“I’ve had so god-damned few epiphanies in my life that I’m suspicious of them,” writer Charles Baxter told the Atlantic in 1997. “And most of them have been wrong anyway!”

To that end, the Minneapolis-based fiction writer has been turning out stories and novels that, as his publisher describes them, “twist and turn in unexpected directions before reaching surprising yet nearly always satisfying conclusions…He specializes in portraits of solid Midwesterners, regular Joes and Janes whose ordinary lives are disrupted by accidents, chance encounters, and the arrival of strangers.”

He’s also funny and just seems like a pleasant kind of guy to spend an evening with. (And if you’re the kind of person who cares about prizes, you’ll be pleased to know that Baxter is also a National Book Award winner, for Feast of Love.) Thanks to the Johns Hopkins Future Seminars lecture series, this Thursday you’ll get to hear Baxter speak (along with poet Jane Shore) about being both a teacher and a writer. The seminar takes place from 4-6 PM in Mason Hall on the Homewood campus, and will be followed by the one thing in life that feels better than an epiphany:  a reception!