March 23, 2011

Little Grassy Literary Festival set for April 7-8

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The third annual Little Grassy Literary Festival returns to Southern Illinois University Carbondale April 7-8.

The two-day festival features readings, panel discussions, book signings and the opportunity to meet and chat with nationally renowned and up-and-coming fiction writers and poets. While writers and fledgling writers will surely enjoy the festival, non-writers can find much to discover and love as writers read their own works in a small, friendly setting.

Events for April 7 are in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in the Morris Library. Events for April 8 are in the Student Center Auditorium. All events are free and open to the public. The audience has the opportunity to ask questions of the writers at the end of each readings session. Here is the schedule, with short biographies to follow. The Graduate Writers Forum brings this event to the University with support from the Department of English.

April 7 -- John C. Guyan Auditorium, Morris Library

• 3- 4:30 p.m., Crab Orchard Review Poetry Series Winners readings with Traci Brimhall and Jake Adam York

• 7:30-9 p.m., Readings from Joe Meno and Matt Guenette

April 8 -- Student Center Auditorium

• Noon-1:30 p.m., Panel discussion and Q&A with Sandra Beasley, Matt Guenette, Joe Meno and Rick Bass

• 1:30-2:30 p.m., Sandra Beasley

• 2:30-3:30 p.m., Book signing and reception with all authors

• 3:30-5 p.m., Rick Bass

Author biographies

Rick Bass is a fiction writer and environmental activist who sometimes gets dubbed a “nature writer.” In fact, Bass worked as a petroleum geologist for several years. These days, he lives and works in the Yaak Valley in Montana. His awards include O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes, National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowships, and more. His most recent book, “Why I Came West,” a memoir, is a National Book Critics Circle finalist. Works of fiction include “Where the Sea Used to Be,” “The Watch,” and “The Hermit’s Story: Stories.” Other books include “The New Wolves,” “Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had,” and “The Roadless Yaak: Reflections and Observations About One of Our Last Great Wilderness Areas.”

Sandra Beasley is a poet and nonfiction writer based in Washington, D.C. Her poetry collection, “I Was the Jukebox,” was the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize winner. Her first collection, “Theories of Falling,” earned the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize. She has other work appearing in “Pleiades,” “The Normal School,” “Barrelhouse,” “Black Warrior Review,” “Washington Post Magazine,” and “Best American Poetry 2010,” among other places. Her non-fiction book, “Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life,” is forthcoming from Random House.

Traci Brimhall is the winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, with her collection, “Rookery.” Her poems appear in “New England Review,” “Virginia Quarterly Review,” “Slate,” “The Missouri Review,” and “Kenyon Review,” among other places. Her awards include the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the Tennessee Williams Scholarship at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She also earned a Luso-American Scholarship to the Disquiet International Literary Program and a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize. She is a King/Chavez/Parks Fellow at Western Michigan University, where she teaches creative writing as a doctoral candidate.

Matt Guenette is an SIUC alumnus, and the author of “Sudden Anthem,” winner of the 2007 American Poetry Journal Prize. His second book, “American Busboy,” is a Finalist and Editor’s Choice for the 2010 University of Akron Poetry Prize. His work also appears in “Another Chicago Magazine,” “Barn Owl Review,” “The Greensboro Review,” “The Spoon River Poetry Review,” among other journals. He is part of the English faculty at Madison College in Wisconsin.

Joe Meno is a fiction writer and playwright, and the author of “The Great Perhaps,” winner of the Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice; “Demons in the Spring: Short Stories,” which made the Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year list; “The Boy Detective Fails,” named a Book of the Year by Kirkus Review, Booklist and the Chicago Tribune; “Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir,” winner of the Society of Midland Author’s Fiction Prize; “Hairstyles of the Damned,” a Chicago Tribune Book of the Year; “How the Hula Girl Sings,” and “Tender as Hellfire.” He also holds a Nelson Algren Literary Award and a Pushcart Prize.

Jake Adam York’s collection, “A Murmuration of Starlings,” is a Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry collection, and also the winner of the 2008 Colorado Book Award in Poetry. His collection, “Persons Unknown,” is available from Southern Illinois Press/Crab Orchard Series in Poetry. He is also the author of “Murder Ballads,” and works that appear in publications including “Blackbird,” “Diode,” “New South,” “Shenandoah,” “Third Coast,” and “Northwest Review,” to name a few. York directs the creative writing program at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he is also co-editor of the journal “Copper Nickel.”