Clarksville, TN – In his new collection of essays memories of paradiseErin Langner’s prose delivers “stories on the brink of loss or grief, sensations that none of us seem able to escape”.
The prose proved so powerful that it prompted creative nonfiction writer Wendy S. Walters to name Langner the 2021 winner of Zone 3 Press’s Creative Nonfiction Book Award.
“With beautiful, clear-eyed prose, she manages to invite us into the most intimate spaces of personal transformation and testimony of need,” Walters wrote in her judge’s statement, also quoted above. “I admire the way she describes becoming as a consequence of a relationship, whether a connection lasts a lifetime or just a few days.”
“Competition readings are always a top event for me because they bring together a well-established writer with the emerging writer whose work they have selected,” said Dr. Amy Wright, Editor-in-Chief for area 3 newspaper and non-fiction editor for Zone 3 Press. “I love learning why particular manuscripts stand out for our judges.”
But the reading also gives area residents a chance to hear Walters read.
“I’m especially thrilled this year to hear Wendy S. Walters read because I’ve been a huge fan of her innovative collection. Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and the Surrealwhich was named “best book of the year” in 2015,” said Wright, who is also an APSU professor of languages and literature and creative writing coordinator for the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts of Austin Peay State University.
“Illustrating the weight of emotion”
by Langner memories of paradise “gives us Las Vegas in all its twinkling lights” while examining “what makes the city so special and how it has contributed to the artist, curator, sister and mother that it is today”, Megan Stielstra, author of The wrong way to save your lifewrote in his eulogy of the book.
To Sari Botton, author of And you can find yourself …, the book is a “deeply moving meditation on family and loss, and the obsessions we turn to as a distraction from grief.
“Ironically, through the funhouse mirror of Las Vegas, a city filled with artifice, Langner is able to show us her true reflection and make sense of herself as a bereaved mother and daughter,” Botton continued. “The result is a resonant, relatable and soulfully entertaining travelogue.”
But Walters’ words in his Zone 3 Press Creative Nonfiction Book Award judgment of the book might resonate the most.
“A lyrical intensity runs through the collection, illustrating the weight of emotion,” she writes. “Langner’s ease in writing about grief is also astounding, as there is no intent to hide or brush it away. We live with it everywhere, all the time, because that too is life.
You can order memories of paradise at Austin Peay State University’s Zone 3 Press Marketplace webpage.
Area 3 Press
Zone 3 Press is a non-profit literary press dedicated to publishing and promoting the work of emerging writers.
The press sponsors the Zone 3 Press First Book Award for Poetry and the Zone 3 Creative Nonfiction Book Award. Winners receive $1,000 and the publication of a book, as well as an invitation to give a reading at APSU with the contest judge.
Langner is an essayist and art writer whose work has appeared in The landing, Fourth Kind, Hyperallergic, Metropolisand the stranger.
Multiply/Divide by Walters was named book of the year by News Feed, flavor yarn, literary center, The root, Huffington Post and others.