Valerie Arvidson

Valerie explored fiction incorporated with visual material. She wrote a hybrid novel and analysed picture-embedded work by Teju Cole and Carole Maso.

PhD awarded 2019

Valerie is a writer of fiction, essays, poetry, and hybrid work incorporated with pictures. She is also an amateur visual artist interested in drawing, painting, photography and collage. Originally from Massachusetts, Valerie lived in Oakland, and then in Seattle for several years, before moving to Wellington, New Zealand, where she now studies and lives with her husband and son. Valerie earned her BA in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College (2008), where she also studied Italian and Anthropology. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington (2012). In Seattle she taught literature and research writing at Green River College and creative writing and composition at the University of Washington. Her writing has appeared online or in print with Permafrost, Capital (NZ), The Seattle Review, Blunderbuss, Anomalous Press, Apt (Aforementioned Productions), Hunger Mountain, and others.

Valerie writes: 'I was interested in the combination of picture and text as a form of narrative collage that creates a third space of imaginative pictorial elements for the viewer-reader. My critical studies informed the creation of my own picture-embedded novel.

'For the creative component of the PhD thesis, I wrote a novel-in-stories under the working title Be Hold Her. The chapters were linked by recurring themes and characters, and the use of pictures and photographs from various sources that evoke longing, loss, getting lost, family, art, memories, mortality, melancholia, and searching for a sense of "home."

'The critical component was an analysis of two picture-embedded novels, The Art Lover by Carole Maso and Every Day Is for the Thief by Teju Cole, using close reading and a critical lens informed by the concepts of the iconotext and the pictorial third as put forth by image-text theorist Liliane Louvel.

'My responses to these hybrid works of fiction were guided by the questions: what are the meanings and effects of the novel as an iconotext on the reader; and through what strategies, of image and text interaction in particular, are those meanings and effects achieved?'

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