MFA Graduate Eric Schlich Wins GLCA Fiction Prize

MFA graduate Dr. Eric Schlich is a recipient of the Great Lakes College Association Fiction Prize for his book Quantum Convention. Eric generously agreed to an interview about the book and what he is working on now. Eric graduated in 2012 and earned a PhD in fiction from Florida State in 2018. He is now an assistant professor at the University of Memphis.


Dr. Eric Schlich

What are you working on?

I’ve revising the novel that was my dissertation at FSU. Eli Harpo’s Adventure to the Afterlife is a coming-of-age novel that satirizes heaven tourism books such as Heaven is for Real. It’s also a dysfunctional family/road trip novel and is partially set at a (fictional) Christian theme park in Orlando called Bible World. In addition, I’m re-drafting a novel called Titanic 2.0, about a Titanic replica and the hijinks that ensue on board (spoiler: it sinks… again).

What have you had published recently?

My output of stories has slowed a bit since transitioning to novel writing. My most recent publications were in 2018: a dystopic story (“Unpresidented!”) in Fairy Tale Review, a flash fiction piece (“Sunscreen”) in Gulf Coast, and a story I drafted a while ago at BG (“Journal of a Cyclops”) in The Massachusetts Review.

What is the Great Lakes College Association Award? 

The GLCA New Writers Award was founded in 1970 and is awarded by a group of thirteen Midwestern colleges to first books by three debut authors, one in each genre: fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. I received the 2020 award in fiction for my first book, Quantum Convention, a story collection that was initially drafted as my MFA thesis at BG and later revised.

How does one get nominated?

The press where the author’s first book was published nominates the book. In my case, that was the University of North Texas Press, which published Quantum Convention after it won UNT’s 2018 Katherine Anne Porter Prize. Judges of the GLCA New Writers Award are faculty members of creative writing and literature at GLCA’s thirteen member colleges.

The cover of Quantum Convention

What does the award provide?

Each year the winning writers in the three categories receive invitations to visit several GLCA colleges, where they give readings, meet with students and faculty, sign books, and visit creative writing classes. I’m looking forward to this Midwestern book tour next academic year.

What colleges will you visit? When?

The colleges will all be members of the GLCA, but I’m not sure which will invite me yet. There are 13 total colleges and usually about half or so offer invitations. The visits will take place next academic year, so sometime in the Fall 2020 – Spring 2021 calendar.

Are you doing any other public speaking/readings that people should know about?

I’ll be signing books this year at AWP in San Antonio. That will be on Friday March 6, 12:30-1:30 pm, at the University of North Texas Press’s book fair table. I’m hoping to visit my old stomping ground at BGSU soon, but not sure when yet.

Where can people find your work?

Several of my stories can be read online: the title story of my collection, “Quantum Convention,” at Crazyhorse; “Lipless” at New South; and “Head Over Knees” at Electric Literature.

What else should people know about your writing and/or the GLCA Award?

Most of my publishing success has come from submitting to contests, beginning with stories in literary magazines, then a book-length contest, and now a post-publication book award. I encourage BG’s current MFAs to submit to them. It can hurt the wallet (ouch! submission fees!), but if you win one or two you might break even and it really helps get your work out there.

My website

GLCA New Writers Award website

Updated: 06/22/2020 01:07PM