100 Creatives 2012 Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof
University of Houston professor Robert Boswell always wanted to write, but took some sideways paths along the way to his present acclaim as author of 11 books and the writer of the cyber-punk novel, Virtual Death.
He graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in both psychology and creative writing. But he went on to earn his graduate degree in rehabilitation counseling. He practiced counseling in both Tucson and later in San Diego for two years.
As time went on, he only became more convinced that he wanted to pursue his writing career. So returning to the University Arizona, he earned his MFA in Creative Writing. He accepted a teaching position at Northwestern University just north of Chicago and then another at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where he worked for 20 years.
The award-winning author now lives in Texas and has been teaching at UH, alongside his wife, well known writer Antonya Nelson, for the last ten years.
What he does?
During the spring semester Boswell is a teacher in the English Department at UH and shares the Cullen chair in the nationally recognized Creative Writing Program, an intensive training program in both creative writing and literary studies. He has written a handful of novels, three story collections, two nonfiction books and a couple of plays and has won a number of awards for his writing including the PEN West Award for Fiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
He has had 11 books published including Century's Son, and The Geography of Desire, won the John Gassner Prize for his 2009 play Tongues and had three of his novels adapted to the big screen, including Twelve Mile Road and Crooked Hearts. Some of his other pieces have been featured in publications including The New Yorker and Harvard Review .
When he's not teaching at UH, Boswell is writing. He likes to spend his spare time in Colorado. His wife and he recently bought part of a 'ghost town' there and are working on turning the post office into a writing retreat.
"I grew up in a family of storytellers...I just love stories. I fell in love with them as a kid and then I became a serious reader. So I guess I am inspired by narrative."
If not here, then where?
"If I weren't in Houston, I'd probably be teaching in some other big city. Some place with a good theater scene." Some place like Chicago or New York he says.
But he is also drawn to the West. "I'm drawn to the mountains... so I might be in Colorado in the mountains or maybe New Mexico."
If not this, then what?
His childhood dream was to be a shortstop in baseball. "Baseball is one of my minor obsessions." That aside, he says he was always pretty active in politics so he might have gone that direction. Or maybe counseling still.
Then he says, "I guess the most honest answer is 'I don't know' ".
He is in Telluride, Colorado for the summer working on several projects, including revising an untitled play and his latest novel, Tumbledown, which is due to be published next year, He also has another novel in the works which he is already 300 pages into.
Aside from his writing projects, he's been in the middle of negotiations to sell the film rights to his short story collection "The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards" to actor James Franco with whom he is working on the screenplay.
More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Patrick Turk, visual artist
Elizabeth Keel, playwright
Bob Martin, designer
Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer
Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer
Jeremy Wells, painter
George Brock, theater teacher
Radu Runcanu, painter
Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media
Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker
Philip Hayes, actor
Patrick Palmer, painter
Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer
John Tyson, actor
Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker
Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer
Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer
Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor
Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer
Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts
Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer
Wade Wilson, gallery owner
Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright