Award-winning writer to read on campus

Free event planned for March 13 in Commons

Writer Mary McLaughlin Slechta

Writer Mary McLaughlin Slechta, winner of the Kimbilio National Fiction Prize, will visit the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford March 16 to read from her work.   

The reading, which is sponsored by Pitt-Bradford Arts, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The event is free and open to the public.   

Kimbilio, a community that supports fiction writers from the African diaspora, awarded its 2021 fiction prize to her forthcoming book, “Mulberry Street: Stories.”   

Judge Carolyn Ferrell said the collection was “incredibly inventive and innovative in its form … [and] an illuminating vision of a Black past, present and future.”   

Dr. Nancy McCabe, professor of writing and director of the writing program at Pitt-Bradford, said she met Slechta many years ago when they were both writers-in-residence (Slechta in poetry; McCabe in prose) at The Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y.   

“I’ve followed her career all these years, impressed by her range as she’s expanded to writing for children and, more recently, adult fiction,” McCabe said. “When she won this book award for her story collection, it seemed like the perfect time to bring her to campus.”   

Slechta is also the author of a choose-your-own-adventure-style book, “The Spoonmaker’s Diamond,” and a poetry collection, “Wreckage on a Watery Moon.”   

She has also published several chapbooks, and her work appears in journals and anthologies, including “Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora” and “Best Small Fictions 2021.”   

She is a Pushcart nominee, recipient of the Charlotte and Isidor Paiewonsky Prize from The Caribbean Writer and has twice served as poet-in-residence at Chautauqua.   

She grew up in a small African American and Jamaican community in rural Connecticut. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and her master’s degree from Syracuse University.