The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Local author offers tips for future writers

By Gloria Petit

Author Nan Cuba reads from her award winning novel "Body and Bread". Palo Alto College Library and the Texas A&M San Antonio library invited Cuba as part of the Working Writers Series for this semester. Photo by Monica Lamadrid
Author Nan Cuba reads from her award winning novel “Body and Bread.” Palo Alto College Library and the Texas A&M-San Antonio’s library collaborated to invite Cuba as part of the Working Writers Series. Photo by Monica Lamadrid

Local author Nan Cuba captivated an audience of students and faculty by sharing her passion for literary fiction during a Nov. 20 book reading and talk at Palo Alto College.

As a way to inspire students pursuing careers in writing, the library staff at Texas A&M University-San Antonio and Palo Alto invited Cuba as part of the Working Writers Series events.

During her reading, two people flipped through pages of their copies of Cuba’s newest novel,  “Body and Bread,” while others in the audience listened intently to Cuba.

History professor Peter Myers and Alex Garcia, networking and security sophomore, read along author Nan Cuba during her presentation Nov. 20 at Palo Alto College. Photo by Monica Lamadrid
History professor Peter Myers and Alex Garcia, networking and security sophomore, read along author Nan Cuba during her presentation Nov. 20 at Palo Alto College. Photo by Monica Lamadrid

Published by Engine Books last year, “Body and Bread” has won accomplished awards, such as the Pen/Southwest Book Award for Fiction and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award for Best Work of Fiction.

“The book is about grief and redemption,” Cuba said. “The novel is set up through the character of Sarah, which switches back and forth between the present time of her life and flashbacks from her past life.”

Sarah is portrayed as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and holds a career in cultural anthropology. Throughout the novel, Sarah unveils family history and secrets. Specifically, she is confronted with the suicide of her younger brother and is left to learn how to deal with grief.

Cuba addressed her personal experiences in writing the novel by relating herself to Sarah.

“As I was writing the novel, I began to realize that I was writing about my own experience,” she said, adding the news of her brother committing suicide at a young age. “In the novel, Sarah discovers that suicide can’t be explained, which is also what I had learned.”

Aside from reading her novel, Cuba also discussed the importance of having strong reading and writing communities.

After her presentation, author Nan Cuba, sat down with students to discuss other subjects related to writing Thursday at Palo Alto College. Photo by Monica Lamadrid
After her presentation, author Nan Cuba, sat down with students to discuss other subjects related to writing Nov. 20 at Palo Alto College. Photo by Monica Lamadrid

“It encourages people to tell their stories” Cuba said. “It especially encourages people on this side of town to share their stories with others.”

The teams of people at both A&M-San Antonio and Palo Alto hope the Working Writers Series will encourage students to tell those stories.

The Working Writers Series is an event that showcases local authors who have experience in writing all forms of literature and are willing to share their tips with new writers.

Stefanie Wittenbach, librarian at A&M-San Antonio, said the university and Palo Alto’s library will continue to provide events, such as book readings, on both campuses.

The events will give the South Side community a chance to experience diversity, Tina Mesa, dean of learning resources at Palo Alto, said.

“We want to bring authors that are relatable to the student community,” she said. “It benefits them because it brings variety to the students.”

About the Author

Gloria Petit
Gloria Petit
Gloria Petit is managing editor for the Mesquite-News. She is majoring in communications-journalism and recently finished her minor in English. She attended Northwest Vista College, where she received an associate degree in Liberal Arts, prior to transferring to Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Gloria gained an interest for journalism while serving with her high school news broadcast at Southwest High School. Most recently, she served as an editor for the student news organization at Palo Alto College. Gloria hopes to return to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree. Email: GloriaB.Petit@jaguar.tamu.edu

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