Coffee House reading series will feature visiting author Bonnie Jo Campbell

Coffee House Espresso
Coffee House Espresso

Author Bonnie Jo Campbell will give a coffee house reading as part of a reading series from the Inver Hills Department of English and the Creative Writing Club. The reading will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 at Amore Coffee, 879 Smith Ave. St. Paul, MN.

Campbell’s works are being read by two English classes this semester. Earlier in the day, Campbell will serve as a guest lecturer in one of those classes.
Campbell is the bestselling author of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters (W.W. Norton), Once Upon a River, and American Salvage, among other works. She was a National Book Award finalist, NBCC Award finalist, and a Guggenheim Fellow. Additionally, the Guardian named her one of the top writers of rural noir fiction.

Author Bonnie Jo Campbell will speak as part of the English department's Coffee House series.
Author Bonnie Jo Campbell will speak as part of the English department’s Coffee House series.

An established author with more than 20 years of experience, Campbell said she hopes to help and inspire the next generation of writers. Specifically, Campbell said she will talk about the work one has to put into the writing process and how to get published.

“I hope to offer a lively conversation with some insights to getting started as writer,” said Campbell.

Campbell started her writing career in her early 30s. Originally a math major, Campbell said when was 33 she felt a strong craving to take a writing class. That class changed the trajectory of her education and launched her writing career.

“I’ve always been a writer. I just wasn’t very good. In that class, I learned it was just a matter of education and practicing to get good at it,” said Campbell.

Another insight she gleaned from that class was that there’s value in connecting with other writers.

“It’s important to share work and help each other,” said Campbell.

Pursuing a writing career isn’t easy. In fact, Campbell is frank that it takes a lot of hard work.

“The hard work is satisfying though,” said Campbell.

The Inver Hills English department hosts a coffee house reading every semester. Instructor Lisa DuRose said in the past, the department has hosted faculty readings and invited students to share their work as well.  Bonnie Jo’s visit is the first time the department has invited a visiting author to read.

“I hope students who attend Bonnie’s reading will feel less intimated about writing.  Bonnie often talks about how writing is simply about working hard.  It’s not about being brilliant or gifted; it’s simply about sticking with an idea and having the discipline to keep working until you get it right.  I think it’s a good philosophy to impart to anyone who wants to create art or, for that matter, wants to attain a college degree,” said DuRose.

To learn more about the Inver Hills English department visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *