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Creative Writing Coordinator Publishes Book of Short Stories on Grief


Unique and varied methods for confronting personal suffering are the theme for “The Grief Eater,” a collection of short stories published by Adelaide Books, New York, written by English, Literature and World Languages Associate Professor Deirdre Fagan.

Fagan, Ferris State University’s Literature-in-Person series coordinator and the ELWL department’s creative writing coordinator, said her eight short stories are book-ended by two poems.

“Each of the stories offers an unusual character, who has taken some unique route to express his or her grief,” Fagan said. “One piece considers a man who, having lost his wife, takes to making random phone calls to seek solace and a connection. In another, a woman tries to work through her emotions about the loss of her spouse while clad in her wedding dress at all times. The characters in the book express human reactions to their situations and often express their grief in what may be considered socially unacceptable ways. I wanted to show that grief is highly personal.”

Fagan said the short stories are presented in first-person and third-person narratives.

“I hope those who may be in their own period of grief find something here that can help them,” she said. “There really should be no unacceptable way to process grief, and I hope that some of these quirky stories demonstrate that. I chose the title ‘The Grief Eater’ because we often do ‘eat’ our grief, as in suppress our very human feelings to behave conventionally. I have dedicated the book in memory of my parents and two brothers who have passed away and to others who have had to ‘eat their own or another’s grief’ with the desire that the collection provide support to those who are seeking some comfort.”

Fagan has also published a chapbook of poetry,” Have Love,” with Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky, 2019. “Have Love” also partly addresses the theme of grief. She has further published a reference book on Robert Frost, Facts on File, New York, 2007, and has had her poems, short stories and essays in print and online literary journals. Fagan has also published essays on literary criticism and pedagogy.