Fall Connections Presents New Novelists Moustakis, Thorne, Oct. 12

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As part of the College of Southern Maryland’s Fall Connections Series, two new West Coast novelists will read from their debut novels, “Bear Down Bear North” by Melinda Moustakis and “Hand Me Down,” by Melanie Thorne, beginning at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 12, at the La Plata Campus, Center for Business and Industry (BI), Dr. John M. Sine Conference Room (Room 103).

Moustakis brings to life a rough-and-tumble family of Alaskan homesteaders and examines the near-mythological accounts of the Alaskan wilderness through a series of linked stories in her debut collection “Bear Down Bear North.”

Moustakis was born in Fairbanks, Alaska and raised in Bakersfield, Calif. She received her master of arts from University of California (UC) Davis and her PhD in English and creative writing from Western Michigan University. “Bear Down Bear North” won the Flannery O’Connor Award in short fiction and the UC Davis Maurice Prize in fiction. Moustakis’ stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Conjunctions, Cimarron Review and American Short Fiction. She was recently named one of the “5 Under 35” writers by the National Book Foundation.

Thorne’s debut novel “Hand Me Down” follows 14-year-old Elizabeth, who has taken on the burden of protecting her sister, Jaime, from their parents’ cruel mistakes. After their mother finds love with a dangerous ex-con and chooses to start a new family over raising her daughters, Elizabeth and Jaime are separated and forced to rely on the begrudging kindness of increasingly distant relatives.

Thorne earned her master of arts in creative writing from UC Davis, where she was awarded the Alva Englund Fellowship and the Maurice Prize in fiction. She was a resident at the Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat in 2011, and her work has appeared in various journals, including The Greenbelt Review and Global City Review.

The Connections Series features award-winning contemporary writers, poets and artists who share their work with Southern Maryland residents.

Tickets are $3 advanced sale through the CSM box office and $3 at the door with a student ID. General admission at the door is $5. For information on Connections, study guides and author links visit www.csmd.edu/connections. Books featured are available at any CSM College Store or online at www.csmd.edu/CollegeStore.

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