Professor Receives Accolades for Debut Novel

Friday, March 2, 2012

Amber Dermont, associate professor of English at Agnes Scott College, has just published her first novel, The Starboard Sea.

The novel was reviewed in The New York Times, which wrote, “It is a rich, quietly artful novel that is bound for deep water, with questions of beauty, power and spiritual navigation as its main concerns. The title refers not to the right side of a boat but to the right course through life, and the immense difficulty of finding and following it.”

The Starboard Sea was also reviewed by The Washington Post, which wrote, "The Starboard Sea offers a revealing glimpse into the world of the 1 percent. It reminds us how greed and pride lead to moral bankruptcy, how money and privilege insulate the rich from risk. At the same time, it’s also a portrait of teenage love, the exquisite pain of grief and regret, and the exhilarating world of competitive sailing."

The Starboard Sea is about life and death, friendship and love, as one young man must navigate the depths of his emotions. Set against the backdrop of the 1987 stock market collapse, The Starboard Sea is an examination of the abuses of class privilege, the mutability of sexual desire, the thrill and risk of competitive sailing and the adult cost of teenage recklessness. It is about a young man finding his moral center, trying to forgive himself and accepting the gift of love.

Dermont is also the author the short story collection, Damage Control. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she received her Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. Her work has recently appeared in American Short Fiction, Crazyhorse, Open City, Tin House, TriQuarterly, Zoetrope: All-Story and the anthologies Best New American Voices, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Worst Years of Your Life and Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform. She is the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

“The publication of this spectacular new novel continues Amber Dermont’s meteoric rise to fame as a writer of national prominence. We are so fortunate that our students can take courses in creative writing from Professor Dermont and other well-published and award-winning faculty members,” said Carolyn J. Stefanco, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Agnes Scott.  “Their love for both their craft and teaching distinguishes our major in English literature-creative writing, and builds upon a long tradition of excellence in this field at Agnes Scott College.”

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.