English Department announces final colloquium of 2008-09 series

UST students, staff and faculty are invited to the final event of the 2008-09 English Department Colloquium Series. J.C. Hallman, assistant professor of English, will read from his new short story collection, The Hospital for Bad Poets (Milkweed Editions, $16), Friday, May 8.

The reading will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the O’Shaughnessy Room, Room 108, O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. Following the reading, Hallman will be available to sign copies of his book, which will be on hand for purchase.

J.C. Hallman

In its review of The Hospital for Bad Poets, Publishers Weekly writes: "Hallman’s clever debut collection (after two works of nonfiction) invites the reader into ordinary homes and heads before dropping sly twists of the surreal to examine contemporary culture … smart and hip."

Hallman grew up in Southern California and studied creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the writing seminars at Johns Hopkins. His nonfiction combines memoir, history, journalism and travelogue, and has been compared to Tom Wolfe and Bruce Chatwin.

His first book, The Chess Artist, tells the story of Hallman’s friendship with chess player Glenn Umstead. After first meeting in Atlantic City, they traveled together to Russia and experienced a variety of adventures that reveal the quirkiness of the chess subculture.

His second book, The Devil is a Gentleman, is about Hallman’s intellectual apprenticeship with philosopher William James. Through visits to a number of contemporary offbeat religious movements, during which he experiences a range of rites and ceremonies, Hallman explores the ways in which James’ thinking continues to inform America’s religious identity. A third book of nonfiction, In Eutopia, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press later this year.

Questions about the colloquium series can be directed to the English Department, (651) 962-5600. Additional information about Hallman and his books can be found on his Web site.