Thursday, Feb. 4, fiction writer Tom Williams read selections from his works at the Talon Theatre in Tech’s Foundation Hall.
Dr. Ted Pelton, organizer of the event and English department chair, started the evening by playing The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” to commemorate that this lecture is a part of the TTU English department’s series “Bird is the Word!” which brings writers and scholars from across the country to interact with students on campus. The “Bird is the Word” series is expected to grow with several other events planned for this semester.
“It’s nice to have writers come here and interact with students so that students can realize that authors are just regular people who are engaged with an art form,” Pelton explained. “This kind of forum allows students to see what it means to be a working artist in fiction, and I think it’s terrific to have these kinds of events.” Pelton has been involved with creating events like this for decades and he hopes that students have fun with them too.
After the song and introduction to the series, Williams read an excerpt from his short story collection “Among the Wild Mulattos & Other Tales,” from which he read “Ethnic Studies.”
Patrick Ingrum, junior political science major, stated “I really enjoyed how interesting he was. I like that he picked such a controversial topic, like racism and discrimination, and managed to make it new, fresh and funny. Especially the ending.”
After the reading, Williams took questions from students and he rewarded the ones who participated with free copies of his works. Students asked him questions about his writing process, his inspiration, his writing voice and even writer’s block. Williams said his favorite part of these sessions is getting to be a writer with readers, because the most enthusiastic readers are usually students.
“The most rewarding part is getting to see that there is a reason to get up and work on your fiction each morning; because there is a generation who still reads, who still takes it seriously and still wants to be amused and amazed,” stated Williams.
Williams is the author of three books of fiction: the novella “The Mimic’s Own Voice,” the novel “Don’t Start Me Talkin’” and the short story collection “Among The Wild Mulattos & Other Tales.” The latter work was featured on NPR’s Great Books of 2015 list. He is also an associate editor of American Book Review and chairs the English department at Morehead State University in Kentucky.