The West Virginia University Press announced today the Oct. 15th release date for Valerie Niemans debut short story collection entitledFidelities.Nieman received her bachelors degree in journalism from WVU and has previously published two novels and two poetry collections.
The 18 stories that make upFidelitiesare mostly set in Appalachia and are microcosms that depict the people, the places and the subtleties of the region.
What is unique about Niemans fiction collection is the way in which genuine and distinct narrative voices emerge from each story. Nieman allows the minutiae of everyday life to reveal the very essence of her characters. InWorth,for example, a man slaps a fish against a rock and his sense of hopelessness reverberates within the reader. Every move that Niemans characters make, whether it be a woman clutching a purse or an old man baiting a line, adds another glimpse into their psyches.
Nieman addresses the human condition in which inner and outer lives must co-exist. Her stories explore the ways in which the internal and external must react to and interact with each other. For example, inDelivering the Message,inner and outer lives seem to compete as the main character decides how to deal with cancer while still making a perfect apple pie for her husband.
Although many of Niemans stories revolve around a feeling of loss and desperation, the collection is punctuated with instances of life, hope and expectancy. Her stories also reflect the minute gestures and turns of phrase that are both universal and classically Appalachian, making readersno matter where theyre fromfeel as if theyve come home.
Niemans previously published books includeNeena Gathering,a science fiction novel, two chapbooks of poetry,Slipping Out of Old EveandHow We Live,and her latest novel,Survivors,published in 2000.
She holds an M.F.A in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and currently teaches English and journalism at North Carolina A&T State University.
Nieman has been honored with a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in creative writing and grants of support from the West Virginia Humanities Foundation and Kentucky Foundation for Women. She is a two-time winner of the Elizabeth Simpson Smith Prize in Fiction from the Charlotte Writers Club, the Greg Grummer Prize from Phoebe at George Washington University and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize.
For more information on Fidelities or other titles published by the WVU Press, call toll free 1-866-WVU-PRESS (988-7737) or visithttp://www.wvupress.com.