The New Narrator: Laura McBride

Author of an upcoming novel set in Las Vegas

Photo by Jon Estrada

Photo by Jon Estrada

ACHIEVEMENT: Having never published fiction before—not even a short story—this College of Southern Nevada English professor landed a book deal with Simon & Schuster.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: The book is not just a win for McBride, but potentially all of us. We Are Called to Rise, which hits stores on June 3, is literary fiction exploring the theme of courage set in contemporary Las Vegas and written by a longtime Las Vegan. In a city mainly represented to the rest of the world by writers who swoop in and out, it’s exciting to have a local voice to further our nascent literary tradition.

WRITING ABOUT VEGAS: “I’ve been surprised a couple of times about how odd that appears to people,” McBride says. “It’s still surprising that people see it as so unusual, even though I myself thought that way before I lived here.”

IMMERSIVE GOAL: “I love to read a story where I’m completely lost in characters’ lives,” she says. Instead of seeking a “big message or cool technique,” the author hopes readers won’t want her story to end. “I love that experience. That’s the kind of book I love.”

THE POWER OF HER WORDS: “I saw Laura read from her novel at Yaddo,” says native Las Vegan and author Charles Bock, referring to an event at the artists colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. “She held an entire room of artists and writers transfixed, which is not an easy thing.”

IN THE MEANTIME: McBride continues to teach at CSN, where she is regarded by students posting to as a demanding and excellent instructor. She is rearranging her schedule to begin work on her second novel.

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