Stanford Writers in Conversation: An Evening with Tom Kealey

Sponsored by Continuing Studies


Thursday, May 25, 2017
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
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Terrace Room, Margaret Jacks Hall (Bldg. 460, Rm. 426)
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Each program in this series will bring to center stage a distinguished author from the Stanford community. We will discuss a fiction writer’s process—from the genesis of an idea, to the nuts and bolts of the prose’s inner workings, to the editing and publication process—and engage the local community in a lively question-and-answer session. The program will be hosted by Sara Houghteling, former Nancy Packer Lecturer in Continuing Studies.

An Evening with Tom Kealey

Please join us for an evening with one of Stanford’s most beloved lecturers in creative writing, Tom Kealey, as he discusses his debut book, the award-winning short story collection Thieves I’ve Known (2013). Here, Kealey chronicles the struggles and triumphs of the young and marginalized as they discover many ways of growing up. His characters are unforgettable: boxers in training, the children of fishermen, altar boys in a poverty-stricken parish. They are assistant groundskeepers and assistant camel-keepers. They travel with the circus, care for disabled siblings, steal police cars, and retrieve the stolen boots of a priest. Their hardscrabble stories are rendered with humor, suspense, and a wonderful hint of the magical and strange. Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Prize, and selected as one of NPR’s Best Reads of 2013, Stephen Elliott of The Rumpus calls Thieves I’ve Known, “astonishing,” and Lysley Tenorio writes, “mesmerizing . . . one of the most moving, most beautifully written books I’ve read in years.”

Over the course of the evening, Kealey will discuss the essential tools of the writer’s craft—dialogue, plot, point of view—as well as share his personal insights into the process of adapting fiction into film and writing in a range of genres (from graphic novels to sci-fi). Avid readers and aspiring writers alike will gain fresh insights into the art of fiction during this engaging discussion with one of this generation’s finest new literary voices.

Tom Kealey, Lecturer in Fiction, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Tom Kealey is the author of The Creative Writing MFA Handbook. In addition to receiving the Flannery O’Connor Award, his work has appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, Story Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, the San Francisco Chronicle, Poets and Writers, and elsewhere. He also oversees the on-campus creative writing curriculum for Stanford Continuing Studies. Kealey received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts. 

Sara Houghteling, Former Nancy Packer Lecturer in Continuing Studies, Stanford

Sara Houghteling is the author of Pictures at an Exhibition, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2009 Book, and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship, an NEA Fellowship, a Camargo Fellowship, the Ribalow Prize, and the Wallant Award. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Narrative, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Houghteling received an MFA from the University of Michigan.

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Free and open to the public.

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