Max Porter, winner of the International Dylan Thomas Prize 2016, on literary tour of Texas

Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers, which won the International Dylan Thomas Prize 2016 will be touring Texas later this week.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers, published by Faber & Faber, is Max’s debut book – part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief.

Inspired by Crow, the collection of poems by Ted Hughes, Grief is the Thing with Feathers is the story of two young boys who face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and the pain of loss gives way to memories, the little unit of three starts to heal.

In The Guardian, reviewer Sarah Crown called Porter's novel "heartrending, blackly funny, deeply resonant, a perfect summation of what it means to lose someone but still to love the world."

Max Porter with his book (full page size)

Hosted by the Department of English at The University of Texas at Austin, Max Porter will give a reading and Q&A in the Joynes Reading Room at 7pm on Thursday 3 November. The event is free and open to the public.

At 1pm on Saturday, Max will join Paul Lisicky (The Narrow Door) at the Texas Book Festival in a discussion about what does it mean to write through the experience of loss? And what happens when an author goes out on the road to talk about it over and over again?

One of the largest and most prestigious literary festivals in the country, the annual Texas Book Festival features 250+ nationally and critically recognized authors, 20+ venues including the State Capitol, 80+ exhibitors, live music, local food trucks, family activities, and countless opportunities to meet authors and fellow book lovers. Founded in 1995 by First Lady Laura Bush, the Festival has hosted thousands of notable and award-winning authors over the years, including Margaret Atwood, Robert Caro, Sandra Cisneros, Salman Rushdie, Cheryl Strayed, Walter Mosley, Molly Shannon, Frank McCourt, Ziggy Marley, Liz Carpenter, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and many others.

Professor Kurt Heinzelman, a member of the International Dylan Thomas Prize judging panel, said: “The English Department at the University of Texas has sponsored a reading and visitation of the International Dylan Thomas Prize winner virtually every year since the inception of the award over ten years ago, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Swansea University in celebrating this prestigious international award.”