Current Issue / DU Alumni

Peter Grandbois uses Spanish folksong as inspiration for debut novel

Peter Grandbois' "The Gravedigger"

While Peter Grandbois (PhD creative writing/literature ’06) was preparing for his June graduation and lining up a teaching job, his first novel was hitting the bookshelves.

The Gravedigger (Chronicle Books, 2006) was inspired by an old Spanish folksong that Grandbois learned while living with his wife in Spain. It tells the story of Juan Rodrigo, a gravedigger in a Spanish mountain village who is haunted by the people he buries and compelled to pass along their stories. Barnes and Noble selected the book for its Discover New Writers series and Borders Books selected it for the store’s Original Voices series.

Grandbois’ current project is translating Edgardo Rodriguez Julia’s San Juan Ciudad Sonoda from Spanish to English for the University of Wisconsin Press. He also has completed a draft of his second novel, Nahookara (Ute for “Land of the Rising Blue”), a story of greed and violence in the 19th century. And in August, he started his new position as a professor of creative writing and contemporary literature at California State University in Sacramento.

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