Students, faculty and staff, and the community have an opportunity to hear notable fiction author Patrick Ryan read from his own work at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, in the Governors Room in the Overman Student Center. The event is free, and is sponsored by the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series and the Student Fee Council. A reception will follow.
Ryan’s most recent book, a The Dream Life of Astronauts, has been named one of the best books of the year by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Refinery29, Electric Literature, and Lit Hub. The book is a collection of nine short stories. Amongst the stories are a would-be Miss America auditioning for a local talent scout over vodka and Sunny D, a NASA engineer wondering if the woman he’s having an affair with is poisoning her husband, and a Boy Scout troop leader trying to protect one of his scouts from being bullied by his own sons. Set against landmark moments — the first moon launch, Watergate, the Challenger explosion — these private dramas unfurl in startling ways.
According to The New York Times Book Review, “Ryan is a master of that old-fashioned, captivating storytelling that deceptively reads as effortless…. [He] never actually sends his characters into space; but his orbits of the human heart are enough.”
Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Lori Martin believes PSU is lucky to have a writer like Ryan on campus.
“I am so happy he’s coming,” she said. “Patrick is a brilliant writer in the truest sense. He creates real characters and extends to them a kind of grace, regardless of their foibles. Whatever place he takes them, whatever they do, we are moved because of the art of the author.”
Beyond The Dream Life of Astronauts, Ryan is the author of the novel Send Me (a finalist for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize). He is also the author of three novels for young adults: Saints of Augustine, In Mike We Trust, and Gemini Bites. His fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Tin House, One Story, Crazyhorse, Catapult, The Iowa Review, Yale Review and elsewhere. His nonfiction has been published by Granta and is included in Tales of Two Cities and other anthologies. Ryan is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and his work has been translated into six languages. His first book was chosen for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers series.
He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Florida. He earned a BA from Florida State University and an MFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The former associate editor of Granta, he is editor-in-chief of One Story and lives in New York City.