October 19, 2016

Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival is Oct. 26-28

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- This year marks the 20th anniversary of the creative writing master of fine arts degree at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and the program faculty and the Department of English plan to mark the milestone with guest appearances from creative writing MFA alumni. 

The annual Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival runs Oct. 26-28, with readings and panels in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library and festival author book signing and reception in the first-floor rotunda adjacent to the auditorium. 

The festival is organized by the undergraduate editorial staff of “Grassroots,” an annual undergraduate literary and arts journal for SIU students. The students also select the winners of the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Awards based on books published in the preceding year. Reading Award winners participate in the festival as special guests and receive a cash award. 

This year’s Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award winners are: Jacob Appel, fiction, with his story collection “The Magic Laundry”; Michelle Herman, non-fiction prose, with her essay collection “Like a Song: Essays”; and Emily O’Neill, poetry, with her debut collection “Pelican.” 

Here is the schedule:

Oct. 26

8-9 p.m. Reading by 2016 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award Winner in Non-fiction Prose Michelle Herman

Oct. 27

11-11:50 a.m. Panel featuring Hala Alyan, Jacob Appel, Bruce Bond, Michelle Herman and Emily O’Neill

2-3:15 p.m. Poetry readings by Hala Alyan and Bruce Bond

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

4:30-6 p.m. Readings by 2016 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award Winners in Poetry and Prose Emily O’Neill and Jacob Appel

Oct. 28

11-11:50 a.m. Open mic reading of SIU students -- “Grassroots” sponsored event

2-2:50 p.m. 20th Anniversary of the SIU MFA Program panel featuring alumni Lesley Brower, Sequoia Nagamatsu and Amie Whittemore 

Here are abbreviated biographies of the authors:

Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American poet and clinical psychologist living in Manhattan, N.Y. She is a 2016 winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition with her collection “Hirja,” available from SIU Press. Her other books are “Atrium” and “Four Cities.” Her work appears in “The Missouri Review,” “Prairie Schooner,” “Colorado Review,” and other places. 

Jacob M. Appel is from New York City where he is a physician and attorney as well as a prolific author and bioethicist. He’s written six story collections, two novels and a collection of essays. His stories are on short lists for the O. Henry Award, Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Non-required Reading and the Pushcart Prize. His commentary on law, medicine and ethics appears in major newspapers. He teaches at the Gotham Writers and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. 

Bruce Bond is a 2016 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award winner with his collection “Gold Bee.” He is the author of 18 books altogether, including “Black Anthem” and “For the Lost Cathedral.” He has won many poetry awards, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Texas Institute for the Arts, as well as several teaching awards. He is poetry co-editor for “American Literary Review” and co-judge for the annual Rilke Book Award. 

Michelle Herman won the Devil’s Kitchen Reading award for non-fiction writing but she is also a novelist. She has written three: “Missing,” “Dog,” and “Devotion,” as well as a novella collection and two other essay collections and “A Girl’s Guide to Life,” a book for children. Her work appears in many journals including “American Scholar,” “O, the Oprah Magazine,” and “The Southern Review.” She is part of the master of fine arts in creative writing faculty at Ohio State University. 

Emily O’Neill is the author of three chapbooks before her award-winning debut full collection: “Celeris,” “You Can’t Pick Your Genre” and “Make a Fist & Tongue the Knuckles.” She is also the winner of the YesYes Books’ Pamet River Prize for women and non-binary writers. She teaches writing and tends bar in Boston.