Local Author Talk: Erin Flanagan, “You’re a Real Character”
Thursday, January 18 at 6:30 p.m. • Adults • Yellow Springs
Writing accurately about yourself and others is one of the difficulties of creative nonfiction. In this workshop, we’ll talk about reflective voice, character development, writing for an audience, and other tricks of the trade to help you think about how to put yourself in an essay, as well as the other option: how to leave yourself out. Erin is the author of two short story collections—The Usual Mistakes and It’s Not Going to Kill You and Other Stories. Her stories have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, The Missouri Review, The Connecticut Review, and elsewhere. She has held fellowships to Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, UCross, and The Vermont Studio Center.
Erin Flanagan was born in Illinois and lived in a far-flung suburb of Chicago until she was four. One day her father came and said he was sick of the commute, working as an executive, and not seeing his girls grow up. He told his wife he had a family farm in Northwest Iowa and he thought it would be a good idea for them to give it a try. He went to community college to learn how to farm, and she drove a school bus to make ends meet, and they both learned how to live in a small town where everyone knew everyone’s business.
This ended up being the best decision of their lives. Erin loved growing up on a farm. She was in boys’ and girls’ 4-H, spent a good amount of time outdoors until she discovered reading, and was convinced she would grow up to be a veterinarian with a menagerie of pets after raising a pet pig named Mama for slaughter. In this life, her mother taught her to castrate pigs and her father taught her to bake a pie.
Erin attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for all her degrees, graduating with a PhD in 2004. In 2005 she joined the faculty at Wright State University, where there is very little drama in the English department.