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Evan Lavender-Smith

Evan Lavender-Smith, Assistant Professor

Evan Lavender-Smith
Evan Lavender-Smith, Assistant Professor

Department of English 
205 Shanks Hall 
181 Turner Street NW 
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-7721 | els@vt.edu
Twitter: @elavendersmith
Web: http://el-s.net/

Evan Lavender-Smith is an assistant professor of creative writing in the Department of English at Virginia Tech. He is also President of Phi Beta Kappa’s Mu of Virginia Chapter.

Lavender-Smith’s first book, From Old Notebooks, a cross-genre work combining elements of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry, and philosophy, was listed on “Readers’ Favorite Books from Independent Presses” at Huffington Post, “Your Favorite Poets’ Favorite Books of Poetry” at Flavorwire, and several best-of-the-year lists. His second book, Avatar, an unpunctuated monologue delivered by a character floating in outer space, was a Small Press Distribution Bestseller. Lavender-Smith’s stories and essays have been noted in Best American Nonrequired Reading and Best American Essays, adapted for stage and radio, and translated into several languages. His writing has been praised in national and international media outlets, including Bookforum, The Guardian, Harper’s, The Irish Times, The Times Literary Supplement, and Vice. A recent fellow at Vermont Studio Center and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, he has been invited to read and lecture at Brown University, the University of California at San Diego, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Columbia College, the University of Denver, Lake Forest College, Macalester College, and elsewhere.

As founding editor of Noemi Press and former editor-in-chief of Puerto del Sol, Lavender-Smith has published and edited writing by Sherman Alexie, Frédéric Boyer, Éric Chevillard, Helen DeWitt, Rikki Ducornet, Michael Martone, Rick Moody, Antoine Volodine, and others. With Carmen Giménez Smith, he performed the first complete English translation of  “Canto del macho anciano” [“The Old Man’s Song”], a 6,500-word poem by Pablo de Rokha, recipient of Chile’s National Literature Prize. Lavender-Smith is also an editorial advisor at The Minnesota Review and a contributing writer at HTMLGIANT.

He has served as a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, the Heinz Foundation, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. He was recently elected to the Creative Writing Studies Organization’s Board of Directors. At Virginia Tech, Lavender-Smith serves as a member of the advisory board to the Studio 72 Living–Learning Community, as a member of the University Faculty Senate, as Co-Director of the Glossolalia Literary Festival, and as President of Phi Beta Kappa’s Mu of Virginia Chapter.

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and New Mexico State University, Lavender-Smith lives with his two children in Blacksburg, 12.7 miles away from the gravesite of his great-great-great-great grandmother, Rosanna Caldwell, whose nephew, Addison, was the first student to enroll at Virginia Tech.

