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Maurice Carlos Ruffin

The University of Mississippi in Oxford has awarded Maurice Carlos Ruffin, a native of New Orleans, its John and Renée Grisham writer in residence honor for the 2020-2021 academic school year. Courtesy UM.

The University of Mississippi in Oxford has awarded Maurice Carlos Ruffin, a native of New Orleans, its John and Renée Grisham writer in residence honor for the 2020-2021 academic school year. Courtesy UM.

OXFORD, Miss. (AP)—New Orleans native Maurice Carlos Ruffin has been chosen as the University of Mississippi's 2020-21 John and Renée Grisham writer in residence.

Ruffin gained national recognition after writing “We Cast a Shadow,” a horror novel about a father trying to shield his son from racism. It was placed on best books lists in 2019 by The New York Times, The Washington Post and National Public Radio.

“Horror is a fitting genre to write about race in America,” Ruffin said. “As far back as Richard Wright’s 'Native Son,' Black American writers have turned to horror to describe a situation that can be, literally, horrible.”

While at the University of Mississippi as writer in residence, Ruffin will be working on a new novel he describes as an “upbeat and hopeful side of the race problem in America. It is about people coming together to solve those problems.”

In addition to working on his writing, Ruffin is teaching an undergraduate advanced fiction workshop online. Next semester, he’ll be teaching in the university’s graduate creative writing program.

Ruffin’s forthcoming short story collection, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” will be published in the spring of 2021 by One World Random House.

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