Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writer Series hosts talk with award-winning novelist


Alana Auber / Hilltop Views

Jennifer duBois speaks to students in Carter Auditorium about all things writing. Along with being an award-winning author, duBois also teaches at Texas State University in the Masters of Fine Arts program.

Students and faculty across various majors gathered to hear Jennifer duBois, the recipient of a 2013 Whiting Writer’s Award and 2012 National Book Foundations 5 Under 25 Award, read from her recently published novel and answer questions about being an author.

duBois spoke on Oct. 16 in Carter Auditorium as the first author of The Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writer Series this year. Every semester, two authors from different genres visit campus to showcase  their work and discuss their experiences as a writer.

Mary Helen Specht, a fiction professor and the director of the series this year, feels that it’s important for students to see a wider variety of writers on campus. 

“The Visiting Writer Series allows us to bring in people that are very different…to visit with the students and to give [them] a different perspective [on writing].,” Specht said. 

Specht met duBois through the local writing community. They are also in a writing group together in which they share work and sing praises about each other. “We’ve known each other for years,” duBois said. “It was a great invitation.”

duBois started the event by reading a section from the first chapter of her recently published novel, “The Spectators.” The audience listened intently as she read, going back to 1993 as Cel, the protagonist, visits a bar with her roommate and attempts flirting with a few men.

After the reading, Specht interviewed duBois and asked about her writing process and craft choices for the book. The audience was eager to understand how she wrote from various perspectives, timelines and mindsets different from her own. duBois provided insight on the process, admitting that her book was difficult to write on many levels, but she enjoyed the research and writing she did throughout.

duBois enjoys writing about circumstances that are different from her own. 

“I like writing books that have different points of view, so I get to inhabit different character’s minds,” she said. “That’s really the great fun for me of the whole project of fiction writing, those imaginative leaps.”

After the event, students had the opportunity to purchase duBois’ book and speak with her. 

“She seemed really approachable, and I liked hearing about her process,” writing major Ysi Colter said. “So, hearing her process and her perspective on the process was really interesting and helpful.”

The next Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writer Series featuring poet Ada Limon takes place Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. in Carter Auditorium.