Wright State professor wins prestigious literary award

Erin Flanagan, professor of English language and literatures at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED

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Erin Flanagan, professor of English language and literatures at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED

Wright State University professor Erin Flanagan’s debut novel “Deer Season” received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author at the 76th annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards held April 28 in New York City.

The Edgar Allan Poe Awards recognize the best mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced each year. The awards are judged by volunteer committees of professional writers and are presented by the Mystery Writers of America, the premier organization for writers and fans of the mystery and crime genre.

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Erin Flanagan, professor of English and literatures at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED

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Erin Flanagan, professor of English and literatures at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

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Erin Flanagan, professor of English and literatures at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED

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“It was such a surreal and wonderful night,” says Flanagan, professor of English language and literatures. “I got to wear a cute dress and meet all these writers I’ve admired for a long time. I turned to my husband right before my category was announced and said, ‘I’ve had a great night.’ I just wanted to remember that no matter what happened. And then, holy crap, the night got even better.”

Set in a small rural community in Nebraska in 1985, echoing Flanagan’s similar small town upbringing, “Deer Season” explores the story of a teenage girl who has gone missing. At the same time, a mentally challenged farmhand returns from his first hunting trip with blood in his truck and a somewhat flimsy excuse for what happened over the weekend.

“Deer Season” was also named a finalist for the Midwest Book Award in Fiction in the Literary/Contemporary/Historical category. The contest is sponsored by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association.

“Winning the Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Author is such a huge honor and shock,” Flanagan said “I’ve followed this award for years. ‘Deer Season’ was an underdog in many ways, given that it was published by a University press and competing with the big houses, so to have it win just took my breath away. I read all the books in the category and loved them all.”

ExploreWright State professor nominated for prestigious literary award

Flangan has released two collections of her short stories: “It’s Not Going to Kill You, and Other Stories” in 2013 and “The Usual Mistakes” in 2005.

In July, she will release her second novel, “Blackout,” a thriller concerning a woman in Dayton who is a recovering alcoholic and starts experiencing mysterious blackouts. After discovering that other women in the city are suffering the same fate, she attempts to learn more about who is causing the blackouts and how she can stop them.

Her stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, Colorado Review, The Southern Review and Prairie Schooner. She has also had fellowships with Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, UCross, and the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and her Ph.D. in English with a specialization in creative writing from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

At Wright State, she teaches Introduction to Fiction Writing and Advanced Fiction Writing as well as special topic courses including novel writing, narrative time and fiction, and creative nonfiction.

“‘Deer Season’ is the fifth novel I’ve written but the first one I published,” Flanagan said. “I just want to tell all writers, don’t give up.”

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"Deer Season" by Erin Flanagan. CONTRIBUTED

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"Deer Season" by Erin Flanagan. CONTRIBUTED

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"Deer Season" by Erin Flanagan. CONTRIBUTED

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