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Carter, Steven 1961-

Carter, Steven 1961-


Born 1961. Education: Hiwassee Junior College, A.A.; Tusculum College, B.A.; University of Southern Mississippi, M.A., Ph.D.


Home—Georgetown, KY. Office—English Department, Georgetown College, 400 E. College St., Georgetown, KY 40324. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer, educator. Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY, assistant professor of English.


I Was Howard Hughes: A Novel, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2003.

Famous Writers School: A Novel, Counterpoint (New York, NY), 2006.

Also author of short stories. Contributor to periodicals, including Antioch Review, Tin House, Northwest Review, South Dakota Review, American Literary Review, Crescent Review, Mississippi Review, and South Carolina Review. Former editor, Georgetown Review.


An assistant professor of English, Steven Carter is also the author of numerous short stories, as well as longer works of fiction, including I Was Howard Hughes: A Novel and Famous Writers School: A Novel. Carter's 2003 debut novel, I Was Howard Hughes, is a faux biography of the famous entrepreneur, written by the fictional biographer, Alton Reece. Something of a bookstore celebrity because of a Rolling Stone piece on Madonna and a biography of Herman Melville, Reece puts together journals, interviews, and letters to form a portrait of the life of the enigmatic Hughes. Carter/Reece serves up anecdotes—some true and some not—involving lovers, such as Jean Harlow and Ava Gardner, and examines Hughes's failed scheme to build Nevada as a pillar of morality. Writing in Library Journal, David A. Berona felt that while "this is a clever if terse account of the Hughes legend," the biographer as well as his subject are not "developed adequately to elicit sympathy." A Publishers Weekly reviewer had higher praise for this first novel, calling it a "cheeky look at the relationship between biographer and subject." The same reviewer went on to note that Carter's novel builds "a dizzying hall-of-mirrors effect with its double portrait." Similarly, a Kirkus Reviews critic lauded I Was Howard Hughes as a "madly inventive mock bio," calling it "a darkly diverting, slightly cautionary tale about a barmy billionaire and his batty biographer."

Carter's second novel, the 2006 Famous Writers School, features self-styled writing guru Wendell Newton, who parleys a stint as an agricultural journalist and a self-published novel into the status of writing expert and coach. His Famous Writers School has a steady flow of mediocre students, and the novel focuses on his relationship with three of those, developing story and character through letters exchanged and fiction critiqued. Dan is a tractor salesman who has written a hard-edged piece of crime fiction that Newton secretly covets; Rio is a singer from Pittsburgh with whom Newton is trying to carry on a flirtation; and Linda is a homemaker with little visible talent but a grudge against her writing teacher. Newton is free with trite advice and eager to purloin the ideas of his students. A critic for Kirkus Reviews, noting the difficulties posed in an epistolary novel developed through four different points of view, called the novel "a smartly conceived send-up of writerly ambition, imperfectly executed." Likewise, a Publishers Weekly reviewer thought that while Newton comes across as a full-drawn character, the three students as characters are "lightly sketched." The same reviewer did, however, praise Carter's "terrific ear for the rumblings of the human ego," as well as his "intuitive sense of how fiction is often substituted for truth." Karen Kleckner, writing in Library Journal, had a higher assessment of Famous Writers School, calling it a "laugh-out-loud celebration of good storytelling and a satire of scribblers who wear their New Yorker rejection letters on their sleeves."



Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2003, review of I Was Howard Hughes: A Novel, p. 923; August 15, 2006, review of Famous Writers School: A Novel, p. 803.

Library Journal, October 15, 2003, David A. Berona, review of I Was Howard Hughes, p. 96; October 1, 2006, Karen Kleckner, review of Famous Writers School, p. 56.

Publishers Weekly, July 7, 2003, review of I Was Howard Hughes, p. 49; July 31, 2006, review of Famous Writers School, p. 46.


Georgetown College Department of English Web site, (April 9, 2007), faculty profile of author.

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