Bonnie Jo Campbell, a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, is the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities visiting writer-in-residence at the University of St. Thomas March 4-10.

Bonnie Jo Campbell

Bonnie Jo Campbell

Campbell will visit various English classes during the week and give a free, public reading at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 8, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on the university’s campus in St. Paul. Earlier that day, she’ll be a guest on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Midmorning” program; the interview is scheduled to air at 10 a.m.

Here’s how the National Book Foundation described Campbell’s second short-story collection, American Salvage (Wayne State University Press, 2009): 

“ … Bonnie Jo Campbell picks through the ravages of a small-town America gutted by shifting demographics, new technology, and methamphetamine. Eschewing nostalgia or bitterness, she leads with her curiosity, using canny observation and sensuous prose to coax the reader into dark, strange, primordial territory. These short stories approach their subjects from an array of perspectives, but what they share is freshness, surprise, and a compulsion to plumb some absolute extremes of American existence.”

Born in Kalamazoo, Mich., Campbell earned a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1984, then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Western Michigan University in 1992 and 1995. She then plunged wholeheartedly into writing fiction and earned an M.F.A. in creative writing at Western Michigan in 1998.

Campbell’s short story, “The Smallest Man in the World,” published in the winter 1999 Southern Review, won a 2000 Pushcart Prize. She included it in her first short-story collection, Women and Other Animals (University of Massachusetts Press, 1999), which won a prestigious Associated Writing Programs prize for short fiction. Her first novel, Q Road, was published by Scribner’s in 2002. She won Southern Review’s 2008 Eudora Welty Prize for her story, “The Inventor, 1972,” which is included in American Salvage. Other work has appeared in Kenyon Review and Ontario Review. She also won the 2009 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Award for a recent poetry manuscript.

Still living in Kalamazoo, she teaches in the low-residency M.F.A. program at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., and has held visiting faculty posts at Kalamazoo College and Bowling Green State University as well as at her alma mater, Western Michigan.

For further information about Campbell’s visit, call the English Department in St. Thomas’ College of Arts and Sciences, (651) 962-5600.