Written & Spoken Word

Friday, July 5, 2013

"So It Goes" submissions due to Vonnegut Library

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 2:15 PM

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is accepting submissions for its second annual edition of "So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library."

This allows an opportunity for Kurt Vonnegut readers to show their creativity while helping to continue the annual tradition.

Both electronic and paper submissions will be accepted through July 15.

This year's edition of "So It Goes" uses the theme of humor. Wanted are whimsy, levity, dark satire and sarcastic spoofs through unique voice.


Submissions are allowed in the following forms: poetry, creative nonfiction, short fiction, original artwork and photography related to the theme of humor.

New and previously published works are acceptable and if the work is previously published, the original published will be credited. If the work has been published elsewhere, you may need permission to publish it in this issue. If you are unsure if your usage requires permission go to https://kvml.submittable.com/submit.

Submissions are limited to one work at a maximum of 1,500 words, or up to five poems, photographs, or other works of art. Format with double space, using 12-point Times New Roman font and provide a cover letter with a brief biography. Submitted materials will not be returned.

Electronic entries are to be submitted through kvml.submittable.com and paper submissions should be sent to Vonnegut Library, So It Goes Submissions, 340 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204. For response, include a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage.

For any questions, contact SoItGoes@vonnegutlibrary.org. Be sure to pick up or order your copy in November!

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Banned Books grant awarded to Vonnegut Library

Posted By on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM

The library that was home last year to Corey Michael Dalton during his week-long stunt tied to Banned Books Week has been awarded a grant from the Freedom to Read Foundation's Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund.


Judith F. Krug was the founding executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation and helped found Banned Books Week in 1982. The FTRF began awarding Banned Books Week grants in 2010 and also became an official sponsor in 2012.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, in the historic Emelie Building in downtown Indianapolis, was one of seven organizations nationwide to receive this award. It's the first institution devoted to an individual to receive the grant. Banned Books Week will take place from Sept. 22-28 this year.

These seven days celebrate the freedom to access information and draws attention to the harms of censorship.

"The quality of this year's application was tremendous," said FTRF Executive Director Barbara Jones. "We're confident that the chosen projects represent a range of innovative, creative ideas that will result in great events."

For this year's events, the Vonnegut Library will host an invitation juried art show and sale, hold a local writer captive in a "prison" of books, stage a First Amendment Film Festival and present a talk on "Corrupting Our Kids: The Attack on YA Literature."

Events and library admission are free to the public. Click here for more information.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is a public-benefit, nonprofit organization that serves as a cultural and resource facility - all of which show characteristics of beloved writer Kurt Vonnegut. As a museum, art gallery and reading room, this library seeks to engage people, especially youth, in the written word.

The library is open daily from noon to 5 p.m. except on Wednesdays and major holidays.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Nomination deadline nears for Authors Award

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM

  • Photo by Flickr user Emily Carlin

A week remains for Hoosiers to submit nominations for the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Author Awards. The nominations, accepted via the Indiana Public Library Foundation site through March 22, will factor into voting for the fifth annual awards, which recognize the contributions of Indiana authors who have altered the literary landscape in a significant way. Some award winners will be announced in early fall; others will be announced at an Oct. 26 gala funded by the Central Indiana Community Foundation's Glick Fund.

An eight-member panel of statewide experts in the field of literature will select three nominees: a regional and national winner, as well as an emerging author, who will all be recognized during the gala in October. Winning authors are given a cash prize anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 as well the opportunity to recognize their hometown libraries, who will be awarded with a cash prize of $2,500 in the form of a grant.

Any author who was either born or has resided within Indiana for five years is eligible for the award. The nomination process is quick, easy and painless. Visit http://www.indianaauthorsaward.org/ to nominate your favorite Indiana authors or email iaa@indyplfoundation.org with questions.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Scavenge the Ave: Hunting for Literacy

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Scavenge the Ave participants gathering supplies
  • Jennifer Troemner
  • Scavenge the Ave participants gathering supplie.s

More than 150 seekers of all ages gathered June 13 for the fourth annual Scavenge the Ave, a scavenger hunt through businesses and other points of interest along Mass Ave. NUVO was stoked to be a headline sponsor of the event, which acted as a fundraiser for Indy Reads, promoting literacy awareness while encouraging participants to shop local and get in touch with the community.