  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Literary Modernism & Postmodernism
  • Narrative Theory
  • Literary Publishing
  • MFA in Creative Writing, New Mexico State University
  • BA in English, University of California, Berkeley
  • Founding Editor, Noemi Press
  • President, Mu of Virginia Chapter, Phi Beta Kappa
  • Board of Directors, Creative Writing Studies Organization
  • Advisory Board, Puerto del Sol
  • Contributing Editor, HTMLGIANT
  • Creative Writing Advisor, The Minnesota Review
  • University Faculty Senator, Virginia Tech
  • Advisory Board, Studio 72 Living–Learning Community, Virginia Tech
  • Co-Director, Glossolalia Literary Festival, Virginia Tech
  • ICAT Creativity + Innovation Engagement Group, Virginia Tech
  • Executive Committee, English Department, Virginia Tech
  • MFA Committee, English Department, Virginia Tech
  • Creative Writing Committee, English Department, Virginia Tech
  • Autumn House Fiction Prize Finalist, 2020
  • Autumn House Nonfiction Prize Finalist, 2020
  • Virginia Tech Academic Leaders Program, 2020
  • New Rivers Press Many Voices Project Finalist, 2020
  • Virginia Tech Pathways Delivery Grant, 2019
  • Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, 2019
  • Elixir Press Fiction Award Semifinalist, 2019
  • BkMk Press G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize Finalist, 2018
  • Best American Essays 2018 Notable Essay, 2018
  • Virginia Tech Favorite Faculty Recognition, 2018
  • Robert C. Jones Award for Short Prose Finalist, 2018
  • Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Fellowship, 2018
  • Virginia Tech New Faculty Mentoring Grant, 2018
  • Fence Modern Poets Series Semifinalist, 2017
  • Virginia Tech CLAHS Summer Stipend Grant, 2017
  • Elixir Press Fiction Award Semifinalist, 2017
  • BOA Short Fiction Prize Finalist, 2017
  • Creative Capital Award Finalist, 2015
  • Howard Foundation Fellowship Finalist, 2015
  • Flavorwire “Your Favorite Poets’ Favorite Books of Poetry,” 2013
  • Biblioklept “Favorite Books of 2013”
  • Small Press Distribution Bestseller, 2011
  • Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Contest Finalist, 2011
  • St. Lawrence Book Award Finalist, 2010
  • HTMLGIANT “List of Lists 2010”
  • Dzanc Books “Top Ten Small Press Books of 2010”
  • HTMLGIANT “Top Ten Small Press Books of 2010”
  • 32 Poems “Favorite Books of 2010”
  • NewPages Noteworthy Book, 2010
  • Small Press Distribution Recommended Book, 2010
  • Small Press Distribution Bestseller, 2010
  • Fence Modern Poets Series Finalist, 2009
  • Hudson Prize Finalist, 2009
  • Chiasmus Press Novel Award Semifinalist, 2008
  • Glimmer Train Fiction Open Award, 2007
  • Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award Finalist, 2007
  • Black Warrior Review Fiction Contest Finalist, 2006, 2007
  • Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006 Notable Read, 2006
  • Frank Waters Fiction Award, 2003
  • High Distinction in General Scholarship, UC Berkeley, 1999
  • High Departmental Honors, UC Berkeley, 1999
  • Phi Beta Kappa, UC Berkeley, 1999

Books

  • From Old Notebooks. Dzanc Books, 2013.
  • Avatar. Six Gallery Press, 2011.

Recent Stories, Essays and Plays

  • “Letters from Her Piano Teacher,” South Carolina Review , vol. 53, no. 1 (forthcoming)
  • “The Volta,” Denver Quarterly, vol. 54, no. 1, 2020, pp. 19–21.
  • A Vicious Cycle,” The White Review, May 2020.
  • “Sleep Study,” The Sun, Oct. 2019, pp. 40–44.
  • “Thirsty,” Sublunary Editions, no. 3, 2019, pp. 1–3.
  • “The Parting Sea,” We’ll Never Have Paris, ed. Andrew Gallix, Repeater Books [London, England], 2019, pp. 483–491.
  • “Real Talk (III),” Hotel Amerika, vol. 16, 2018, pp. 127–131.
  • “Event Horizon,” “Unfit,” and “Dreadful,” New York Tyrant, Dec. 2018.
  • “Two Unknowns,” Egress [London, England], no. 1, 2018, pp. 98–106.
  • Le cose infantile” [“Childish Things”], trans. Mariana Calvaresi, Edizioni Black Coffee [Florence, Italy], Aug. 2018.
  • Last Thing,” The Collagist, Mar. 2018.
  • The Gay Science,” Fanzine, Jan. 2018.
  • “Pride and Joy,” “Week in the Life,” and “To Watch or Not: A Möbius Strip,” New York Tyrant, Dec. 2017.
  • Debating a Second-Grader on the Merits of Wikipedia and the Etymology of ‘Ladybird,’Literary Hub, Aug. 2017. [Originally published as “Post-its,” sub.]
  • “Post-its,” New England Review, vol. 38, no. 4, 2017, pp. 107–120.
  • The Itch and the Touch,” Longreads, Oct. 2017.
  • “The Itch and the Touch,” The Southern Review, vol. 53, no. 4, 2017, 533–555.
  • “A Vicious Cycle,” The White Review Anthology. ed. Jacques Testard and Ben Eastham, Fitzcarraldo Editions [London, England], 2017, pp. 215–227.
  • Language on Vacation,” Fanzine, Aug. 2017.
  • Utoajuda para a síndrome do ninho vazio [Self-Help for Empty-Nest Syndrome]. Directed by Ana Prado, Teatro Cemitério de Automóveis, 13 April 2017, São Paolo, Brazil. Performance.
  • Ideia para um conto (macaco)” [“Short Story Idea (The Macaque)”], trans. Caetano Galindo, Piauí [Rio de Janeiro, Brazil], Feb. 2017, pp. 70–71.
  • In the Middle,” The Offing, Nov. 2016.
  • The Real Evan,” The Rumpus, Oct. 2016.
  • The Truth About Death.” Numero Cinq Magazine, vol. 12, no. 8, 2016.
  • “How to Eat a Sunflower Seed,” Alpine NJ Magazine, Central Park West Magazine, Greenwich Country Capitalist, Hamptons Country Capitalist, International Edition, Litchfield Country Capitalist, Long Island Country Capitalist, Miami The Beach Magazine, New Canaan Country Capitalist, Rye Magazine, Soho NYC Magazine, The Upper East Side Magazine, Tribeca Magazine, Westchester Country Capitalist, Weston Magazine, Westport Country Capitalist, no. 60, 2017, p. 240.
  • Dinner with Friends,” Juked, Aug. 2016.
  • “Childish Things,” Bennington Review, no. 2, 2016, pp. 3–5.
  • A Bunt,” Hobart, Jul. 2015.
  • For This Relief Much Thanks,” The Offing, Jun. 2015.
  • “The Cliff’s Edge,” Vestiges, no. 2, 2016, pp. 10–17.
  • “Unfit,” Heck Magazine, no. 1, 2016, pp. 84–89.
  • “Why I Write,” The Scofield, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 154.
  • Notice,” Harvard Review, Jun. 2016.
  • “Reading at the Dinner Table,” Quarter After Eight, vol. 22, 2016, pp. 116–119.
  • How to Eat a Sunflower Seed,” Mr. Bear’s Violet Hour Saloon. Performance by Georgia Bellas, no. 94, Apr. 2016.
  • How to Eat a Sunflower Seed,” Hobart, Apr. 2016.
  • Brief Bio,” Fanzine, Mar. 2016.
  • “Unfit,” Heck Magazine, no. 1, 2016, pp. 84–89.
  • “The Signature of a Person,” “Last Words,” “Perennial Chocolate Eulogomania,” and “Vita (Nine Tries),” The Scofield, vol. 1, no. 1 (2015): pp. 104–105.
  • Tell Your Mother,” The Toast, Jun. 2015.
  • Father–Son Combos,” Hobart, Apr. 2015.
  • Sunlight (Your Son’s), Fury (Yours), Shame (Mine) and Fatigue (the Additional Person’s),” Litro, Mar. 2015.
  • Sticker Chart,” The Toast, Mar. 2015.
  • Review of Franklin Sports Junior Equipment Bag (Black),” The Good Men Project, Mar. 2015.
  • Short Story Idea (The Macaque),” BOMB, Jan. 2015.
  • Grave Exhortations,” The Collagist, no. 66, Jan. 2015.
  • “Running on the Treadmill,” Drunken Boat, No. 22, 2015.
  • “Advice Vis-à-Vis (Look it Up) the Remainder,” Heavy Feather Review, vol. 4, no. 2, 2015, pp. 14–17.
  • “Real Talk (XIX),” Arts & Letters, no. 30, 2015, pp. 11–13.

