July 24 – 28, 2024

Suzanne Matson’s fourth novel, Ultraviolet, was published by Catapult in 2018. The novel weaves her own Finnish American family narrative into a much larger American landscape, resulting in a novel admired by readers far beyond the Finnish American community. She will discuss her process of family research. Where did she search? How did the search affect her understanding of Finnish Americans and of America in general? What has she learned about the question of writers using family research in their literary creation? This presentation will take the audience deep into the author’s journey from fact to fiction. Attendees at this session will have the opportunity to learn both about Finnish American family history in general and about creative writing in particular.

Presenter Bio: Originally from Portland, Oregon, Matson received a BA in English from Portland State University, an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and a PhD in English, also from Washington. A 2012 fellow in fiction writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, Matson has also received creative writing fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and was named the Finlandia Foundation Lecturer of the Year for 2023. She teaches at Boston College and lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

Matson has published four novels, assorted short fiction and two volumes of poetry. Her short fiction has appeared in Harvard Review, Carolina Quarterly, Mussoorie Writers, Pangyrus, and as a Ploughshares Solo. Many of the poems collected in these volumes were previously published in journals including The American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Boston Review, Poetry Northwest, The Southern Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Shenandoah, and others. Her autobiographical, literary, and op-ed essays have appeared in The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe and the Globe Magazine, Child, The Seattle Times, The American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and Mid-American Review.