Seekers began their quest at the Athenaeum, where they received their instructions, a special bookmark and a list of riddles. Looking at the list, a participant might have found something to the tune of: "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true: where can I go to buy a cycle with one wheel or two?" And after a few minutes of humming "Daisy Bell," they'd then stumble across Bikes on Mass Ave.

One of the event's only issues was that too many businesses were interested in participating this year - "Not that that's a problem!" said Katie Lindahl Smith, board member of Indy Reads and the chair of the Literary Advocacy Committee.

Because so many businesses took part, they had to be divided among several different lists in order for all of them to be represented. Joining the festivities provided many of these businesses some great exposure.

"It's a win/win," organizer Lindahl Smith said. "It costs businesses nothing, people get to enjoy Mass Ave and they support a good cause."

Scavenge the Ave

Inside Bikes on Mass Ave, intrepid adventurers found a pair of volunteers waiting for them, marker in hand, ready to sign them off as having found one of their destinations. But first our participant had to answer another question: "What percentage of adults can't read at or above a sixth grade reading level?"

Among those who didn't already know, the answer shocked them: a whopping 20 percent. Each destination had its volunteers who asked a different literacy related trivia question. According to Lindahl Smith, the trivia "creates one long mission moment - participants are constantly reminded what they're supporting."

And that thing they were supporting was Indy Reads, which provides free tutoring to adults who are struggling with illiteracy. The $12-$15 registration fee went to help fund the organization, which receives no direct government funding. All of Indy Reads' bills are paid by grants and donations, and consequently the overwhelming majority of its services are provided by volunteers. More than 40 of those volunteers donated their time and energy to Scavenge the Ave, where the majority of them acted as 'site-sitters' at the 26 participating locations.

Scavenge the Ave

As the night drew to a close, the valiant scavenger hunters returned to the Athenaeum, where they received raffle tickets in exchange for the signatures they'd collected around Mass Ave, as well as receipts for purchases they'd made over the course of the hunt. Those tickets were entered into a raffle drawing for more than 36 separate prizes, featuring everything from T-shirts to prize packs to gift certificates for local stores. But Indy Reads itself brought home the biggest prize by raising awareness of the adult illiteracy problem.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Global book giveaway recruiting volunteers

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Want to give away some books? But of course you do, and Big Hat Books would like to facilitate. The indie bookstore is the local representative for World Book Night, whose mission is to donate 1 million books during a single week. Big Hat is seeking to enlist 1,000 local book aficionados to distribute 20 books each, drawn from a list of 30 paperback titles printed for the occasion.

Here's the catch: The deadline to sign up is Feb. 1, so get on over to worldbooknight.org post-haste. Volunteers will be selected based on their pitch for where and why they're participating and to whom they plan to give books.

Those selected by World Book Night poohbahs will be notified by mid-February if they're in or out. Big Hat Books has a pick-up party planned for April 16 from 6-9 p.m.; book givers will then have until April 23 — UNESCO's World Book Day, as well as the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth and death and Cervantes's death — to distribute their lot. No monetary investment is required on the part of volunteers, who must be aged 16 and older and able to pick up and distribute books.

Here's the list of the 2012 World Book Night titles.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Blood Work by Michael Connelly
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
The Stand by Stephen King
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Just Kids by Patti Smith
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book review: Haruki Murakami's '1Q84'

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 11:30 AM

  • courtesy of wakarimasita

Haruki Murakami
Knopf; $30.50

The publication of this 925-page behemoth by prolific Japanese author Haruki Murakami was a sensation of the 2011 literary world.

It took me until 2012 to finish it.

The task was not without its rewards, but it sometimes felt like toil, if for no other reason than adjusting the sheer weight of a hardback book on my stomach or in my lap.

I first fell for Murakami with his 1997 book, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, a mysterious and magical tale of a passive protagonist, Toru Okada, who loses his wife’s cat and in the process of looking for it, loses his wife as well, falling down a Tokyo proverbial rabbit hole. I proceeded to read a number of his novels, including A Wild Sheep Chase and Norwegian Wood (soon to be a major motion picture!). And you can hardly pick up a New Yorker without stumbling into one of his short stories.

His work explores surrealistic territory; one part science fiction (without the science), one part fantasy (without the dragons). It can be enraging at times, as you grow impatient for answers; but the results are quite worth the struggle.

But when the equation includes schlepping around a 900-page book, stakes are raised. And, for a while at least, 1Q84 is as beguiling a work as any Murakami has published.

