Friday, June 9, 2017

Alan Drew

Alan Drew’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Gardens of Water, has been translated into ten languages and published in nearly two-dozen countries. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a Teaching/Writing Fellowship. An Associate Professor of English at Villanova University where he directs the creative writing program, he lives near Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

Drew's new novel is Shadow Man.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I run the literary festival at Villanova University, so in the spring I start reading books from authors I admire and might like to bring to campus. I’m currently reading, Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. This is a collection of short stories about Nigerian immigrants and their families, which is set both in America and Africa. There’s an element of magical realism here and stories which work as science fiction parables, but mostly these stories have moments of incredible emotional resonance and insight that often leave me incredibly moved.

I just finished teaching Jennifer Haigh’s Heat & Light, which is set in a central Pennsylvania town that is profoundly altered by natural gas fracking. Haigh is an incredible writer, with beautiful, richly nuanced sentences. But what really stands out here is her ability to enter into the points of view of 15+ characters, all with their own distinctive voice and narrative arc. A truly stunning feat of writing.

I’m doing some research for my next novel, which will be a follow up to Shadow Man. In the next book, I want to explore the intersection of a couple of developments in the Orange County of the 1980s: the growing Vietnamese refugee population and the rise of the skinhead neo-Nazi movement. I grew up next to the now closed El Toro marine air station. El Toro was the first landing point for many Vietnamese escaping the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War. The story of how the first wave of refugees escaped Saigon is harrowing and little told. But a book titled, The Lucky Few by Jan K. Herman chronicles this escape, focusing on the amazing story of the USS Kirk, a destroyer on which escaping Vietnamese military pilots landed their helicopters far out in the Pacific Ocean, unloading their families on the ship in hopes of a better life elsewhere.

Dipping into the door-stopper text book Forensic Science, An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques 3rd Edition, edited by Stuart H. James and Jon J. Nordby. I need to understand how DNA evidence works, so it’s school for me.
Visit Alan Drew's website.

My Book, The Movie: Shadow Man.

--Marshal Zeringue