FARMINGTON — Acclaimed New Hampshire writer Ben Nugent read to a room of students and residents Thursday evening in the Olsen Student Center as part of the University of Maine at Farmington’s Visiting Writers Series.

The UMF Visiting Writers Series, which is run by the BFA Creative Writing Program and the Writer’s Guild, invites writers to visit with senior writing students in the afternoon, and read excerpts from their works in the evening in the Olsen Student Center.

Nugent was introduced by writing student Kim Arthurs, who lauded the way Nugent’s writing had a “lyrical flow.” 

Nugent read a short story entitled “God,” which details a group of college students in a fraternity that view a female student as God after she writes a poem involving an embarrassing situation with a popular lacrosse player and fellow fraternity member.

The story follows the narrator, who has his own unique feelings about the poem’s subjects.

After he read the story, one student asked him where he came up with the idea.

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Nugent said that one day, two of his best creative writing students visited his office, and one of them told him about how she had written a short story about an embarrassing situation with another student, and how his friends started calling her “God.”

“I started thinking about what would cause brothers in a fraternity house to see a girl as God,” Nugent said. “I think it has something to do with seeing someone show the weaknesses of such a Herculean figure. There’s a power in that.”

Another student asked Nugent if he ever showed the short story to the student who told him the story.

“Yes, I showed it to her,” Nugent said. “She said that it was cool to see what another writer did with the story. I just hope she didn’t feel like I took her story and made it mine. I tried to change enough details to make it different. I hope she didn’t feel like I took it from her.”

Nugent’s nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, and n+1, and his fiction has appeared in Tin House.

He holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was an Iowa Arts fellow. He is the director of creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and teaches fiction and nonfiction in its MFA and undergraduate programs. He grew up in Amherst, Mass.

The next installment of the Visiting Writers Series will take place on Oct. 15 at the Emery Community Arts Center, when screenwriter and professor Jay Craven visits.

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