The story follows two distinct narrative paths; one is Aomame, a 30-year-old woman who — in the year 1984 — discovers a parallel world, a world she dubs 1Q84. Meanwhile, an aspiring novelist (and passive protagonist) named Tengo finds himself pulled into 1Q84, as he gets too close to a dangerous religious cult. Aomame and Tengo were elementary schoolmates, and so the novel spends some 850 pages keeping them apart.

The beginning of the book reminded me of Philip K. Dick’s Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, and Dick and Murakami share a similar stature in the world of letters: eschewed by the literary establishment, but embraced by readers — and Hollywood producers.

Dick is not the only shadow looming over this book. I couldn’t help but think of Don DeLillo’s massive tome, Underworld. Underworld, like The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, was published in 1997, and at 827 pages is nearly as colossal as 1Q84.

DeLillo’s Underworld did not win the National Book Award that year. Inexplicably, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain won; I daresay Cold Mountain has not stood the test of time, while DeLillo’s book is now considered a masterwork of contemporary fiction.

Thing is, DeLillo’s work since Underworld has been, well, underwhelming. I was concerned at the time that this author — who had already crafted such extraordinary books as White Noise and, my personal favorite, The Names was in danger of blowing his literary wad with Underworld, and his small, terse novels since then have reinforced that concern. It’s not just the size of his novels, of course; it’s the overly familiar terrain — language and imagination.

And don’t get me started on David Foster Wallace and Infinite Jest. One can surmise DFW blew his allotted existential wad on that one.

I don’t want 1Q84 to be the 62 year-old Murakami’s blown wad, because it is no Underworld-scale masterwork.

Well into the second half of the book, I began to skim entire passages. Some chapters seemed downright gratuitous; not much happens at all. Especially irritating are chapters focused on a third major character, an antagonist named Ushikawa, introduced two-thirds into the narrative. It’s unknown why Murakami spends so much time straining to build character nuances into Ushikawa. He could have easily trimmed his narrative by spending less time on Ushikawa.

Even more irritating is the way Murakami shorthand-names his characters, like The Dowager, The Professor and Ponytail, or the magical creatures in the story, the Little People. It’s one thing to rely on these naming conventions in a traditional-sized narrative, but 900 pages of reading about The Dowager and Ponytail and Buzzcut becomes downright silly.

Ultimately the title of the book tells all. It’s… well, it’s awkward. Who knows how to pronounce it? It’s supposed to evoke Orwell’s 1984, and the Q stands for the word “question,” but the “1” looks like an “I” and thus looks like “IQ” — um, Intelligence Quotient? Does someone in the book have an IQ of 84? Nope.

Fascinating, compelling and sometimes annoying, 1Q84 ends up buried beneath its own weight.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Poet Maurice Manning reads at IUPUI

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Thursday, October 6, 7:30 pm
Lilly Auditorium, IUPUI University Library, 755 W. Michigan St.

Maurice Manning is on a roll. If you’ve met him, if you’ve been in his poetry class at DePauw or IU or Warren Wilson, you might not have even known that he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Many of his friends and colleagues didn’t know until it got media attention. He tends to be humble about these things.

Maurice Manning
  • Maurice Manning

Manning was born and raised in Danville, Ky., and those roots are important to him—he’s worked meticulously to combat mountaintop removal and other things that plague his home in Appalachia. He’s interested in preservation. But he’s also spent a good deal of time in Indiana. Manning attended Earlham College before earning his MFA at the University of Alabama. He returned to Indiana to teach at DePauw University. Since the fall of 2004, Manning has taught in the creative writing program at IU.

Manning’s first collection of poems, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, was awarded the Yale Younger Poets Award—chosen by W.S. Merwin. His subsequent books include A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Lone Hunter, Back Woodsman (2004), Bucolics (2007) and The Common Man (2010), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

His poetry deals with characters whose history and voices aren’t necessarily his own, or not entirely so. It's also steeped in research and curiosity and imagination. Manning also sets rules for himself with meter and length and the refusal to use certain words. These books are worth reading and re-reading, but Manning’s voice—especially when referencing various characters within the poems—adds something that can’t be experienced when merely flipping through the pages alone. He sort of performs them.

