In 'Use of Fame,' Alum Cornelia Nixon Looks at Love from Both Sides

Thursday, June 01, 2017

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS -- Her new novel, “The Use of Fame” (Counterpoint Press), tells the story of Abby McCormick and Ray Stark, college professors and poets whose passionate 25-year marriage unravels in the face of Stark’s affair with a graduate student and McCormick’s emotional and physical distancing.

Nixon, 70, writes from her home in Berkeley and a second home on an island in Puget Sound, Washington. With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, a Ph.D. in literary criticism from UC Berkeley, she is author of short stories, novels and a book of literary criticism. She’s also taught creative writing at Mills College in Oakland.

“I wrote ‘Use of Fame’ as an attempt to understand why things happen in a marriage. It was better than therapy,” she says. “The characters want it to last, but they’ve made bad decisions that put love at risk.”