One of the best things about being a teacher is watching amazing former students find their voices and places in the world. I could not be more proud of and excited for my former student Eric Boyd, who will be presenting at the AWP conference in Portland, OR, at the end of this month.
Eric took several writing classes with me at the very beginning of his career. He wrote a story I’ll never forget. It was about a boy in love with a neighbor girl who looked like Shirley Temple. The girl’s father ended up burning down the house, falling asleep smoking a cigar on the couch. The final images were deeply haunting (I won’t give them away). I instantly knew that Eric was a writer.
Eric lived his life wildly, fully, and deeply for a while, then had lots to write about, since none of that wild, full depth killed him (and what does not kill us gives us lots to write about). After spending some time in jail, he wrote an amazing story on the subject, which got picked up by Joyce Carol Oates, who included it in her prestigious prison writing anthology, Prison Noir. Now Eric is going to present at an AWP panel about writing and prison.
Eric is a winner of the PEN Prison Writing Award and on the board of directors of Chatham University's Words Without Walls, a program for which he is now a longtime mentor. His writing has appeared in Guernica, Joyland, and The Offing. Without having completed his BA, he was admitted to an MFA on the outstanding merit of his work. He is a graduate of The Writers Foundry MFA in New York City.