Manning will present his work in the Lilly Auditorium of IUPUI’s University Library as a part of the Rufus and Louise Reiberg Reading Series. Readings are free and open to the public. Map and directions are available at University Library's website.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indy Underground unearths fresh voices

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Victoria Barrett
  • Victoria Barrett
Corydon-based crime writer Frank Bill will make his first local appearance this week as part of Indy Underground, an occasional series of readings presented by the Writers’ Center of Indiana and devoted to presenting new work in a relaxed, informal setting. He’ll be joined by Victoria Barrett, who is coordinating the event and will read her own work. Barrett, who teaches writing at Ball State and the Writers’ Center, recently launched a boutique press, Engine Books, devoted to new works of fiction. A mission statement lays out plans for the press to publish four titles per year, two by female writers. Barrett spoke about the series and fiction being produced in Indiana.

NUVO: What’s the idea behind the Indy Underground series? What kind of authors do you try to bring in?

Barrett: Indy Underground was started by the author Will Allison when he lived in Indianapolis and served on the Board of the Writers' Center in order to provide a less academic, more celebratory reading series to complement the excellent university readings we have at Butler, IUPUI and University of Indianapolis. The series has always featured lively writers, beer or wine, and great venues. We feature a local writer alongside our visitor. Last summer we brought in Donald Ray Pollock. He read from the then-unfinished novel The Devil All the Time, which has now had a fabulous debut. Earlier this year, Alan Heathcock read from his story collection Volt — along with Allison Lynn, who we’re really privileged to have living in Indy and teaching at Butler, reading from her next novel. All of those readers and books are terrific, but I’m particularly excited to feature Frank Bill, an Indiana writer just now making it big. We love writers whose work is fresh and energetic and new.

NUVO: What do you think of Frank Bill’s work? Is it rare for an Indiana author to score a two-book deal with a major publishing house?

Barrett: Frank’s book is going to be — is becoming already — that rare book that transcends its genre without betraying it, that walks the line between crime and literary. It’s living in the best of both worlds, with the sales potential of crime fiction but the credentials of literary writing.

Indiana has produced a ton of great writers, many of whom have done well in big publishing, whether they’ve stayed or gone: Patricia Henley, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Christopher Coake. Now, a strong crop of young writers (30-something is young for a writer) is coming up in the city, writing terrific books, just making their ways into the publishing world. Within a few years, books are going to be pouring out of this area; two- book deals will be no surprise whatsoever.

Indiana resists a concrete literary identity in the way that it resists an easy identity generally. And geography matters less and less to the business of writing. I don't think that, right now, it’s any more surprising to see an Indiana writer than a writer anywhere get a great contract. But the question is going to become moot in the fairly near future.

Indy Underground Reading Series featuring Frank Bill and Victoria Barrett
The Irving Theater, 5505 E. Washington St.
Thursday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m., free, all-ages; beer and wine available

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

David Sedaris tickets on sale Monday

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Making America laugh is often no simple task. However, over the past 20 years author David Sedaris has managed to master the feat. And in April, he'll bring his satire to Indianapolis with an appearance at Clowes Memorial Hall.

Author David Sedaris.
  • Author David Sedaris.

In case you need reminding, Sedaris is arguably the most prolific comedic author of today. His stories are mainly woven from his own memories of childhood in the middle class and the misadventures of his young adulthood. His self-deprecating reflections on the life experience are refreshingly hilarious. Sedaris easily finds humor in the imperfection of the human condition, making his work both relevant and relatable. His ability to hit a main artery of truth shows how life is — well, just funny sometimes.

Since releasing his book Barrel Fever in 1994, Sedaris has rumbled his way up the book lists and into the libraries of a diverse audience. His subsequent collections of personal essays, including Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames have all become New York Times’ Bestsellers.

As well as writing, David Sedaris has a lot of experience entertaining an audience; he has shared stories over the airwaves of NPR and the BBC as a radio host.

For his visit to Clowes, Sedaris is celebrating the success of his most recent book, an illustrated collection of tales entitled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. These animal fables are a new stylistic endeavor for the author, but the flavor's still strong. He will read from his classic work, but it’s likely you’ll hear some stuff you haven’t even read yet.

Tickets go on sale Monday, September 19, 10 a.m. at the Clowes Hall Box Office, or online at ticketmaster.com.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Punchnel’s: a new online literary magazine

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Neon Love Life was the subject of a recent Punchnels feature.
  • Neon Love Life was the subject of a recent Punchnel's feature.

