Award-winning author Peter Ho Davies toured the UT campus this week at an event hosted by the English department. The British author read excerpts from his own novels, such as ‘The Art of Revision’ and ‘A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself’, both published in 2021.
The event was the first in-person creative writing book reading at the university in two years, with two more author readings this spring.
Ho Davies was born in England and grew up in the small town of Coventry to a Welsh father and a Chinese mother. He told stories from his youth, especially those that included his father, who remains a major influence in many of his novels.
Ho Davies went on to study at Cambridge University as the first member of his family to attend college. After graduation, he moved to the United States, where he began his teaching career. He has taught at several universities, such as Northwestern and Emory University, and is currently a full professor at the University of Michigan.
Her first book “The Welsh Girl”, published in 2006, became a London Times bestseller. Ho Davies has won numerous accolades for his work, such as the John Llewelyn Rhys Award as well as the Oregon Book Award.
One of Ho Davies’ alumni is currently on staff at the University of Tennessee. Chris Hebert, assistant professor in the English department, was taught by him a few years ago at the University of Michigan.
Ho Davies’ book, “The Art of Editing,” is used by Hébert’s class as a guide to editing their own work.
“It wasn’t enough that Peter was already a celebrated, award-winning short story writer and novelist, we now have to rely on him as a dynamic critic as well,” Hebert said.
As Ho Davies read from his book ‘The Art of Revision’, he explained how his father, a former military and engineer, and his middle-class background influenced his work.
“My father had long been aware that he had hit a ceiling in his job, and increasingly, for at least the last 10 years of his working life, he was waiting to be fired,” Ho Davies said.
His father’s fear of losing his job as well as his work ethic influenced Ho Davies’ career path as a writer.
“Writing feels like a job that no one can take away from you. I may not be good at it, but no one can take it away from me,” Ho Davies said.
The author attempted to tell realistic stories about love, loss, grief and joy. After reading an excerpt from his latest novel, ‘A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself’, he told the audience how moved his wife was to tears. For the writer, it was a feat.
“My goal is to break your heart,” Ho Davies said.
The event was a success, as Ho Davies garnered high praise from the public after reading his two novels. Ho Davies’ books are available for purchase through several sources, including both Union Avenue Books in Knoxville and stores nationwide such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.