferrol Sams and the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, which endows this writing residency, prizes, and that all Mercerians prize – hope, work and family, which Bret honors in his writing,” said Dr. Gordon Johnston, professor of English and coordinator of the Sams Chair program. “At a time when fiction is largely concerned with characters who are neurotic, paralyzed by self-consciousness or ‘ironized’ to within an inch of their lives, Bret has chosen to write about blue collar people, working people. People who have to sort through their personal lives and problems while working to pay bills, raise kids and put food on the table.”

For two decades he has been a celebrated teacher at the College of Charleston, and he has also taught at Vermont College, the Bennington Writing Workshops and Seattle Pacific University. Lott has edited two nationally recognized literary magazines: The Southern Review from 2004-2008 and Crazyhorse from 2001-2004.

About the Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Writer in Residence:
Established in 1993, the Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Writer in Residence brings a nationally prominent fiction writer, poet or dramatist to Mercer each spring to teach creative writing and highlight the literary arts.  Made possible by a major grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, this endowed chair honors Dr. Ferrol A. Sams Jr., a physician, author and distinguished alumnus of the College of Liberal Arts, whose many works include Run with the Horsemen, The Whisper of the River, and Down Town.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus — and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program.
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