Department of English to host author featured in ‘Best American Short Stories 2018’

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, author Jocelyn Nicole Johnson will visit Radford University to host a discussion about her works and host a reading.

The reading, which takes place in the Bonnie Auditorium at 2:15 p.m., along with the discussion that starts at 6 p.m. in Heth Hall 014, will provide students with an opportunity to hear and interact with an author from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“Our students will take inspiration from her example,” said Sean Keck, assistant professor of English. For students in classes studying Johnson's writing, her visit to Radford offers the rare opportunity to interact directly with an author on the syllabus. This semester, [Johnson] is on the reading list for ‘Fiction Writing,’ ‘Advanced Fiction Writing’ and ‘African American Literature.’”

As Keck was preparing the syllabus for “Advanced Fiction Writing,” he was “blown away” by Johnson’s piece in “Best American Short Stories 2018.”

“Her contributor’s note mentioned that she lived in Charlottesville, Virginia, so at the time I had a vague idea that maybe we could coordinate a visit,” Keck said. “Dr. Jeanne Mekolichick, associate provost for Academic Programs, helped me coordinate the initial meeting among our campus partners, and her office also provided the funding for the event. Once we had these resources in place, I sent Jocelyn an invitation to visit Radford. We were very excited that she accepted.”

In addition to appearing in “Best American Short Stories 2018,” Johnson’s work has been in “The Guardian,” “Guernica,” “Jane's Stories,” “Literary Mama,” “Our Stories” and more. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won the Richard Bausch Short Story Contest.  For more on her work, visit

Johnson’s visit is a joint initiative of the Office of Academic Programs, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Department of English.

Apr 11, 2019
Max Esterhuizen