Mystic vs. Maniac
The mystic vs. the maniac: every day atrocities are committed in the name of faith. But as Susan Neville reminds us, it's possible to distinguish between the fires of fanaticism and the abiding glow of our better angels. Oprah Magazine: May 2007
Sailing the Inland Sea: On Writing, Literature, and Land
Calling on the image of the Midwest's vanished inland sea, this collection of essays ponders the writing process and the "landlocked imagination."
Iconography: A Writer's Meditation
Memoir and meditation on writing
"Susan Neville is defining the emerging genre of the new nonfiction. The stories she has to tell in Indiana Winter are tales of great emotion and stunning insight."--Michael Martone
FABRICATION: ESSAYS ON MAKING THINGS AND MAKING MEANING
We are a nation of consumers. In this meditation of manufacture, Susan Neville journeys to factories in the heart of the midwest, looking for the sources of things.
Invention of Flight
Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
IN THE HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS
"Susan Neville's language shimmers like light coming through colored glass, and her subtle words uncovered the inarticulate longings that burn the hearts of the most ordinary citizens. Susan Neville is one of the finest short story writers in the country." Maura Stanton
From the Preface:
When I began writing essays and lectures about writing, I found myself returning to this idea in almost every piece in one way or another: to the inland sea as a specific place reflected in the imagery of rivers and swampland and lakes, but also to the inland sea as a metaphor for the landlocked imagination. A writer traverses this sea, still, by sailing: tacking and coming about while heading toward the undiscovered material she hopes to find while in the act of writing.
The essays on writers, writing, and the land collected in Sailing the Inland Sea range from interviews with writers Kurt Vonnegut, Scott Russell Sanders, Dan Wakefield, Marguerite Young, and Etheridge Knight, to discussions on techniques of writing, grounded in a Midwestern sensibility and illustrated by writers from Shakespeare to Flannery O'Connor and by anecdotes I've collected in my years co-directing Butler University's Delbrook Visiting Writers Series. Nick Hornby and Douglas Adams and Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison and Ray Bradbury make cameo appearances. As the inland sea that is my Midwest is covered by more layers of history, it's my hope that one copy of this book might remain in some library and be found, years down the road, by someone who might say here's a tree rung, a bit of exposed ocean, a ghost ship, the record of what some writers said while sailing through this land, trying to make sense of it.
"The essays are eclectic, engaging, and entertaining. The individual chapters . . . taken together . . . constitute a love letter to the Midwest as well as a lively commentary on creativity and the writing life. Highly recommended for all libraries with large collections on creative writing and for all libraries in the Midwest." --Library Journal, June 15, 2007