TACOMA, Wash. – Three University of Puget Sound faculty members have published a collection of short stories in the new book Nine by Three: Stories, a title that only hints at the divergent and unpredictable journey the slim volume presents to the reader.
Beverly Conner, Hans Ostrom, and Ann Putnam, all established writers from the Department of English and African American Studies, include stories that sift through childhood experiences, imagined or real; recount days of adulthood that might have been ordinary, but for an extraordinary event; and examine characters who may not fit our daily world, yet are somehow familiar.
“Beverly, Ann, and I have been colleagues in creative writing at Puget Sound for about a quarter-century, and we had talked before about working on a book together,” said Ostrom. “A collection of our short stories seemed like the perfect kind of book for us, especially since much of our work is set on the West Coast.”
In the opening story, Ostrom’s “My Last Days in the Solar System,” a young boy gives his side of events during the early days at school. Conner’s “The Wheelman” traces one day in the life of a man whose child has died. Putnam’s “The Divination” takes a walk down the streets of Central Havana and witnesses a Santeria ceremony of ritual sacrifice. Sometimes searing, sometimes liberating, the stories put the reader in places so intimate that weeks later each story is recalled as an uncannily personal experience.
The collection’s forward, written by Ronald R. Thomas, a scholar of Victorian English literature and president of University of Puget Sound, begins: “Nine by Three could describe the dimensions of one of those long narrow carpets we call a runner and place in the hallway that leads us from one room to another. These nine stories from three very different writers are like that.” Each story, Thomas adds, springs from a dislocating and disorienting event and finally conveys us “from a place we must abandon to another into which we must enter.”
Beverly Conner’s work has appeared in the collections Private Voices, Public Lives; Women Writing on the Literary Life; and Colors of a Different Horse. An instructor in English at Puget Sound, she is the recipient of two fellowships at the Hedgebrook Writers Colony and is currently at work on her second novel.
Hans Ostrom, professor of African American Studies and English, and James Dolliver National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor, is the author of the novels Three To Get Ready (1991), which is currently being made into a feature film, and Honoring Juanita (2010), as well as The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976–2006. With J. David Macey, he edited The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African Amercian Literature (five volumes). Ostrom is a member of the PEN/American Center.
Ann Putnam has published short fiction, personal essays, literary criticism, and book reviews in anthologies. These include Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice, Hemingway and the Natural World, and the “Cuba” chapter for Hemingway in Context (Cambridge University Press), among others. Putnam is an instructor in English at Puget Sound. Her latest publication is the memoir Full Moon at Noontide: A Daughter’s Last Goodbye (2010).
Nine by Three: Stories has been adopted by the Peninsula Book Club in Gig Harbor. The book is the inaugural release by University of Puget Sound’s Collins Press. The printing venture was managed by Jane Carlin, director of Collins Memorial Library, while Wade Guidry handled the technical aspects. All proceeds from the book will go to the library to support future printing and publishing efforts.
Nine by Three: Stories is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers, as well as at the University of Puget Sound campus bookstore.
Photos of the authors and the book cover can be downloaded from: www.pugetsound.edu/pressphotos
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