A Grab-Bag of Writing Styles at Gulf Coast Reading Series

Funny fiction will be among the offerings at Brazos Bookstore next week as the University of Houston Creative Writing Program continues its Gulf Coast Reading Series with a grab-bag of literary styles. "There should be a good mix, that's really the idea," said Associate Gulf Coast Fiction editor Zach Smith. "So people are getting a bit of everything, literature-wise."

The audience assembled at Brazos Bookstore on January 21 will hear from Australian-born fiction writer Colin Garretson, poet (and MyDaily Deals moonlighter) Caitlin Plunkett, and fiction writer Zach Martin, who said he'll likely read some of his funnier works, which have been published in the likes of McSweeney's and boast titles including A Letter From Bernie Madoff to Prospective Shareholders of Madoff Securities, Federal Correctional Division, The Modern Obsessive Compulsive Hypochondriacal Gentleman's Guide to Style, and Arthur Neville Chamberlain Answers the Information Technology Help Desk Hotline.

Rebecca Wadinger, managing editor of Gulf Coast and the series' organizer says she knows the writers' aesthetics from being around the program, and she tries to attract a range of readers. This group is exciting, she says, because Martin has a very strong presence as a reader. Wadinger calls Plunkett, a poet who writes about rural areas, "a really beautiful writer." And though she hasn't heard wild-card Garretson read, Wadinger says he comes with a pedigree: He has history and English degrees from UPenn, he's taught in Germany and has a master's in history from Stanford.

If you can't make it to Brazos, check out Gulf Coast's lively website and blog, which contains twice-weekly dispatches from the literary world. We enjoyed Martin's recent post on The Failure of the Campus Novel, and suggested he do a followup featuring our own Rice University-set fave, All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers by Larry McMurtry.

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Jenny Staff Johnson