Recent Criticism, Interviews, and Translation

  • Virginia Tech TLOS Community of Practice on Writing-Intensive Courses, $1,000, 2020
  • Virginia Tech Pathways Delivery Grant (with James Jewitt, Matthew Ebert, Susanna Rinehart, Matthew Ebert, Justin Perkinson, and John Irrera), $11,000, 2019
  • Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, $500, 2019
  • Virginia Tech New Faculty Mentoring Grant, $1500, 2018
  • Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Fellowship, $200, 2018
  • Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Summer Stipend Grant, $4000, 2017
  • Creative Capital Award, $80,000, Finalist (unfunded), 2015
  • Howard Foundation Fellowship, $35,000, Finalist (unfunded), 2015
  • New Mexico State University Frank Waters Fiction Fellowship, $1500, 2004
  • Scholastic Awards National Writing Grant, 2019, 2020
  • John D. Wilson / Phi Beta Kappa Essay Contest, 2017–2020
  • North Carolina Arts Council, 2019
  • Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences Scholarship, 2018–2019
  • Creative Capital Award, 2018
  • FC2 Innovative Fiction Prize, 2017
  • Jacob von Kutzleben Memorial Scholarship Writing Contest, 2017
  • Baltic Writers Residency, 2017
  • National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Grant, 2016
  • Heinz Award Council of Nominators (period undisclosed)
  • Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (period undisclosed)
  • Noemi Press, Founding Editor
  • Puerto del Sol, Advisory Board
  • The Minnesota Review, Creative Writing Advisor
  • HTMLGIANT, Contributing Editor
  • Heck Magazine, Contributing Editor
  • Puerto del Sol, Editor-in-Chief, 2015–2017
  • AWP Intro Journals Project, Contributing Editor, 2015–2017
  • The Volta, Guest Editor, 2016
  • Puerto del Sol, Senior Editor, 2012–2015
  • Puerto del Sol, Prose and Drama Editor, 2008–2012
  • Tusculum Review, Advisory Board, 2006–2009
  • Writers in Common Conference, Presenter, 2019
  • Creative Writing Studies Organization (CWO) Conference, Presenter, 2019
  • University of Denver, Visiting Writer, 2018
  • Lake Forest College, Visiting Writer, 2018
  • Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, Panel Moderator, 2017
  • Macalester College, Visiting Writer, 2017
  • University of Texas, El Paso, Visiting Writer, 2014
  • University of California, San Diego, Visiting Writer, 2013
  • Brown University, Visiting Writer, 2012
  • Columbia College, Visiting Writer, 2011

Graduate Courses Taught

  • Fiction Workshop (ENGL 6704): Spring 2020, Spring 2018
  • Form and Theory of Fiction (ENGL 5734): Spring 2019
  • Editing a Literary Journal (ENGL 5774): Fall 2018

Undergraduate Courses Taught

  • Creative Writing: Fiction (ENGL 3704): Spring 2020, Spring 2019, Fall 2018
  • Intersection of the Arts (ART 1124): Spring 2020
  • Topics in World Novels: After Beckett (ENGL 3694): Spring 2018
  • Introduction to Creative Writing (ENGL 2744): Fall 2017
  • Coordinators for the Glossolalia Literary Festival
  • Internships at Noemi Press
  • Taylor Portela, MFA (Poetry), Thesis Committee Member, 2019–present
  • Blessing Christopher, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Chair, 2019–present
  • Kira Homsher, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Member, 2019–present
  • John Darcy, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Member, 2019–present
  • Annie Raab, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Member, 2019–present
  • Dash Elhauge, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Chair, 2019–present
  • Evan Massey, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Chair, 2019–present
  • Sarah Hansen, MFA (Poetry), Thesis Committee Member, 2019–2020
  • Uche Okwonko, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Member, 2017–2020
  • Gideon Simons, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Chair, 2017–2020
  • Tolu Adeyeye, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Chair, 2017–2020
  • Devon Keyes, MA (Literature), Thesis Committee Member, 2018–2019
  • Travis McDonald, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Member, 2017–2018
  • Patrick Siebel, MFA (Fiction), Thesis Committee Member, 2017–2018

Evan Lavender-Smith is currently accepting new graduate students.