What do writers do for fun? Well, they write, sometimes. Well Done Marketing — an Indianapolis based marketing and interactive firm — prides itself on employing talented writers: creative people. About a week ago, they launched an online literary magazine, Punchnel’s. It’s not necessarily modeled after another publication, but many of the people involved love Slate and Salon: places where pop culture and politics can mingle with creativity.

Creative director at Well Done, and editor-in-chief for Punchnel’s, Ken Honeywell, says, “There are tons of outlets for fiction and poetry, but we wanted to do something that was actually edited and that paid writers.”

He and Scott Woolgar (who has an English degree from Butler), president of Well Done Marketing, had been talking for over a decade about starting a magazine. “We initially talked about a print magazine, but now, because the web makes it possible to do all of the design stuff and distribution for free, it makes it more feasible to start something, and to pay writers.”

Punchnel’s publishes all kinds of creative writing: poetry, nonfiction, short fiction, photo essays, humor and reviews. New content is posted every weekday. Honeywell suggests that people check the site out often, “Keep coming back; we’re trying a lot of new things. And if you’ve got a great idea, let us know.” So far, the fiction has gotten a lot of traffic, and so they’re hoping to continue to get good short fiction up.

Because Well Done Marketing is based in Indianapolis, most of the people working on the site are local, but Punchnel’s has already gotten web traffic from all over the country. “We’re not trying to grow from Indianapolis out,” says Honeywell, “We’re just trying to publish the best work out there.”

Right now they’re advertising via Facebook and Twitter and constantly publishing new things on the site. Word travels fast and wide on the web; even after just a week Honeywell and others were happily surprised at how much traffic they had gotten. Although many of the writers at Well Done are contributing to the site, submissions are open to all.

Honeywell says, “We’re hoping, of course, to be wildly successful, so that we can keep paying writers to do what they do.” Seems like a good plan.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Borders to end final chapter — Chapter 11

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 7:01 AM

Bye-bye, Borders. Perhaps books like these will be greatly discounted.
  • Bye-bye, Borders. Perhaps books like these will be greatly discounted.

The story of Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Borders Group, which at its climax operated seven Borders bookstores in the Indianapolis area, has reached the last page of its final chapter — Chapter 11 bankruptcy, that is.

After failing to find a buyer, the chain obtained court approval yesterday to liquidate. Borders stores in Carmel, downtown Indianapolis and at River Crossing Boulevard closed earlier this year, following the bankruptcy filing in February.

Going-out-of-business discount sales at the Castleton Square Mall, 7565 U.S. 31 South, Indianapolis International Airport and Noblesville locations could begin as early as today, running through September. Although The New York Times reported last Monday that Borders’ competitors have considered taking over a few stores, it is unclear if any are in Indiana.

In a statement, Borders Group President Mike Edwards blamed the liquidation on ”headwinds” such as “the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy.” The Times article expressed publishers’ fears that the loss of a major chain like Borders, with its unique opportunities for customer browsing, could decrease impulse buying and book sales generally.

Borders’ local legacy is mixed. Although its stores hosted book signings and other events, they never fully realized their potential as social hubs for Indianapolis’ literary community. Independents such as Big Hat Books and Bookmamas have been more successful at that.

It’s hard to prove, but Borders’ stores (and Barnes & Noble’s) may have had a “Wal-Mart effect” that contributed to the extinction of newsstands and smaller-sized chain bookstores in Indianapolis, especially downtown.

On the other hand, Borders’ Marion County locations were all accessible via public transit, no mean feat in these parts.

Borders is survived locally — for the moment — by several Barnes & Noble locations, one Books-A-Million, a few indies and assorted used bookstores. And, of course, by the Internet, which may one day have to shoulder the entire burden of the globe’s written works by itself, Atlas-style. Then, should Atlas ever shrug, we’ll be screwed.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Butler announces fall Visiting Writers lineup

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 9:59 AM

We received word from reps at Butler University on Wednesday that the writers for this fall's Visiting Writers Series had been selected, and we've got to say, it's an impressive group. On deck: a New York Times bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize-winner poet and a hometown hero cum YouTube star. As always, the events are free and open to the public; call 940-9861 for any additional information. Check out profiles of the chosen pen-wielders below.

Robert Hass

Robert Hass; Sept. 21, Reilly Room

Former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass is one of contemporary poetry’s most celebrated and widely read voices. His first collection, Field Guide (1973), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award and established him as an important American poet. He confirmed his ability with Praise (1979), which won the William Carlos Williams Award. In 1984, Hass published Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry, a collection of previously published essays and reviews.

