Bio

C. Kevin Smith received an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow. At the University of Iowa, in recognition of his teaching excellence, he was awarded the Provost’s Postgraduate Visiting Writer Fellowship in Fiction. Currently a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University, he is at work on his first novel.

He completed his PhD thesis at Princeton University under the direction of Suzanne Nash. Bare Pedestals: The Text of Public Monuments in Nineteenth-Century Paris explores literary responses to the creation, destruction, and transformation of public monuments in post-revolutionary Paris. Research on his thesis was supported by a French Government Chateaubriand Fellowship. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa, Princeton University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and California State University, Northridge. He was Lecturer of English at the Université de Bordeaux III. Other teaching positions include Visiting Lecturer at the University of Washington, and Assistant Professor at The George Washington University.

Emile Norman: By His Own Design, an award-winning PBS documentary directed by Will Parrinello, features Kevin and his husband, Jeff Mallory, who collaborated with the filmmakers to create a loving portrait of artist Emile Norman, a gay pioneer and true California original. A photograph of Kevin and Jeff in Emile Norman's Big Sur home appears in Tom Atwood's Kings & Queens in Their Castles, a landmark collection of photographs of LGBTQ subjects.

Kevin’s writing has been published in The Sun, The Redwood Coast Review, Alimentum, Lambda Book Report, the Monterey County Weekly, the Monterey County Herald, and elsewhere. Recognition for his writing includes the Power of Purpose Award, from the John Templeton Foundation, and awards from the Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation and the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts. Academic essays and reviews have appeared in French Forum, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Poetics Today, and in the volume L’Œuvre d’identité: Essais sur le romantisme de Nodier à Baudelaire.

Kevin is an ardent amateur pianist who has collaborated with chamber music ensembles and as a vocal accompanist. His principal teacher was Marie Brown Curea and he most recently studied with Alejandra Restrepo Escobar, at the University of Iowa School of Music. At Chamber Music Monterey Bay, he served as Board Vice President as well as on the Booking Committee. He maintains an active solo piano practice.

As a certified Instructor of Nam Hoa Tai Chi and Qigong, Kevin continues to train with his teacher, Master Jim Scott-Behrends, and with his fellow instructors and students in the Blooming Lotus Tai Chi community.

Kevin studied acting and voice and oral interpretation with Gary Bolen. He appeared at the Magic Circle Theatre in a production of The Exonerated, directed by Elsa Con.

At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Kevin studied with Marilynne Robinson, Lan Samantha Chang, Paul Harding, Margot Livesey, Yiyun Li, Ayana Mathis, Bennett Sims, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Ethan Canin. Other writing mentors include Ellen Bass, Fenton Johnson, Brandi Kary, Wendy Johnson, and Henry Marchand. Kevin’s short story “Hard Core” was chosen by Michael Cunningham for a public Master Class at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. With Liam O’Brien, Kevin co-founded the Iowa City Queer Salon.

Writing retreats and conferences Kevin has attended include the Lambda Literary Retreat (where he studied with Samuel Delaney, Katherine V. Forrest, Michael Nava and Dorothy Allison), Squaw Valley Community of Writers (Michelle Latiolais, Lynn Freed, Max Byrd, Andrew Tonkavich and Jim Krusoe), and Tin House (Lan Samantha Chang).

Kevin was born in Culver City, California, and was raised in Canoga Park, Topanga Canyon, and Santa Monica. He left high school after the eleventh grade, having earned a GED at the age of sixteen, and spent a summer hitchhiking and riding trains across Europe, where he slept on an Irish beach, discovered his love of France, swam in the Mediterranean, and saw his homosexuality reflected back to him in the curious faces of beautiful strangers.

He lives in Carmel and in Big Sur, California.