"Composition Unbound": Faculty Reading Thursday, 11/13

Vervaet, Morrison, and Manivannan read creative nonfiction and personal essays

Published faculty writers in the English/First-Year Writing Department are delighted to read their work to the Montclair State University community.

When: Thursday, November 13 at 5:30 pm.


Vyshali Manivannan reading from her creative nonfiction manuscript about living in the shadow of the Sri Lankan civil conflict.

Stacey Morrison reading a personal essay.

Susan Vervaet reading from her memoir Playing Army, about life in the military.

Where: University Hall  First Floor Lounge

Writer Details:

Vyshali Manivannan received her Fiction MFA from Columbia University, and is a (mostly) fiction writer who wrote her first "failed" novel at age eleven.  At fifteen, she promptly moved on to write her first "real" novel Invictus, which was published in 2004 and is now under a movie option by Torn Sky Entertainment.  She has recently completed a nonfiction manuscript about Sri Lanka, and a fiction novel, Through a Glass Darkly, the first in a series that spans the lives of two men with psychic abilities who were kidnapped as children and raised in a mysterious institution outside of Prague.  She is currently working on the sequel.

Stacey Morrison has written on environmental pollution for the Village Voice, and contributed op-ed pieces to New York and Long Island Newsday, and most recently, the New Jersey Star Ledger.  She wrote copy for Acclaim Entertainment and other video game companies, writing user manuals and advertising.  She studied under E.L. Doctorow and Mona Simpson through NYU's graduate program, however her MA in English was not completed until she returned to graduate school at Montclair State -- sixteen years, two marriages, two divorces and two children later.  Stacey is in her second year of teaching first-year writing at MSU.  She blogs on residential real estate in Hoboken, NJ, focusing on legal and environmental issues.  She is currently working on a collection of personal essays and will be reading from the new collection.    

Susan Vervaet has been teaching first-year writing at Montclair State for three years. She has an MA in English from the Univ of Illinois at Chicago and an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She is a journalist and writer of nonfiction prose, mainly, but also writes poetry. She has taught at more than twelve colleges and universities around the country and is a military veteran and professional musician.

The excerpt she will read is from the book-length memoir she has written, Playing Army. It is about her years as one of the first women in the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point (she spent nine years in the Army, seven of them on active duty. She writes frequently on military and veterans' issues and topics, and works with veterans writing workshops as well as veteran-related higher education initiatives. Vervaet is proud of her Marskman qualification for the M-16 rifle and hand grenade, earned one sweaty summer during Basic Combat training at Ft. Dix, New Jersey.