  • Boyer, Frédéric. Cows. Trans. Joanna Howard and Nicholas Bredie, Noemi Press [ed. Evan Lavender-Smith], 2014.
  • Boyer, Frédéric. Cows. Trans. Joanna Howard and Nicholas Bredie, Puerto del Sol [ed. Evan Lavender-Smith], vol. 45, no.1, 2010, 28–31.
  • Chevillard, Éric. “From Prehistoric Times,” trans. Alyson Waters, Puerto del Sol [ed. Evan Lavender-Smith], vol. 47, no. 1, 2012, pp. 85–89.
  • Chevillard, Éric. “Faldoni,” trans. Brian Evenson, Puerto del Sol [ed. Evan Lavender-Smith], vol. 44, no. 2, 2009, pp. 7–19.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “A Vicious Cycle,” The White Review [London, England], May 2020.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “The Parting Sea,” We’ll Never Have Paris, ed. Andrew Gallix, Repeater Books [London, England], 2019, pp. 483–491.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “Le cose infantile,” trans. Mariana Calvaresi, Edizioni Black Coffee [Florence, Italy], Aug. 2018.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “Two Unknowns,” Egress [London, England], no. 1, 2018, pp. 98–106.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “A Vicious Cycle,” The White Review Anthology, Fitzcarraldo Editions, [London, England], ed. Jacques Testard and Ben Eastham, 2017, pp. 215–227. 
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. Utoajuda para a síndrome do ninho vazio [Self-Help for Empty-Nest Syndrome]. Directed by Ana Prado, Teatro Cemitério de Automóveis, 13 April 2017, São Paolo, Brazil. Performance.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “Ideia para um conto (macaco),” trans. Caetano Galindo. Piauí [Rio de Janeiro, Brazil], Feb. 2017, pp. 70–71.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “On The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector,” The Scofield, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 12–13.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “A Vicious Cycle,” The White Review [London, England], no. 11, 2014, pp. 59–72.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “Speeds and Shapes of Consciousness.” Interview by David Winters. Gorse [Dublin, Ireland], no. 1, 2014, pp. 57-71.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “Jean-Luc Nancy's The Fall of Sleep: A Paraphrase,” Lit Pub, Feb. 2012.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “Služmeni katalog knjižnice potencijalne književnotsi” [“The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature”], trans. Katarina Peović Vuković et al., Libra Libera [Zagreb, Croatia], no. 30, 2012, p. 53.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “One Note: Evan Lavender-Smith Reads Éric Chevillard's The Crab Nebula,” Nailed Magazine, Mar. 2011.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. Review of Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Selected Writings, Volume 1: Plays; Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Selected Writings, Volume 2: Fictions; and Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Selected Writings, Volume 3: Essays. Ed. Kenneth J. Northcott et. al. Colorado Review, vol. 34, no. 1, 2007, pp. 182–86.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan. “Minus Five: A Play in Six Scenes,” The Modern Review [Canada], vol. 2, no. 2, 2006, pp. 151–57.
  • Lavender-Smith, Evan, and Carmen Giménez Smith, trans. “El canto del macho anciano” [“The Old Man’s Song”] by Pablo de Rokha. Pinholes in the Night: Essential Poems from Latin America, ed. Forrest Gander and Raúl Zurita, Copper Canyon Press, 2014, pp. 73–119.
  • Nelson, Maggie, and Evan Lavender-Smith. “The Fragment as a Unit of Prose Composition.” Interview by Ben Segal. Badiou, Alain, et al., Continent: Year 1, Punctum Books, 2012, pp. 151–169.
  • Nelson, Maggie, and Evan Lavender-Smith. “The Fragment as a Unit of Prose Composition.” Interview by Ben Segal. Continent, vol. 1, no. 3, 2011, pp. 158-170.
  • Pereira, Antonio Marcos. “Hibridações do romance no século XXI: O caso do romance-ensaio” [“Hybrid Novels in the 21st Century: The Case of the Novel-Essay”], Contexto [Vitória, Brazil], no. 24, 2013, pp. 40–62.
  • Pereira, Antonio Marcos. “Romance-ensaio: Três Casos [Anéis de Saturno (Sebald, 1992), Diário de um ano rium (Coetzee, 2008), From old notebooks (Lavender-Smith, 2010)],” XII Congresso Internacional da ABRALIC, 20 Jul. 2011, Curitiba, Brazil. Conference Presentation.
  • Poniatowska, Elena. “The Farm,” trans. George Henson, Puerto del Sol [ed. Evan Lavender-Smith], vol. 45, no. 2, 2010, pp. 177–194.
  • Volodine, Antoine. “Schlumm (from Bardo or Not Bardo),” trans. Brian Evenson, Puerto del Sol [ed. Evan Lavender-Smith], vol. 45, no. 1, 2010, pp. 59–73.

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