USCA’s Spring 2024 Oswald Writers Series will feature popular author Karen Russell

This year’s Spring Oswald Writers Series at the University of South Carolina Aiken will feature renowned short story writer Karen Russell.

She’s best known for her debut novel, Swamplandia!, which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. “It’s rare that the students at USCA get to be around someone of that literary stature,” says Andrew Geyer, chair of the English Department at USCA.

Russell is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Award, Bard Fiction Prize, Shirley Jackson Award, and the 2012 and 2018 National Magazine Award for fiction.

Geyer says he admires her use of imagery and the supernatural in her short fiction and even uses her work to teach students. “There’s a lot there for writing students to learn from,” he said. “She’s at her best with the short story format. Her real specialty is books of interconnected stories called story cycles, which is what she’ll be reading from during the Oswald Series event.”

Geyer has students in his Fiction Workshop class analyzing one of Russell’s story cycles called St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.

Russell is expected to speak and sign books at the Etherredge Center at 7:30 p.m. on March 19. The event is free and open to the public.

The Oswald Series was started by the late James and Mary Oswald, two longtime Aiken residents. Their generous donation to USCA served as the foundation for the creation of the writer’s series, later fostering a writing culture on campus. “Only through their generosity do we have the money to invite Karen Russell. Without their gift we would not be having this event,” Geyer said.

To explore more of Russell’s work, click the link here.
For more information, contact Angela Saxon -