‘Normal’ Authors Explore Narratives of Family, Growth, and Identity

Angela Morales and Bich Minh Nguyen

By Jefferson Beavers

Authors Beth Bich Minh Nguyen and Angela Morales will read from their work at The Normal School fall reading event on Friday, Dec. 7, inside The Backroom at The Revue coffee bar, 620 E. Olive Ave.

The authors are returning to Fresno after teaching this past summer in The Normal School’s Creative Nonfiction Workshop and Publishing Institute, as part of CSU Summer Arts. The Normal School is the nationally distributed literary magazine of the Fresno State Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing.

The evening will feature readings from each of the authors’ latest works, followed by a book signing. The Normal School reading is free and open to the public.

Nguyen is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she won Hopwood awards in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She is the author of the novels Pioneer Girl and Short Girls, and the memoir Stealing Buddha’s Dinner. Her works revolve around issues of family, identity, and Americanization. She has received an American Book Award and a PEN/Jerard Award, among other honors, and her writings have been featured in numerous anthologies and university and community reading programs.

She teaches fiction and creative nonfiction in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. Nguyen is working on her next book, Owner of a Lonely Heart, a collection of essays about high school, music, and the Midwest.

Morales earned her MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and is the author of The Girls in My Town, a collection of personal essays revolving around family, womanhood, loss and longing, truth and beauty. Her book won the 2017 PEN Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Her writings have appeared in several anthologies and in Best American Essays 2013, Harvard Review, The Southern Review, The Southwest Review, and others. She won the River Teeth Book Prize in 2014, and she has received fellowships from the Yaddo artists’ community and The MacDowell Colony for artists.

She teaches composition and creative writing at Glendale Community College and is working on her second collection of essays.

Founded in 2008, The Normal School is organized by Professor Steven Church, who is a founding editor of the magazine. Graduate students from the Fresno State MFA program serve as the magazine’s staff. Visit The Normal School online to subscribe. For more information about the reading, call 559.278.1569.

(Master of Fine Arts Program graduate assistant Nou Her contributed to this report.)

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