October 21, 2011

University to host Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival returns to Southern Illinois University Carbondale for the 10th time this fall.

The annual literary festival is affiliated with Grassroots, the SIU Carbondale undergraduate literary and art magazine produced on campus.  Undergraduate students organize and present the festival, which includes readings by invited authors, including the annual Devil’s Kitchen Award winners, panel discussions and book signings.  All events take place in Morris Library, either in the John C. Guyon Auditorium or the Morris Library Rotunda.

This year’s festival runs Oct. 26-28.  A schedule and author notes follow.

Oct. 26

• 8-9:15 p.m. -- Readings by Amina Gautier and Rodney Jones

• 9:15-10 p.m. -- Festival Reception -- Sponsored by the SIU Carbondale Department of English.

Oct. 27

• 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. -- Panel discussion with visiting writers Amina Gautier, Alyson Hagy, Katherine Riegel, Ira Sukrungruang, and Jerry Williams

• 2-3:15 p.m. -- Readings by Brian Barker and Camille Dungy

• 3:15-4:30 p.m. -- Reception and book signing

4:30-6 p.m. -- Readings by 2011 Devil’s Kitchen Award Winners Alyson Hagy and Jerry Williams

Oct. 28

• 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. -- Readings by Katherine Riegel and Ira Sukrungruang

• 2-3 p.m. -- The Anthology Pathology: How to Edit a Creepy Book, Readings from two new anthologies, “The Book of Villains,” edited by Josh Woods, and “Surreal South ’11: Monsters and Ghosts” edited by Pinckney Benedict and Laura Benedict

Brian Barker’s poetry collection, “The Black Ocean,” is the winner of the Crab Orchard Open Competition here at SIU Carbondale.  He also received the Tupelo Press Editor’s Prize for his collection, “The Animal Gospels.”  Barker teaches at the University of Colorado, Denver and is co-editor of the journal “Copper Nickel.”

The author of two novels, “Isabella Moon” and “Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts,” Laura Benedict is also the author of the writing blog “Notes from the Handbasket.”   She is co-editor of the “Surreal South” anthologies.

Pinckney Benedict is currently on the long list for this year’s Frank O’Connor Short Story Award for his most recent short fiction collection “Miracle Boy and Other Stories.”  He holds several Pushcart and O. Henry Prizes among other awards, earned a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship among other fellowships, and is the author of several other short fiction collections and novels.  Benedict is a professor of creative writing at SIU Carbondale.

Camille Dungy is a 2010 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry award winner with her collection “Smith Blue.”  She is also the recipient of a 2011 American Book Award and was a 2010 NAACP Image Award nominee, among other awards.  She is the author of three collections of poetry.

Amina Gautier is assistant professor of English at DePaul University.  She is the author of more than 65 published short stories, and the recipient of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction among other awards.

Alyson Hagy is the author of short story collections and two novels.  She is a 2011 Devil’s Kitchen Award recipient.  Her most recent book, “Ghosts of Wyoming,” recently earned the Best Fiction prize at the High Plains Book Awards.  Hagy lives and teaches in Wyoming.

SIU Carbondale poet Rodney Jones is the author of more than half a dozen collections of poetry and the winner of many awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award and awards from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Academy of American Poets.  Jones is a professor and distinguished scholar at SIU Carbondale.

Katherine Riegel, faculty member in the Department of English at the University of South Florida, recently published her first poetry collection, “Castaway.”  She is also the co-founder and poetry editor of an online journal -- “Sweet: A Literary Confection.”

Ira Sukrungruang, assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of South Florida, is the recipient of several awards, including an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award, and the co-editor of two anthologies.  His current projects include a collection of short stories, a collection of poetry and a memoir. 

Poet Jerry Williams is the author of two poetry collections, and the anthology “It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Poetry of Breakup.”  His work appears in many literary journals, including Crazyhorse and Tin House.  Williams is associate professor of English at Marymount Manhattan College.

SIU Carbondale alum Josh Woods is the editor of two anthologies: “The Versus Anthology,” and more recently, “The Book of Villains.”  Woods also helped edit “Surreal South ‘09” and while at SIU Carbondale, served as assistant editor of the “Crab Orchard Review.”  He is assistant professor of English at Kaskaskia College.