October 26, 2004

Literary festival set for Nov. 4-6

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Ten nationally acclaimed writers will give public readings, participate in panel discussions and meet literature fans at the third annual Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 4-6.

The folks at "Grassroots," the undergraduate literary magazine published by the SIUC English department, coordinate the festival.

Events are free and open to everyone. All activities, except the last, will take place in the Student Center's Auditorium, on the second floor of the building's south wing.

Between them, the writers have snared some of the most coveted and prestigious awards in literature and have won fellowships from such respected organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Expanding cultural outreach is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

You may catch up with them as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 4

4 p.m., Readings by Josh Bell and Robert David Clark. Bell's first book "No Planets Strike" is due soon from Zoo Press. Clark's first published novel is "Flowers of the Dinh Ba Forest;" his writings have also appeared in the "Indiana Review," "Highground Magazine," and the "Minnesota River Review."

8 p.m., Readings by Amy Fleury and Margaret McMullan. Fleury penned the award-winning collection of poems "Beautiful Trouble." McMullan authored "When Warhol was Still Alive," and "In My Mother's House " and "How I Found the Strong," Glamour, the Chicago Tribune, Southern Accents, the Southern California Anthology, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Triquarterly, Boulevard and the Greensboro Review have published her writings.

Friday, Nov. 5

10 a.m., Panel discussion on poetry with Josh Bell, Amy Fleury, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Richard Jackson and Davis McCombs

11 a.m., Panel discussion on fiction with Robert David Clark, Anthony Grooms, Margaret McMullan, Ken Smith and Jean Thompson

2 p.m., Writers' roundtable discussion featuring all festival visiting writers.

4 p.m., Readings by Davis McCombs and Ken Smith. McCombs's 1999 book "Ultima Thule" was chosen for the Yale Younger Poets Prize. Smith is author of two collections of short fiction, "Decoys and Other Stories" and "Angels and Others." The Atlantic and the Triquarterly have published his work.

8 p.m., Readings by Rigoberto González and Jean Thompson. González wrote "So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until it Breaks," a selection of the National Poetry Series; "Soledad Sigh-Sighs" and "Soledad Suspiros" and "Crossing Vines." Thompson authored "Who Do You Love," "Wild Blue Yonder" and "City Boy." Her stories have appeared in "The New Yorker," "Story," "Mademoiselle," "Ploughshares," "Best American Short Stories" and "The Pushcart Prizes."

Saturday, Nov. 6

2 p.m., Readings by Richard Jackson and Anthony Grooms, Wham Building's Davis Auditorium. Jackson is the author of eight books of poems, including "Half Lives: Petrarchan Poems," "Unauthorized Autobiography: New and Selected Poems and "Heartwall" and two books of criticism, including "Dismantling Time in Contemporary Poetry" and he's edited two anthologies, "Double Vision: Four Slovene Poets" and ‘The Fire Under the Moon." Grooms authored the novel "Bombingham" and the short story collection "Trouble No More: Stories" and "Ice Poems."