Newly-published author Odette Larson of Porterville, a California State University, Fresno alumnae and English instructor, will be the guest speaker at a prose reading, reception and book signing on Wednesday, Nov. 28, sponsored by the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

The event will be at 4 p.m. in UC 200. It is free and open to the public.

Larson, who earned her master’s degree in English (non-fiction prose option), was awarded the Outstanding Thesis Award by the Division of Graduate Studies last spring. Judges commended her “superb technical control of her material,” and “the significance of the story for our time.”

Her thesis became several chapters of her first book, “Flying Sparks: Growing Up on the Edge of Las Vegas” (2001, Verso Press), an autobiographical novel recounting a troubled childhood of poverty and physical and sexual abuse. She avoided her difficult home life by wandering the desert of Las Vegas in the 1950s on horseback and later running away from home. Eventually she finds herself in a mental institution called Sparks.

The book has been called a cross between “Girl, Interrupted” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Larson, a skilled horse trainer, returned to college after raising her children, and started writing just over six years ago.

EDITORS: To schedule an interview with Odette Larson, contact Shirley Armbruster at 278-5292.