Stevenson University had the honor to host fiction writer Danielle Evans, who has been making major headway and a notable name for herself in the literary community. As stated on her website, “Danielle Evans is the author of the story collections The Office of Historical Corrections and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. Her first collection won the PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Hurston-Wright award for fiction, and the Paterson Prize for fiction. She is the 2021 winner of The New Literary Project Joyce Carol Oates Prize, a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts fellow, and a 2011 National Book Foundation 5 under 35 honoree. Her stories have appeared in magazines including The Paris Review, A Public Space, American Short Fiction, Callaloo, The Sewanee Review, and Phoebe, and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2008, 2010, 2017, and 2018, and in New Stories From The South.”

Evans previously taught creative writing at American University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and now she currently teaches in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Smith’s ENG 281 Cultural Identities and Literature class had the opportunity to become familiar with Evans’ stories “Happily Ever After,” “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain,” and “Boys Go to Jupiter.” Evans connects her material with her personal life, which aided the class being able to connect with these stories, relate to them, and grow in curiosity to find out the why behind the piece and to know more.

Through a series of questions asking Evans about her writing style, how she entwines her past with her stories, and how she determines what elements are important to include when storytelling, Evans took the class through a literary molded world of her own creation. While providing details about how her stories came to be Evans encourages writers to be their most authentic selves and to explore the depths of how far creativity can go. The results and responses that can derive from one’s work are vast: Evans has works that combine themes of dichotomy, misogyny, grief, womanhood, and friendship all into one; she appreciates the themes readers see that she didn’t intend as it symbolizes the effect a story can have.

Thank you Danielle Evans for sharing your creativity and insight with Stevenson!