Nicholls professor to publish first contemporary novel next Fall


Photo by: Jeffery Miller

Nicholls professor Nick Mainieri teaches an English class Tuesday afternoon.

English Professor Nick Mainieri will have his debut novel The Infinite, published in the fall of 2016.

The announcement about the sale of the novel was released earlier this fall on the Publishers’ Marketplace website, and will be published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The storyline of the fictional book introduces a teenager, Jonah, who embarks on a daring, border-crossing journey after his newly pregnant girlfriend, Luz, has unknowingly been kidnapped by a powerful drug cartel.

“It’s a story of loss and love,” Mainieri said. “The novel traces out the timeless, inexorable movements of the human spirit across a contemporary landscape fraught with violence.”

Born in Miami, Florida, Mainieri traveled and lived in different areas around the nation before moving to New Orleans in 2008. After receiving a Bachelors in English from the University of Notre Dame, he attended graduate school at the University of New Orleans, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing. He initially began writing The Infinite around late 2010, and began teaching at Nicholls the following year. He had then written and published dozens of short stories, including one of his favorites called “The Flint,” which was published on the Southern Review. His debut novel started as a sparked idea that prolonged into what will be the longest written story that Mainieri will have published so far.

“Novels are a unique thing, and I had these themes I had been thinking of and wanted to explore more,” Mainieri said. “When I moved to New Orleans, I started seeing things and encountering things that were not only interesting to me, but also moving or just wanted to know more about.”

In his novel, Mainieri has some distinctive cultural significance to the local area, with the setting of the novel between New Orleans and North Eastern Mexico. One of the main character’s siblings is a resident of Lafourche Parish, in which the main character goes to visit at one point in the story.

Some of Mainieri’s favorite writers and novelists inspire him as a writer, such as Cormac McCarthy, as one of his favorite novelists.
“I like his style,” Mainieri said. “His stories deal with those big classic notions of loss, death, hope, victory and violence and all of those are what I like. I also enjoy some of his famous books that are westerns as well.”

The Border Trilogy, The Road, Blood Meridian and The Crossing were just a few of McCarthy’s books that Mainieri found to be great. Mainieri also enjoys reading work from contemporary writers here in Louisiana. One of Mainieri’s favorite southern writers, Joseph Boydon, was also a professor of his while in graduate school at UNO. Professor Jesmyn Ward, who teaches at Tulane University, and Michael Pitre, whose book Fives and Twenty-Fives is used for English curriculum at Nicholls, were also writers that inspire Mainieri.