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Distinguished Writers program brings 'girlchild' author to campus March 14


Tupelo Hassman to read from just-released "girlchild" March 14.

  • February 1, 2012

Tupelo Hassman, author of the just-released “girlchild” and a contributor to such publications as “Paper Street Press,” ”The Portland Review Literary Journal” and “ZYZZYVA,” will be the next speaker of the Distinguished Writer series, presented by the Cal State East Bay Department of English.

She will read from “girlchild” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in the Biella Room of the University Library, on the Hayward Campus of Cal State East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. A book-signing will follow her presentation.

“Girlchild” is told from the perspective of Rory Dawn Hendrix, an intelligent child growing up in a poor America. Rory Dawn is routinely rewarded for her academic gifts but these rewards only serve to alienate her from her culture of origin. Rory Dawn’s exploration of this crossroads involves an “antagonization” of the standardized testing system. A number of the chapters in “girlchild” follow the format of the SAT or take other largely academic approaches. 

“I’ll focus on these sections during the reading to explore with the CSU East Bay community how the ivory tower appears from the ground of America’s underprivileged,” said Hassman.

“I’m very interested in structure when it comes to writing, what it predicts and how the subversion of those predictions adds weight and humor. I’m inspired by junk mail, road trips, the tragic heroine that is the English language, and how, for example, spell check rejects my use of ‘antagonization’ and suggests ‘anatomization’ or considers ‘Robespierre’ as an alternate spelling of ‘boutonniere,’” Hassman said.

A writer for the Boston Globe wrote of Hassman: “Her joy in language, duty, and honor buoy her – and readers, too. If I were back on the staff of my high school yearbook I would vote Tupelo Hassman and her book ‘Most Likely to Go Viral on Goodreads’ and ‘Most Likely to Succeed in the Eyes of Critics.’ And isn’t that better than being a real Girl Scout or winning Homecoming Queen?”

Stephen Gutierrez, professor of English and event organizer, said: “Tupelo writes with an uncommon verve about trailer park America.  She catches your attention out of the gate. She is the real McCoy.”

Hassman graduated from Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts program. Her writing has been published in “Tantalum,” “We Still Like,” “Invisible City Audio Tours” and many other publications.

She is a contributing author to “Heliography,” “Invisible City Audio Tours'” first tour. She also is curating its fourth tour, “The Landmark Revelation Society.” Her first short story collection, “The Hassman Family Experience: A Fully Interactive Country Western Album,” will be released by Invisible City Audio Tours in August. She will be keeping a video journal of “girlchild's” book tour for the short documentary, “Hardbound: A Novel's Life on the Road.”

CSUEB welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodation upon request. Please notify the event sponsor in advance at (510) 885-3151 if accommodation is needed.

Campus parking is $2 per hour. Parking permits can be purchaed through kiosk machines located in campus lots.

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