~by Caitlyn BucknerBackstrom


The very last reading of the semester was a very special guest and CSU alumnus. Before Devin Murphy spoke, Andrew Altschul made a few announcements regarding the reading series next year and thanked all of the generous donors who make the reading series possible. Then, he gave a big thank you speech to Danny Schonning who has organized and helped run the reading series this semester.

Andrew Altschul and Danny Schonning

Next Judy Doenges, a professor of Creative Writing here at CSU, introduced the reader of the evening by talking about how she came to know Murphy and said that he is “ambitious, talented, and most of all a good soul.”

Devon Murphy Reading

Devin Murphy then began with a little bit about his life before CSU and how that influenced his writing. He stated that he “always wanted to be a writer but didn’t know what that meant” so instead he wrote notes and stories as he traveled.

After finding his way to CSU he learned all about how to write and how to process his own emotions for his writing from the professors here. He said “CSU works. The culture here works.”  Some of the best advice he learned was:

  • Failure makes you grow, never settle for a false summit
  • Rejection is proof that you are doing work
  • Reverse engineer reading to learn how to write
  • Take yourself seriously as a writer

He then read a chapter from his latest novel Tiny Americans and it was a glimpse into the rich worlds and characters that he creates.

Tiny Americans Book Cover


Some great lines from his reading were:

  • “This felt like arriving at something we’d been craving.”
  • “Gifting away the silence.”
  • “Which feels like the pulse of the world that I might finally be coming to know.”

Finally, to end the night, he answered some questions and left us with these nuggets of wisdom:

  • Mentors are priceless, listen to them even when you don’t understand
  • Look for models and reverse engineer the process
  • The work itself will crack you open
  • Love what your doing, accept the challenge, and grow as a person