Charles Baxter Collegiate Professor
PETER HO DAVIES is the author of the novels A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself (2021), The Fortunes (2016) and The Welsh Girl (2007) as well as the story collections The Ugliest House in the World (1997) and Equal Love (2000), and a work of non-fiction, The Art of Revision: The Last Word (2021). His work has appeared in Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, New York Times and TLS, among others, and his short fiction has been widely anthologized, including selections for Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards 1998 and Best American Short Stories 1995, 96 and 2001. In 2003 Granta magazine named him among its twenty "Best of Young British Novelists", and in 2008 he received the PEN/Malamud award for excellence in the short story. The Ugliest House in the World was awarded the John Llewelyn Rhys and PEN/Macmillan Prizes in the UK; Equal Love, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year was a finalist for the 2000 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the 2001 Asian American Literary Award. The Welsh Girl was long-listed for the Booker Prize, and the IMPAC award, and short-listed for The British Book Award Best Read of the Year. The Fortunes was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and Chautauqua Prize, and a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself was a New York Times Notable Book and long-listed for the Aspen Words Literary Prize. Davies is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (twice) and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has previously taught at the University of Oregon, Emory University and Northwestern University.
Peter Ho Davies on the Workshop
My guiding approach in workshop is to try to first consider the aims of any story under discussion and then determine its strengths and weaknesses in light of those aims. I believe as writers we often learn as much from what we do well as what we do badly (and are often as unsure of both) so my classes focus on both problems and successes in the stories examined.
An Excerpt from Peter Ho Davies from THE NEXT LIFE
The mourners were playing poker around the rosewood table the night before his father's funeral, and Lim was winning. They had begun the game to help themselves stay awake during the vigil. Pang had produced the new deck from a pocket of his white mourning suit and asked Lim's permission earlier in the evening. "It'll amuse the ghost," he said, indicating the casket. "Being able to see all our cards." Now it was almost dawn and Lim had been winning for an hour or more. It was uncomfortable. Where before they had talked softly among themselves now they played in silence. Lim wished he could get up and leave, but it seemed improper to end the game ahead. Every time he told himself to fold he would look at his cards and find a pair of aces, a wild card, four cards to a flush, something too good to turn down. He bet heavily on mediocre hands, hoping to have his bluff called, but the others were afraid of his good fortune now. When one of them did stay in, Lim made a hand with his last card and still took the pot. He fanned his cards to study them and thought of the coffin over his shoulder.