October 21, 2009

Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival set for Oct. 29-31

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The 2009 Southern Illinois University Carbondale Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival brings in the Halloween holiday in story-telling style.

The annual festival brings established and up-and-coming writers to campus for readings, question-and-answer panels and book signings. The festival is Oct. 29-31. Students on the editorial board of “Grassroots,” the undergraduate literary magazine published through the Department of English, select the writers and organize the event.

The Fine Arts Activity Fee contributes funding to this event. The SIUC Creative Writing Program’s Visiting Writers Series and Crab Orchard Review are also sponsors.

Here is a schedule of readings and events, followed by brief biographies of the visiting writers. All events are in the Student Center.

Oct. 29

8-9:15 p.m. -- Readings by Sebastian Agudelo and Fred Leebron

9:15-10 p.m. -- Festival reception, sponsored by the Department of English

Oct. 30

10-10:50 a.m. -- Poetry Panel featuring Sebastian Agudelo, Eugene Gloria, David Kirby, and William Notter

11-11:50 a.m. -- Fiction Panel featuring Jane Alison, Fred Leebron, L.E. Miller, and Donald Ray Pollock

2-3:15 p.m. -- Readings by William Notter and L.E. Miller

3:15-4:30 p.m. -- Reception and book signing featuring all festival readers

5-6:15 p.m. -- Readings by Donald Ray Pollock and David Kirby

Oct. 31

11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. -- Readings from the new Crab Orchard Review, “Color Wheel: Cultural Heritages in the 21st Century.”

1:30-3 p.m. -- Readings by Eugene Gloria and Jane Alison

Sebastian Agudelo, an SIUC alumnus, was born in Mexico City. His poetry collection, “To the Bone,” won the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize last year. His poetry appears in such periodicals as Lucid Stone, Bellingham Review and Karamu. He is also the author of an artist collaboration, “On Collecting,” and translations of Robert Lowell and Frank O’Hara. Agudelo is teaching a poetry workshop at Rutgers University this fall. His other teaching experience includes Temple University, Drexel University and The University of the Arts.

Jane Alison was born in Australia, and spent her early childhood in Australian and U. S. foreign services. Her first novel, “The Love Artist,” explores the exile of the Roman poet Ovid. The book has been translated into seven languages. Her other books include “The Sisters Antipodes,” “The Marriage of the Sea,” and “Natives and Exotics.” All three of them are award-winners. Alison also writes short stories and essays, and biographies for children. She is co-editor of a critical series on women writers. She teaches at the University of Miami and at Queens University.

Eugene Gloria was born in the Philippines, but raised in San Francisco. He has two collections of poetry, both published by Penguin Books -- “Hoodlum Birds” in 2006 and “Drivers at the Short-Time Motel” in 2000. The earlier book is included in the 1999 National Poetry Series and won the 2001 Asian American Literary Award. Gloria also earned a Fulbright Research Grant, a Poetry Society of America award and a Pushcart Prize. He teaches creative writing and literature at DePauw University.

David Kirby is the winner of the 2009 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Poetry for his collection of poems, “The Temple Gate Called Beautiful.” He was the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University in 2003-04, recognized for his poetry, scholarship, teaching and citizenship. A prolific writer, Kirby has 29 books to his credit, either as author or co-author. His awards include the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Arts Council. He frequently appears in the award anthologies “Pushcart Prize” and “Best American Poetry.” He teaches at Florida State University.

Fred Leebron is the author of three novels, one of which, “Six Figures,” debuted in movie form at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005. A long story he wrote, “Life in Wartime,” has been optioned for a movie. His other books are “In the Middle of All This,” and “Out West.” Leebron co-edited “Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology,” and co-authored “Creating Fiction: A Writer’s Companion.” His awards include a Pushcart Prize, James Michener Award, and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship. He teaches at Gettysburg College.

L. E. Miller works as a grant writer for several non-profit organizations in and around Newbury, Mass., where she is also at work on a collection of short stories. Her short story, “Kind,” first appeared in The Missouri Review, and appears in The Pen/O. Henry Prize Stories for 2009. Her stories also appear in Scribner’s Best of the Fiction Workshops and Calyx.

William Notter won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award for his collection “Holding Everything Down,” published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2009. Notter also is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Nevada Arts Council, and Sierra Arts Foundation. His chapbook, “More Space Than Anyone Can Stand,” won the 2001 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. His poems appear in several periodicals, and on NPR’s “The Writer’s Almanac.” His teaching experience includes Grand Valley State University and the University of Nevada at Reno.

Donald Ray Pollock is the winner of the 2009 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Prose for his story collection “Knockemstiff.” Pollock’s colorful biography includes dropping out of high school, working in a meatpacking plant and later at a paper mill. At present, he is a graduate student in creative writing at Ohio State University with ambition to teach fiction writing. His stories appear in such periodicals as Third Coast, Sou’wester, Chiron Review, River Styx, Folio and The New York Times. He is working on a novel about a serial killer.