A Look at Terese Svoboda, the 2010 Michael Rubin Book Award Judge

Terese Svoboda, this year’s judge of the Michael Rubin Book Award, is the author of several award-winning literary feats including (but not limited to) Pirate Talk or Mermalade, Laughing Africa, Cannibal, and Black Glasses like Clark Kent.

Laughing Africa won the Iowa Poetry Prize and was featured in the New York Times Book Review. Cannibal won the Bobst Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writer’s Award. It was also one of the top 10 books of the year by Spin magazine. Black Glasses like Clark Kent won the Graywold Nonfiction Prize.

Svoboda’s works have appeared in the The New Yorker, Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Slate.com, Bomb, Lit, Columbia, Yale Review and The Paris Review.

She is the eldest of nine children, born in a small town to a family of farmers. Before receiving her MFA from Columbia, Svoboda filmed dance in the Cook Islands and traveled to Sudan, living with the Nuer people. Her experience there has colored much of her more recent works, such as Cannibal. Read more about her life on her website.

As a writer, Svoboda holds three things in high regards: the power of sound, truth, and connections. During an interview with Shya Scanlon on HTMLGiant, she spoke at length about her belief that the meaning of words is intricately tied to their sound. Through compression she brings this out, writing mostly in five-page sections, something she shares in common with this year's winner of the Michael Rubin Book Award.

As for the truth, Svoboda believes “the author has a responsibility to write toward understanding. We have enough confusion in life, why increase it? Confusion is not the same as complexity. Exposing the truth hidden under all the layers of complexity is a very good goal.”

To get the limited-edition book Svoboda says "takes fiction apart with the hammer of poetry, forcing her astonished readers to 'defy all expectation...'", join us at the Space Gallery on Thursday Nov. 4 to celebrate the release of Everything Faces All Ways at Once by Zulema Renee Summerfield. It will be epic.

-Rose Booker, staff member, Fourteen Hills

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