Author Richard Katrovas to read at Vanderbilt; New memoir is The Years of Smashing Bricks

Poet and novelist Richard Katrovas will read from his upcoming memoir The Years of Smashing Bricks at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Katrovas, who teaches writing at Western Michigan University, will appear at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Buttrick Hall on the Vanderbilt campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Katrovas has written six books of poetry, the short story collection Prague USA, the novel The Mystic Pig, and the memoir The Republic of Burma Shave.

Katrovas has mined his eventful early life for the memoirs. He lived in cars and motels across America with his family as a child while his father pursued petty crimes and cons. When his father went to prison, the family lived on welfare in public housing projects.

Relatives adopted Katrovas as a teenager and moved him to Japan, where he earned a black belt in karate. He taught karate and worked in restaurants in San Diego and New Orleans and eventually earned a master of fine arts from the Iowa Writers‘ Workshop.

The New York Times Book Review said Katrovas‘ work is “tough, direct, gritty, full of wonder.”

“There is nothing meek about Mr. Katrovas. … He sings with an authority that is guided by compassion, but an unblinking eye for what is beautiful within what is not.”

Audio of the reading will be posted on VUCast, the website of Vanderbilt News Service, at

Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS

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