Tessa Mellas, Thurs 11/14

This week, the Laurentian is thrilled to host a SLU alumna, Tessa Mellas ’01. She is the recipient of the 2013 Iowa Short Fiction Award for her book Lungs Full of Noise, and she will be reading Thursday November 14th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Dean Eaton Formal Lounge. Students will get to hear a selection of her stories, but she will also discuss her experience as a writer. Snacks will be provided and this event is FYP Cup eligible. She’s even been kind enough to offer a fiction workshop the next morning to provide students with individual feedback.

After graduating from SLU, Mellas earned a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. She writes magical realism, a genre that incorporates fantastic elements into otherwise realistic stories. Amazon sums up her work nicely:

“This prize-winning debut of twelve stories explores a femininity that is magical, raw, and grotesque. Aghast at the failings of their bodies, this cast of misfit women and girls sets out to remedy the misdirection of their lives in bold and reckless ways. Figure skaters screw skate blades into the bones of their feet to master elusive jumps. A divorcee steals the severed arm of her ex to reclaim the fragments of a dissolved marriage. Following the advice of a fashion magazine, teenaged girls binge on  grapes to dye their skin purple and attract prom dates. And a college freshman wages war on her roommate from Jupiter, who  has inadvertently seduced all the boys in their dorm with her exotic hermaphroditic anatomy. But it isn’t just the characters who are in crisis. In Lungs Full of Noise, personal disasters mirror the dissolution of the natural world. Written in lyrical prose with imagination and humor, Tessa Mellas’s collection is an aviary of feathered stories that are rich, emotive, and  imbued with the strength to suspend strange new worlds on delicate wings.”

If that doesn’t make her cool enough, Mellas knows what it takes to get from Canton, New York to the mystical club of I-published-a-book-no,-not-just-through-a-vanity-press. It’s possible. Here’s a small excerpt:

“At breakfast, Miss Jacqueline announces the rules of the camp. No speech. No sound. Silence is law. Offenders will be punished. If we think she is joking, we should visit the annex and see the cabinets that house her collection of pickled tongues.”

–from “Quiet Camp” page 46


Whatever you do, don’t talk while she’s reading.

Hope to see you there,

Ally Talbot


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