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Craft Lecture: The Mystery of the Story

Tea Obreht, Zell Visiting Writers Series
Friday, October 16, 2020
10:00-11:00 AM
https://tinyurl.com/ZellWriters Off Campus Location
This craft lecture will center on how every story is actually a mystery, the telling of which is dependent on a pact of exchange between writer and reader. Techniques of withholding and misdirection help us keep suspense alive in literary fiction.


Tea Obreht’s New York Times bestselling novel, Inland, is grounded in true but little-known history of the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893. Mythical, lyrical, and sweeping in scope, the novel subverts and reimagines the myths of the American West.

Arriving onto the literary scene with her first bestselling novel, The Tiger’s Wife, Téa Obreht writes fiction that explores themes of narrative, myth and memory. Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Obreht’s stunning debut novel links the past and present by stories and anecdotes in an unnamed Balkan country mending from war. Rapturously received, The Tiger’s Wife won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction, was a 2011 National Book Award finalist, was an international bestseller, and was named one of the best books of the year by numerous publications including The New York Times Book Review, Publisher's Weekly, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and O: The Oprah Magazine.

In Inland, Obreht's second novel, Obreht takes on the sweeping mythology of the American West, reimagining myths and forging new truths about the American West. An Editor's Choice, T he New York Times Book Review praised Inland, "Obreht’s simple but rich prose captures and luxuriates in the West’s beauty and sudden menace. Remarkable in a novel with such a sprawling cast, Obreht also has a poetic touch for writing intricate and precise character descriptions.” The book was named among President Obama’s summer reading list for 2019.

Obreht's work has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Non-Required Reading, and has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Atlantic, Vogue, Esquire and Zoetrope: All-Story, among many others. A recipient of fellowships from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library and the National Endowment for the Arts, Obreht. was named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty. She lives in New York with her husband, and teaches at Hunter College.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Storytelling, Writing
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Zell Visiting Writers Series, Residential College, English Language & Literature - MFA Program in Creative Writing, University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers' Program, Department of English Language and Literature