Noted Young Novelist is New UW MFA Creative Writing Program Eminent Writer in Residence

August 27, 2010
Rattawut Lapcharoensap
Rattawut Lapcharoensap

One of the top young writers, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, is this fall's first Eminent Writer in Residence at the University of Wyoming.

Author of of the best-selling collection "Sightseeing," Lapcharoensap is in UW's MFA Program in Creative Writing. During his UW residency this semester, he will teach a graduate fiction workshop, visit university classes and meet with students. In 2007, Granta, the magazine for new writing, named Lapcharoensap to its list of "Best of Young American Novelists."

Lapcharoensap will read from his latest fiction at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, at the UW Art Museum, followed by a book signing. The event is free and open to the public.

Born in Chicago and raised in Bangkok, Lapcharoensap studied writing at Cornell University and the University of Michigan. "Sightseeing" was selected for the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" program, won the Asian American Literary Award and was also short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award.

"Sightseeing is as exuberant and effective a story collection as I have read in years," says Alyson Hagy, an MFA Program faculty member "If you combine Rattawut's fiction with his reputation as a generous and curious teacher and his energetic explorations of several cultures, you come up with a young writer who is a perfect fit for Wyoming's innovative creative writing program.

MFA student Stella Soto says Rattawut represents to young aspiring writers, "What we hope for in our own careers. To create good, heart-breaking, funny prose with a distinct and refreshing literary voice.

"I personally love the way his work represents a very contemporary blending of cultures. As a minority student, it is fascinating to me to watch writers work with a foot in two worlds like Rattawut does," she says.

Lapcharoensap's residency will be followed by two more Eminent Writers this year -- the poets Jan Zwicky and Robert Bringhurst in late September and the celebrated nonfiction writer Rebecca Solnit in January. Previous Eminent Writers in Residence have included Edward P. Jones, Philip Gourevitch, Claudia Rankine and Joy Williams.

For more information about Lapcharoensap's reading and the Eminent Writer in Residence Program, visit the MFA Web site at or e-mail Beth Loffreda, MFA Program director, at


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