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UHD Cultural Enrichment Center’s March 9 Reading Event Features Award-Winning Author Siamak Vossoughi


By Sheryl E. Taylor

The College of Humanities & Social Sciences (CHSS) is home to the Cultural Enrichment Center (CEC) which is dedicated to serving the University through programs that enrich the academic life of its students while celebrating the cultural and ethnic diversity of our students, staff, faculty and Greater Houston. 

In alignment with its mission, CEC is hosting a virtual reading event with Siamak Vossoughi from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9.

The author will read from his two short story collections “Better Than War”— winner of Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction — and “A Sense of the Whole,” recipient of the Orison Fiction Prize. The event will be moderated by Dr. Jane Creighton, UHD Professor of English and English major Rachel Leigh, Poetry Editor for the Bayou Review. A Q&A session will immediately follow the reading.

“I read a glowing short review about his latest book, 'A Sense of The Whole,' in The New York Times. I bought the book to determine if I would use it in my Advanced Creative Writing class,” said Creighton. “I was quite taken with the stories and decided to use his book.”

Creighton noted that during Vossoughi’s time at UHD, he also will meet with creative writing students.

“I can attest to the enthusiasm my class has for his gifts as a writer,” she added. “They love his work. The collection as a whole speaks on a deeply human level of Iranian-American immigrant and first-generation experiences that richly inform so much of American life. Vossoughi is a wonderful storyteller.”

She also emphasized that “Vossoughi’s excellence as a writer and the advocacy in his work for a more just and empathetic world support the Center’s mission to promote high-impact experiences for UHD students by aiming to bring students into conversation with some of the great writers and artists practicing in our time.”

This event, according to Creighton, builds on recent experiences students have had with greats such as Hernan Díaz, Carolyn Forché, Norma Elia Cantú, and Houston’s own Lupe Méndez.

“I’m most eager for our students to see what is possible for them as writers and storytellers through the presence and inspiration of Siamak Vossoughi,” she added.

The Center is collaborating with CHSS Departments Arts & Communications and History, Humanities & Languages to bring Dr. Henry M. Sayre Professor Emeritus of Art History at Oregon State University-Cascades, who will deliver the talk “Oh Happy People of the Future: Art, Literature, and Pandemic Death,” and designer and ethnographer Paula Zucotti for UHD’s April Fine Arts Festival.

To attend A Reading With Siamak Vossoughi (free and open to the public), register here. For more information, contact Jane Creighton at creightonj@uhd.edu.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.