Lizz Schumer, class of 2008, will return to campus to read from her book, “Buffalo Steel,” at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, in the third-floor loft of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.
One of the central questions in the new novel: Are we the product of our environments, or are our environments skewed by the perspectives our experiences create?
Published by Black Rose Writing, “Buffalo Steel” is “a gripping, raw coming-of-age story for the reader who understands that we are never finished creating ourselves, even when we travel the world to do so.”
The novel follows the tumultuous life of Mary Catherine, a suburban girl turned world traveler. In turns sad, bleakly frightening, sardonically funny and poignant, Buffalo Steel reads like a memoir of many individuals conglomerated into one exemplary story.
“I drew from elements of my own experience to create characters that are grippingly, devastatingly real,” Schumer explains. “And I placed them within contexts I knew intimately, leading them through lives that were very much true for many people, and will be true for many readers, as well.”
Schumer’s book uses a series of lyrical stories connected by found text, historical anecdotes, and quotations to explore what it means to be part of a society by birth, assimilation or a combination of the two. Firmly grounded in the rust belt’s historical and cultural context, Buffalo Steel leads readers from the Great Depression to the 2000’s and back again, in an exploration of how a person is a product of a place, or how a place that shapes us affects our trajectory. “Who are we, when we strip away everything we’ve ever known?” Schumer asks. “Buffalo Steel is my attempt at an answer. I hope it challenges readers to discover their own church, their own home, and their own steel.”
A graduate of St. Bonaventure’s Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Schumer is a writer, reporter and photographer who lives and works in Buffalo. A 2012 Pushcart Prize award nominee, her poetry and prose has published in many literary magazines, journals, online media and anthologies.
She is the former editor in chief of the Pitkin Review literary magazine, and works as the editor of the Springville Journal. Her journalistic credits include USA Weekend Magazine, Buffalo Spree, the Hamburg Sun, the Buffalo News NeXt, Business First, Auxiliary Magazine and others. She has also served as the publicity director for the Subversive Theatre Collective.
Her reading is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Schumer will be available after the reading to sign copies of her book, which will be available for sale.
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