susan neville

Selected Works

Magazine article
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."
Creative nonfiction
Iconography: A Writer's Meditation
Memoir and meditation on writing
Indiana Winter
"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.
Short Fiction
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

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Mystic vs. Maniac
Mystic vs. Maniac. Oprah Magazine, May 2007. See discussion page!

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.

Sailing the Inland Sea: On Writing, Literature, and Land
Sailing the Inland Sea invites us to explore the possibilities the Midwestern landscape offers to writers--its sacred spaces, its rivers, even its weather. Interspersed with personal narrative and meditations on the craft of writing are Neville's interviews with such luminous Indiana writers as Kurt Vonnegut, Scott Russell Sanders, and Marguerite Young, as well as conversations with such literary giants as Salman Rushdie, Ray Bradbury, and Toni Morrison.

"Neville's voice and style is honest, precise, and entirely trustworthy. I would buy her used car. And her new car, too."

Iconography: A Writer's Meditation
2003 from Indiana University Press.

Invention of Flight
Collection of short fiction including the Pushcart Prize-winning story "Johnny Appleseed." The collection won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and was published by the University of Georgia Press.

Indiana Winter
"Susan Neville reminds us that we live simultaneously in two landscapes, outward and inward. You will find in these gutsy, eloquent pages the familiar Indiana of suburbs and towns, farms and army camps, basketball hoops and sycamores, limestone and locusts. But you will also find a private Indiana, shaped by memories, riven by the fault lines of doubt and grief, lit by imagination. The journey through both landscapes is by turns harrowing and enchanting. I'm very glad I made the trip."

FABRICATION: ESSAYS ON MAKING THINGS AND MAKING MEANING
A collection of meditations on the process of making things and of making meaning. In the heart of the rust belt, Neville visits factories in a search for both information and metaphor. She watches as Hummers are built and camouflaged in the particular color of MiddleEastern sand, as thousands of worlds are created in a globe factory and as suns of molten sand and feldspar are spun and sometimes shattered in a glass factory. An essay on a casket factory is a meditation on death and its connection to fashion. An essay on the process of making veneer becomes a meditation on the new economy. There are essays on dolls and gyroscopes and cars and spice. You want to know the connection between mass produced cookies and sex? You'll find it here.

IN THE HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS
"A brilliant and haunted book." Marianne Boruch

Falling Toward Grace: Images of Religion and Culture
A collection of work by writers such as Pulitzer prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa, Scott Russell Sanders, Michael Martone, Marianne Boruch, Alice Friman, Dan Wakefield, Barbara Shoup, Etheridge Knight, and many others and by photographers such as Tyagan Miller, Carl Pope, and Ginny Taylor Rosner. Edited by Susan Neville, J. Kent Calder and Kim Charles Ferrill.

"One thing photographers and writers hold in common is the need to pay attention. Look closely, the girl said as she stacked those plums. Listen closely. She somehow knew that in the attention itself there is, if not a fall back into grace, at least that fall toward it."--Susan Neville

Twilight in Arcadia
A meditation on tobacco farming, farmers, and migrant workers in the midwest. With photographer Tyagan Miller.