UPJ writing department wraps up 2022 fall reading series

Josalyn McMillan, Editor-in-Chief

Faculty from the Pitt-Johnstown Writing Department wrapped up their 2022 Fall Reading Series on Thursday, Oct. 27. Novelist Patrick McGinty, the third visiting author this semester, presented a master class on “Six Encouragements for Writing Scenes.” Afterwards, McGinty performed a reading from his debut novel Test Drive. The event was followed by a Q&A and book-signing.

McGinty is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Writing at Slippery Rock University. He currently teaches critical writing and will teach fiction writing in the spring. In addition to his 2022 novel, McGinty’s fiction and essays have appeared in publications such as ZYZZYVA, The New Inquiry, Jacobin, and more.

Following Test Drive’s launch party at White Whale Bookstore in Pittsburgh, Pa., McGinty toured a variety of states over the summer and spoke in person and on podcasts about his book and his research on the self-driving car industry.

The annual Fall Reading Series is hosted by Marissa Landrigan, a Professor of Writing and Multimedia and Digital Culture at UPJ. She has organized the event series since taking the reins in 2020. Every fall, Landrigan and her colleagues in the writing department invite three writers, one non-fiction, one fiction, and one poet, to read from their work and hold a masterclass. They search for writers in and around the western Pennsylvania region who have published books in those genres within the last year or two. Over the summer, Landrigan reached out to McGinty and invited him to speak as the visiting fiction writer this fall.

During each masterclass, the visiting writer either presents a lecture or a workshop. Sometimes, the visitors will examine pieces of writing and analyze them with the audience, and sometimes, they will walk the audience through a series of writing prompts to guide and inspire them. This is a great opportunity for students to be able to have a conversation with a publishing author about honing their craft.

In the spring, the Writing Department will hold another installment of the Esther Goldhaber Jacovitz Poetry Series where a nationally recognized poet will be invited to speak.