Cal State East Bay alumnus Eric Neuenfeldt will be on the Hayward campus Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. for a reading from his collection “Wild Horse,” winner of this year’s Grace Paley Prize for short fiction from the Associated Writing Programs.
“Wild Horse examines what it is to be human in overlooked and abandoned areas of the country,” Neuenfeldt said. “The characters — snow plow drivers, prison educators, bicycles mechanics — must make difficult decisions to survive in the midst of industrial decline and expanding wealth inequality.”
The Arroyo Literary Review, Issue 8, Spring 2016, where the title story will first appear, will also premiere Feb. 25. Neuenfeldt, who earned both his B.A. (2007) and M.A. (2009) at Cal State East Bay, founded Arroyo, the English department’s literary journal.
“When I arrived at Cal State East Bay, I lacked personal and academic direction,” Neuenfeldt said. “I didn’t have many thoughts of completing a degree, but I knew I wanted to try writing and figured I could finish a few classes. (CSUEB professors) Susan Gubernat and Steve Gutierrez took my work seriously from the start, something I had never experienced. They introduced me to new writers and techniques, but perhaps most importantly, encouraged me to write. Being a writer involves a lot of rejection, and Susan and Steve have continued to be tremendously supportive of my work. My time at Cal State East Bay was transformational, and I’m grateful for that experience every day.”
Neuenfeldt’s work has appeared in The Paris Review Daily, Confrontation magazine and REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters. He also won the 2010 Iron Horse Literary Review single-author competition.
"From the time Eric Neuenfeldt was an undergraduate here in the creative writing program, he showed such great promise as a writer,” Gubernat said. “And with this recent honor from our national organization, the Associated Writing Programs, it's clear that the rest of the world has caught up to what we at East Bay have known all along about him. We are excited to bring Eric back to campus for his reading in the Distinguished Writers Series, and to introduce him to our current crop of creative writers as a model for them to be proud of and to imitate."
The free event featuring Neuenfeldt will held in the Biella Room at the University Library.