His third collection of poetry, Human Wishes (1989), experimented with longer lines and prose paragraphs, privileging process and meditation over the poeticized images that had filled his earlier work. The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa (1994) paid tribute to some of Hass’ non-Western mentors. In 1996, Hass published another collection of poems, Sun Under Wood, which was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award. His first book post-laureate was Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005 (2007), and his latest is Apples Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems (2010).

He has taught at State University of New York at Buffalo; St. Mary's College of California, Moraga; University of California, Berkeley; and has been a visiting lecturer at University of Virginia, Goddard College and Columbia University, as well as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001-2007. He teaches at the University of California-Berkeley.

Karen McElmurray
  • Courtesy of Hood College
  • Karen McElmurray

Karen McElmurray; Sept. 26, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall

Karen McElmurray is a writer and assistant professor at Georgia College and State University. She is the author of the novel Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven, which won the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing in 2001, and the memoir Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey, in which she wrote about relinquishing her son to state-supported adoption in Kentucky in 1973. The memoir was a National Book Critics Circle Notable Book and received the Associated Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2003.

McElmurray is creative nonfiction editor for Arts and Letters, Georgia College’s literary journal. Her newest novel is The Motel of the Stars.

Tomaz Salamun
  • Courtesy of UMass Amherst
  • Tomaz Salamun

Tomas Salamun; Oct. 3, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall

Slovenian poet Toma Šalamun, one of Europe’s most prominent poets and a leader of the Eastern European avant-garde, is the author of more than 30 collections of poetry in Slovenian and English. His poetry has been translated into more than 20 languages.

Early in his career he edited the literary magazine Perspektive and was briefly jailed on political charges. He studied art history at the University of Ljubljana, where he found poetry suddenly, as a revelation, describing its arrival in a 2004 interview as “stones from the sky.”

He has won the Jenko Prize, Slovenia’s Prešeren and Mladost Prizes, and a Pushcart Prize, and was a Fulbright Fellow at Columbia University.

Richard Rodriguez
  • Courtesy of UIndy News
  • Richard Rodriguez

Richard Rodriguez; Oct. 24, Reilly Room

Richard Rodriguez told his family’s story in Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, his well-received 1981 autobiography. This first book placed him in the national spotlight, winning an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a Christopher Award.

In 1992, he published Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father, another collection of autobiographical essays. His 2002 collection of essays, entitled Brown: The Last Discovery of America, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award.

Rodriguez occasionally serves as an essayist for the PBS NewsHour.

Natasha Trethewey
  • Courtesy of startribune.com
  • Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey; Oct. 26, Reilly Room

Poet Natasha Trethewey is the author of three collections of poetry: Domestic Work (2000), Bellocq's Ophelia (2002) and Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of a book of creative non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010). Her fourth collection of poetry, Thrall, is scheduled for release in fall 2012.

Trethewey, a professor of English at Emory University, has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also the recipient of the 2008 Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and was named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year. In 2009 she was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers and she was the James Weldon Johnson Fellow in African American Studies at the Beinecke Library at Yale University.

This year she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

John Green
  • Courtesy of yareviews.wikispaces.com
  • John Green

John Green; Nov. 1, Clowes Hall

John Green is the New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than a dozen languages.

In 2007, Green, who lives in Indianapolis, and his brother Hank ceased textual communication and began to talk primarily through videoblogs posted to YouTube. The videos spawned a community of people called Nerdfighters, who fight for intellectualism and to decrease the overall worldwide level of suck. (Decreasing suck takes many forms: Nerdfighters have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight poverty in the developing world; they also planted thousands of trees around the world in May 2010 to celebrate Hank’s 30th birthday.)

Although they have long since resumed textual communication, John and Hank continue to upload three videos a week to their YouTube channel, vlogbrothers. Their videos have been viewed more than 75 million times, and their channel is one of the most popular in the history of online video. John Green is also an active (if reluctant) Twitter user with more than 1.1 million followers.

Richard Price; Nov. 8, Reilly Room

Richard Price’s novels include Freedomland, Clockers, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Samaritan and Lush Life. In 1999 he received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His fiction, articles and essays have appeared in Best American Essays 2002, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, Esquire, The Village Voice and Rolling Stone. He has also written numerous screenplays, including Sea of Love, Ransom and The Color of Money.

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