MFA alumna Susan Woodring publishes second novel to critical acclaim
When Susan Woodring began her studies in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Queens in January 2002, she had just quit her job as a middle school teacher. After a creative writing course at a community college the year before, Woodring knew she wanted to write full-time, but she also knew that she needed instruction and feedback on her work.
"I began dreaming my writer-dreams at age eight, but it was at Queens that I began to live the writer's life in earnest," she said in a recent interview. "Besides the two years of workshops and all of the insights and encouragement I learned from instructors such as Jonathan Dee and Elissa Schappell, I learned a great deal about how to read and really see my own work. Queens helped me develop a crucial aspect of the writing life I'm still developing: the critique's eye."
Now, 10 years after joining the program, Woodring's second novel Goliath has been published by St. Martin's Press to critical acclaim. Goliath is a story of secrets and grief, of loss and love, of forgiveness and letting go, in a small North Carolina town that's threatened by the closing of the furniture factory that is the town's economic core and its very soul. Brett Lott, the best-selling author of Jewel, calls Goliath "a beautiful and quietly moving story," while the novelist Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury," calls it "a beautiful portrait of a place and people, rendered so quietly and intimately [that it] shuts out the world outside its pages as you read."
Woodring has made great strides since completing the MFA program at Queens, but is still influenced by her time in the program. As she says, "What I value most about my Queens experience, beyond the practice of the writer's life, are the friendships I found there. Friendships that continue to thrive all these years later. Friendships with other like-minded writers-those who love this as much as I do, who are as committed as I am to improving my craft."
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