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Host Stu Levitan welcomes UW professor and instructor Steven Wright, author of the new political thriller The Coyotes of Carthage.
Toussaint Andre Ross, known as Dre, is a talented but flawed political operative who may be down to his last campaign – a low-rent ballot initiative in the backwoods of South Carolina, secretly paid for by a mining company to trick the natives into selling their pristine public land for excavation and despoliation. What happens when urban Black Dre shows up in rural white Carthage County with a quarter-million dollars in dark money from that mining company is the business that occupies Steven Wright in his debut novel, The Coyotes of Carthage.
It’s already getting a lot of notice from people who know a bit about creative writing. John Grisham calls Steven Wright “a major new voice in the world of political thrillers.” Lorrie Moore, whom we used to be able to claim as our own, calls Coyotes of Carthage “a page-turner with a conscience, a burner of a read with something to say.”
As to Steven Wright, well he has more academic degrees than any guest I’ve ever had, or am likely to. A Bachelor of Science AND Masters in Engineering Management from Duke, a master’s in writing from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the UW Madison and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. And while in the MFA program here, he was a two-time award-winner, receiving the August Derleth Prize for his writing and the Jerome Stern Teaching Award, which I guess made him the MFA TA of the year.
He has made good use of all those degrees, except perhaps the master’s in engineering management, first as a trial attorney in the Voting Section of the United States Department of Justice, now as a clinical associate professor at the UW Law School and co-director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project AND as lecturer in the creative writing program. He has also taught first-year criminal law and appellate advocacy.
It’s a pleasure to welcome to Madison BookBeat, Professor Steven Wright.