Selected Publications

Biographical essays, articles, and memoir by Laura Sewell Matter


BCNFv2GRfall07“Pursuing the Great Bad Novelist” (Essay)

This essay is about a quest that began on an Icelandic beach when I found some pages from a rather awful romance novel washed up amidst the seaweed.  I made a surprising discovery about the author of the novel, Charles Garvice.  The piece evolves into a biography of him, and a reflection on his dubious yet compelling literary contributions to the world.

  • First published in The Georgia Review Vol. LXI, No. 3 (Fall 2007)
  • Anthologized in Best Creative Nonfiction (W.W. Norton, 2008)
  • Winner of a GAMMA Award from the Magazine Association of the Southeast.
  • Nominated for a National Magazine Award by the editors of The Georgia Review.
  • FULL TEXT (pdf)

GRspring10“Franz Schubert Dreamt of Indians” (Essay)

This essay is about Franz Schubert’s deathbed fixation on the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, and my own fixation on Schubert’s last piano sonata. (What I am most proud of about this essay, actually, is just that it landed in a journal alongside the work of a Nobel Laureate and two Pulitzer Prize-winners, one of whom happened to be the living poet whose work I most love and revere: Stephen Dunn.)


laugavegurinngranslos“The Long Run” (Essay)

This essay is about a champion American ultramarathon runner named Charles Hubbard and his inadvertent rivalry with a bunch of Icelanders named Siggi. Part profile, part travel essay, part sports writing, part personal narrative–ultimately I suppose I wrote this essay to understand why people run at all.

  • First published in Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature Issue 26.1 (2008)
  • Reprinted in Vela Magazine (September 2012)
  • Swedish translation anthologized in a volume of travel narratives entitled Gränslös (“Without Borders”) published by Sandnejlika Förlag (2015).
  • FULL TEXT AVAILABLE ONLINE

TombTopper“The Crab in the Stars” (Flash Memoir)

When E.B. White was asked why he wrote Charlotte’s Web, he said “a book is a sneeze.” So, too, is this short narrative about the things that transpired on the day, when I was twelve years old, when my grandfather died. It’s the only thing I’ve published that simply issued forth one day without any definite intention at all.


fisk_stanfordmag“Power and Glory” (Article)

This short, biographical article is an introduction to Charles Fisk. He began his professional life as a physicist, working on The Manhattan Project when he was fresh out of high school. He subsequently dropped out of graduate school at Stanford to pursue his goal of becoming a pipe-organ builder, and indeed, he became one of the pre-eminent masters of this discipline in the twentieth century.